Saturday, July 31, 2010

Say it ain't so lady...

For the past couple of days I have been watching Eight Men Out the somewhat fictionalized account of the 1919 Chicago Blacksox scandal in the World Series.  It is an entertaining film.  One of the leads in the story is "Shoeless Joe Jackson" - and one of the immortal lines from the story is the kid who comes up to Jackson and says "Say it ain't so Joe."   There is a lot of conjecture about whether Shoeless Joe was part of the conspirators who threw some games against the Reds.  Get any baseball fan into a discussion about that issue and you will find some passion.

There is another area which develops a passionate response among baseball fans.   During the game balls that go into the stands (bats too) become the property of the fan that gets them.  Many baseball clubs add to that tradition by throwing stuff into the stands - the Rivercats once had something called the Hot Dog Cannon - which threw stale wrapped hot dogs (which could be exchanged for fresh ones).  They've dropped that idea - evidently because some fans did not get the idea of an exchange - but they do come out once a game and shoot rolled up t-shirts into the stands.   In most parks there is an unwritten rule that kids get first dibs.   The value of the tokens that are handed out are nominal and this makes the game more fun for the kids.

Last night, as the Rivercats were winning, they brought out the cannon (actually uses compressed air) and one of the shirts landed near our seats in Section 107.  A kid sitting behind us got to the shirt first and had a big beam smile on his face.  But a lady in front of us got there a millisecond later and put her foot on the shirt and then wrestled it away from the kid.  His dad went down to talk to her but she would not budge.  

Immediately, we went up and got the kid a baseball.  Someone else got him a similar shirt.  In the seventh inning stretch he went down front and got a frisbee.  His dad also caught one.  So at the end of the night he had quite a cache of loot.  At the end of the game the lady skulked out of the stadium with her crummy shirt and the kid thanked all of us in the section. 

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