Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Confession: I've always hated baseball. I hate playing it and I hate watching it. Playing the game is excruciating (because I suck at anything where you're actually supposed to put yourself in the way of a ball coming at lightening speed — I mean, how stupid is that?); watching the game is just plain boring. But sometimes a game is more than a game, like here, in L.A. Baseball is the Dodgers and going to a Dodgers game just one of those things that you do. Especially when your neighbors offer you free tickets.

Pretty darn good tickets, too. But, as I soon found out, where you sit at a baseball game doesn't make too much of a difference. Because people are right: you don't go to a baseball game for the game — you go for the atmosphere, the spectacle. And it's hard to explain without actually going to a game. Like there's the guy sitting a row above you who gives you a napkin because he can't bear to see you making such a mess with your hot dog. It's all the people hoping and praying they'll catch a foul ball. The woman dancing up a storm trying to get on the Jumbotron. The countless beach balls flying around and the poor ushers playing tag trying to confiscate them. Why?

"Because," our young girl usher explained, "if you're playing Beach Blanket Bingo, you're not paying attention to foul balls, and if you're not paying attention to foul balls, one might just bean you, and we don't want that — I'd rather get beaned myself than have you get hurt."

"Did you hear that?" the young man sitting in front of you cries. "She'll take a foul ball for me! I think I'm in love!"

You jump, you scream, you sing, you do the Mexican Wave over and over again — and in the background there's a game going on. It's really the strangest communal event.

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