|Dangerspouse Rides Again|
Garage - Track
Oct. 25, 2004 - 1:11 p.m.
However, I have actually attended one Major League Baseball game in my life....
Before meeting NewWifey(tm) I was shacked up with a billiant, but wildly alcoholic, blond CPA. She wasn't an alcoholic before I met her, a point her parents always took pains to stress whenever they saw me. However, it's probably more correct to say that she WAS an alcoholic previously, but her symptoms didn't really blossom fully until after she left the umbrella of a domineering family and took up with a Rock and Roll DJ.
But otherwise, it was every guy's dream.
Oh, she was also NY Mets fan. Which cynics might say was just another manifestation of her self destructive behavior.
For the most part I didn't mind this one flaw, since she was smart, hot, and never remembered which orifice I'd ravaged the night before. If her following an insipidly moronic sport was the worst complaint I had, then I counted myself lucky. So one year as an expression of gratitude (and to assuage months of niggling guilt), I belayed my natural revulsion and purchased a pair of tickets to a Mets' home game for her birthday.
(Before this gets too cumbersome, we will assign my ex the moniker "Corky".)
On the appointed, accursed day, we hopped the #7 train out of Times Square and were deposited right on the doorstep of Shea Stadium in Queens. We were joined by another couple; a girl Corky had made friends with during her first rehab vacation, and an Argentinian exchange student this other girl had "fallen in love with". He spoke no English.
Radio pay being what it was (is), all I could afford was seats about 9/10 down the left field line, and so far up in the stands we were issued oxygen bottles and a St. Bernard.
Corky and the other girl each smuggled in a plastic liter bottle of Poland Spring Water, filled instead with Smirnoff vodka.
The scene was placid enough early on, if breathtakingly dull. First of all, the two teams were embroiled in something called ironically a "pitcher's duel", which basically meant that for 8 1/2 solid innings the pitcher threw the ball to the catcher, then the catcher threw the ball to the pitcher. Every once in a while the guy standing in front of the catcher swung a piece of wood, but nothing happened as a result. Every 10 minutes they changed sides and the other guy's pitcher got to work his rotator cuff.
It was everything I imagined a baseball game would be.
Second, Corky decided to sit next to her friend, seeing as how they both happened to be avid Mets' fans, leaving me all alone with a guy who knew as much English as I know Gerbil. I had a funny feeling, judging from their excited chattering, that the girls were actually Mets butts fans, but either way they were having a rip roaring good time. Which was very rip roaring indeed, lubricated by Smirnoff Hundred Proof.
Finally, opposite the ladies, Renaldo the Argentinian and I made awkward hand gestures at each other in a futile effort to converse. Two years of High School Spanish and all I could remember was "?Donde esta la rascacielo?", which elicited a blank stare. Numerous times. Meanwhile, after two months in the States, Renaldo seemed to be getting by on "Ees very hot", "Time for break?", and "Ees my Green Card." After one out in the top of the first we'd exhausted all our options and resorted to playing "Rock, Paper, Scissors" for the next hour.
Then in the third inning things began to deteriorate rapidly.
Two full inning, that's all it took for Corky and friend to consume an entire liter bottle of 100 proof vodka each.
For the most part, Corky handled herself pretty well. A liter to her at that point had the same effect as sniffing a wine cork does to most other people. It was just a preamble to the REAL drinking. So you couldn't really discern any outward change in her behavior.
Her friend, though, had just been released from her latest month-long rehab the day before. Dousing her unsuspecting liver with a sudden liter of refined ethanol produced an interesting series of behaviors. For one thing, she wanted to fuck Renaldo RIGHT NOW...and then didn't want to. She hates Spanish guys. But they are SO cute and...she REALLY HAD TO PEE. Where's the fuckin' beer stand? Aren't those guys with the 4 dollar cups of Bud supposed to come to YOU? What a rip...WHERE IS THE BATHROOM GODDAM IT!
The bathroom ultimately seemed to be the most pressing of her issues, so I told her to just walk down the bleachers, through the portal, and the bathroom would be immediately across from her. All in all a hundred foot stagger, tops. She teetered down those steps with that awful deliberation drunks have, placing each foot exactly so, with both hands on the left railing the entire trip.
She disappeared through the portal and we didn't see her again for 5 innings.
I think I was the only one who found it odd that she was still ostensibly peeing an hour later. I tried to pantomime my concern to Renaldo, but I think he got the mistaken idea that I was suffering from crabs. And ringing alarm bells at Corky did no good, as by that time she had found the location of the beer stand and had purchased - and consumed - eight 4-cup carriers. She was comprehening as much English as Renaldo at that point.
