Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 2: Time to spit

It's Saturday morning in Texas and our good night's sleep was not-so-good...actually, it was quite eventful with the birthday celebrations. But, what can I say....21 is a big one....not as big at 5-0....but important....

As we got into the elevator, we saw Dog and two other guys waiting to be taken to the lobby. "How was your evening, Dog?" He replies: "It was great."
"Did you go out to celebrate?"
"Oh yeah...an amazing time...."
"I'm glad that you enjoyed it.....What time did you get in?"
"It wasn't too late...."
Little did I know but this conversation would come back to haunt me later in the day...

Off the elevator, Tink and I asked the concierge for a good place to eat breakfast and he suggested a place called Gunther House which was a mile or so from the hotel. Along the way, the big leftie found two of his 'boys' and they crammed their huge bodies into the back seat of the Prius. As I pulled out, the AC/DC song "Highway to Hell" was on the radio and the guys started to jam in the back of the Prius. it was an unusual scene as I drove like the old days with the kids in the back of the car laughing and joking around. Like the old days, I also had to pretend that I could not hear what they were saying...You know...give them the illusion that what they are saying cannot be heard....but as they ignored me, I found out that the 21st birthday party was alot more fun than the big leftie had let on....I am glad that he had fun...was not arrested....naked... and so on.....there was a great deal to be thankful for on this occasion.

After breakfast, I dropped the guys off at the local historic landmarks to walk around and shop for a cowboy hat. Yep, one of the kids decided that he absolutely had to have a hat. And on they went, searching for the right hat and ignoring the history of the town. In the meantime, Tink and I walked and walked and checked the region out on foot. It was a beautiful city with so much history and lots of shopping...naturally....

The game on Saturday night was scheduled for 6 pm. So, the guys took their bus to the stadium and Tink and I continued to look around the city. As we got to the stadium, the sun was setting and it now felt like Pennsylvania with a chill in the 40's.

The opening pitcher was from Texas and many of his family members were in the stands. They cheered him on as he struck out the opposing players. The game was tight and then it happened.....there was a fielding error on the third out. The pitcher lost his composure....then gave up two back to back triples. It was all the other team needed as they won by one run. But that is not the whole story.....

In the stands were spectators who had quite a few (plus a few more) beers and they were sitting behind home plate. They began to heckle the pitchers and the batters. As the starting pitcher was replaced, three other players from the bullpen were added to finish the game. The crowd turned hostile, yet the guys kept their composure. One of Buddy's breakfast friends was placed into the game. He pitched very well and I thought it was due to the pancakes. After all, they were quite filling.

After the game, the kid texted me and said that there was a big problem. OK, come to the room, let's chat. After he entered the room, he asked me what I was thinking? "Huh? Whatchatalwkinabout?"

"You know, when you saw Dog on the elevator and asked him about last night. The two guys next to him were the trainers and they reported the conversation to the coach. He asked me what I did last night knowing what the answer was....and I had to tell him that I had a beer....." Dude, more like 10...but anyway......what happened?

"He did not seem pleased!" Ok, so, now he knows that you are 21...big deal. I have seen him hoist one or two cases of beer.....no big deal right? Anyway, if it was such a problem, why did Dog keep the conversation going? He could have said that there was no party. Perhaps he is an idiot. At least I did not know about the trainers. Dog did....

Then we spoke about the game. "I don't get it. I am ready to go but they don't put me in....." Yes, the same old story of trying to prove that he is better than everyone else and no one appreciates him. This went on for an hour until he felt a little better. As I always say: "This is like the real world. If it is not a coach who ignores you, it is client...or a boss.....or your spouse.....:-)"

Then he brought up the hecklers.  He mentioned that he was dying to get into that game to shut them up.
 Here was the diabolical plan that he hatched in the bullpen...."First, I have  to hate my opponent. It's nothing personal but I am there to strike him out. So if he smiles at me crooked, I hate him. If he has brown hair....I hate him...if he is wearing Adidas cleats...I hate him."
OK, so we established that he needs to feel loathing before the first pitch. Got it. He could be playing Mother Teresa's team, but he has to hate them because they are wearing blue and white. Gotcha...

"Next, I send the first pitch for a strike, then I make eye contact with the fans...."

Hmmm, he is going to send them a non-verbal message....this works. He's saying that sticks and stones may break his bones but names will never hurt him....

"Then once the first batter is out, I will spit on the ground in front of them."

Nice, not sanitary, but it also sends a nonverbal message that he is large and in charge and has to clear his throat. Feel better? I am sure that he will someday soon be able to use this model of practice during a future game.

And as he walked out of the room, I had a feeling that this would not be the trip that he had wanted. He wanted to return to the mound triumphant...the hero....the working class hero....but nothing...no fan fare...no flowers or candy....just an empty feeling that no one cares.....except BP mom....

More later......much much more...we are not nearly done with the story!

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