Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

I got some season seats for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (more on that abomination of a name later) game last night. I called up a few friends and we were off to the Big A to watch...well, I went to watch the Twins...the Angels play. What I got was a reminder in just how predictable we as Americans can be. The following stadium cliche activities were in full effect in Anaheim last night:

1) Jumbotron aping. What is it about the camera that causes men, women, and children to think they can dance, experience facial convulsions, and put two fingers behind everyone's head? Oh, and point to their jersey and raise the index finger?

2) "Kissing Cam" Have you seen this one? The clever AV dropouts that run the Jumbotron put a little template over the screen in the shape of a heart attempting to entice the two people within it's tractor-beam like shape to kiss one another. Of course, the best of this activity is when they either erroneously pair two people together, or the woman shuns her man. "Her man" got shunned twice last night. She said "no" once, and the clever cameraman decided that after a minute, she'd acquiesce. No dice. Derisive chuckling from 40,007 fans.

3) And how do I know there were 40,007 fans there? I took a quiz! Yes! The great attendance quiz. This test is usually administered sometime in the 6th inning, after the game is considered "official" and no notes are allowed. The great thing about this quiz is that of the four choices [these were the options last night: a) 40,005; b) 40,006; c) 40,007; and d) 40,008] EVERYONE in the stadium got it right! Not only did they get it right, but they all felt the need to jump up, cheer, and high-five each other, congratulating themselves for their incredible ability to correctly estimate the size of a crowd of over 40,000 to within one person. I was impressed.

4) The video baserunning race. The three contestants last night were Captain Baseball, The King, and some other also-ran. Once again, clever AV dudes, with the aid of graphic art school dropouts, summon all their creative energies and create a fictitious cartoon race around the basepaths as 40,007 fans cheer on (give or take about 5000 who are busy in the urinal or at the biergarten). Once again, all those who were cheering were able to correctly ascertain that Captain Baseball was going to be the winner as evidenced by the aformentioned jumping up, cheering and high-fiving. People in Orange County are so smart.

5) T-SHIRTS!!! OVER HERE!!! The latest craze is an air-rifle version of the t-shirt thrown into the audience. This gives hope to the thousands of fans that weren't seated 12 rows behind third like we were...those in the upper deck...because now eye-candy promotions girl can actually "throw" a canned t-shirt as high as the second deck. We were hoping to see someone dive for it and end up on the lower deck, but not everyone's that hopped up over a giveaway shirt. Thank goodness.

6) I will kill you for this foul ball! I love foul balls. I don't love them in my section...I just love to watch the melee that ensues when one ends up in the stands. I watched as two guys gouged each others' eyes over a 2-1 pitch fouled off by Justin Morneau of the Twins. That's a souvenir you'll be talking about for decades. Eat your heart out "Guy Who Caught Hank Aaron's 755th!"

7) Bratwurst. Okay. This one is actually a good reason to be at the game. This is, to me, the menu at Angels stadium: Bratwurst and "crap that isn't bratwurst." Thankfully, the good folks in Anacrime figured out that there are enough of us midwesterners out here to merit a good link at the ballpark.

It wasn't such a bad night after all. Oh, and by the way, the home team cheated and won 4-3 in extra innings.

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