So I sat there wondering what to do. Should I go into every Ladies Room in that 60,000 seat stadium, opening every stall I saw feet poking out of until I found her? Tempting as that sounds, I nixed it immediately - this was New Yawk, and the Donuts in Blue have a very limited definition of "civil rights" when applied to "perps". (Quick pointed joke: How many New York City cops does it take to push a black teenager off the roof of a building? Answer: "None. He fell.")
Instead, I picked up my binoculars and started scanning the bleacher areas to our left and right. It was entirely possible, knowing how far in the bag she was, that our besotted friend had somehow missed the entrance portal directly across from her upon exiting the bathroom, and instead wandered over to an adjacent entrance.
A carefull scan of the sections to my right and left came up empty however. I started searching areas a bit farther afield.
Out of sheer curiosity I swept the binoulars directly across the stadium from where we were sitting - 9/10 down the first base line, at K2 height. And there she was! I couldn't believe it! There was no mistaking her, even at that distance of a half mile or so. She was carrying a full tray of 4 beers, slowly weaving her way along one row of people who would obligingly half stand to let her through. When she got to the end she dropped down a row and did the same thing in the opposite direction. When she reached the bottom of the section, she started on the adjacent one, working her way UP this time.
She had zig-zagged across every row of the upper tier of Shea Stadium looking for her seat!
Those beers had to have been flat by now, not to mention warmer than clam chowder.
Well, I couldn't just let her keep tortuously searching like that, half insensate from alcohol without (I noticed) the jacket she'd had on when she left for the bathroom an hour before.
I got up and headed for the outter walkway. I didn't even try to get either of the others to accompany me. Neither had the mental facilities to understand the complexities involved.
Even at a steady jog it took me a good 10 minutes just to get to the general area where I last saw her. At that point I just had to keep sticking my head through portals and hope to spot her as she wove nd sloshed along.
Dammit, I knew I was in the right series of bleachers. Where was she?
I decided to go down the escalators to the lower tier and scan upwards. Maybe she'd fallen over the railing.
Actually, that was uncomfortably close to the mark. It only took me a second to spot her from my lower vantage point. She was almost directly above me, plopped down in front of an empty first row, upper tier seat, legs dangling out into space as she slowly, carefully worked her way through those beers finally.
Back up the escalators, through the correct portal, and down the bleacher stairs I went. I sat down next to her.
"They serve warm beer here" she said.
She had downed three of them in the time it took me to find her. I slid the last one under the rail and hustled her back up the stairs, halfway around the stadium, and into her seat.
Just in time for the game to end with the home team's one and only hit - a home run in the bottom of the 9th.
Corky was ecstatic.
Renaldo was confused.
New Friend was asleep. And vomitting.
We waited for most of the crowds to leave before attempting to move. By then New Friend was empty and reduced to dry heaves, so I decided to toss her on my shoulders and Fireman carry her down the 11 escalators to the subway station. There I splayed her across a row of hard plastic seats, and hoisted her up again for the march through Times Square Station and onto a bus back to Jersey. No one even looked twice - this is New York we're talking about after all.
What did all that have to do with this past week and the Yankees?
Well, this past week I had my SECOND miserable baseball experience. See, I work with a LOT of baseball fans. Kinda natural - we have an entire Sports Department after all. And even the guys/gals who AREN'T in the Sports Department want to be there.
And last week they all called out sick.
Every. Single. Day.
It seems that a bunch of the Yankees-Boston playoff games ran into overtime, and none of these announcers have Tivo so they had to stay up and watch every pitch until the bitter end. Which is what it turned out to be for them. It seems that a team with a payroll equal to the GNP of a medium sized European country was not invincible.
After each of the first three wins they were too elated to sleep, after the ensuing four losses they were too depressed to sleep.
So guess who had to fill in for all these stalwart radio professionals?
The non-baseball fans.
Which would be...me and the Jahovah's Witness weather girl. We worked non-stop, double, triple shifts each on every station that Westwood One services out of our New York studios. They heard me doing stock market updates in Maine, and Cuban festival announcements in Miami.
By last Friday all but the most diehard fans had returned. A few were still sitting shiva, but we had a full enough roster that I only had to work from 3am to 4pm. Then my regular Saturday 8 hours.
On Sunday I slept.
And dreamt about baseball. No escape.....
Anyway, I'm back now.
Thanks, Yanks, for losing and allowing me to finally get some rest.
Later, kids. Time for my 7th inning stretch.....