New York is like wet paint. You want to reach out and touch the cool, viagra generic generic fresh stickiness, but once it’s on your fingers you don’t know what to do with it. Wipe it on your jeans? Of course, the response of a proper New Yorker would probably be to brazenly wipe it on someone else’s jeans, but I am not familiar with the proper way of things yet. I am but a grasshopper to New York’s Shaolin Master and there are many crumbling steps to my eventual enlightenment.
Of course, my mind-blowing wet paint statement makes the assumption that your brain is in some way wired up like mine. That the ‘touch, throw, jump’ gene resides in your genetic makeup. By way of explanation, this gene causes you to act in certain pre-defined ways.
1. If it’s wet, you will touch it.
2. If there is a large body of water in front of you, you will throw it. (’IT’ can be whatever you’re holding at the time, which is why I always tie my camera to myself. It stops my insurance premiums skyrocketing)
3. If it’s high above the ground …well, you don’t actually jump, but the thought about how great it would be to jump and glide right outta here on the next favorable updraft will pop into your head. Plenty of high spots in NY too.
But I’ve drifted off.
We were talking about the wet paint sport of baseball. Yes, we were. You see, the other thing people might mention in conversations about wet paint is that old saying. You know, about how some things in life are so gosh-darn riveting that they are akin to watching paint dry. With that statement in mind, let me tell you this—I went and watched my first game of American baseball.
On this rather resplendent evening, The Mets were dolled up in white with a nice stripe of Dulux Mondrian Blue on their tunic, while the Astros sported a very classy muddy brown stripe on theirs. We—Jo (my chaperone) and I—arrived just as they trotted out onto the field. The potent stink of money and jock straps hung in the air. I swear you could cut it with a knife. No, really.
We sat down, kind of behind first base but not at all, and gawped at the spectacle for a bit. Well, I gawped anyway. Jo nicked off to grab my first dollop of what US cultural freedom can buy—namely a hotdog in a sweet bun and a Bud in a plastic bottle. I took a few photos while he was gone. I had that silly ‘I’m at my first ever baseball game’ grin on. Or my cheeks were frozen—I can’t remember which.
Now, I’ve watched baseball on the idiot box before and I know it can be just about as interesting as a game involving men and bats can be. So I was kind of surprised at the yawn quotient. It’s not that it was exactly boring. I mean, right at the end there, it almost got exciting and I even nudged Jo and said that I was almost excited. Loaded bases in the last inning and that could have equalized the game with a home run. But fizzle, pop, sput and it was over. Goodnight Irene. They lost 6 - 2.
To clarify my feelings about this game, let me just say that at one point in the proceedings I turned to Jo and said, “You know, I’m all for underdogs, but these guys just suck.” Because I don’t think it’s the fault of baseball that this particular game happened to be the perfect game for narcoleptics. Really, a few zzzzs here and there and you wouldn’t have missed a thing. No. It was the sucky Mets. They just…sucked. I can think of no other word that comes close to describing them.
You know things are really in a sad state when the crowd boos one of their own team members every time he comes to bat. Roger Cedeno if you’re interested. Finally, it gets the better of Jo and he asks the guys behind us why everyone hates him so much. The answer is basically because he sucks, can’t bat, can’t field, and he cost four million dollars. I suppose for four million dollars a few boos aren’t gonna dent you too badly. Bounce off you like sugared-up four-year-olds off a trampoline I expect.
And don’t fret. I won’t give up on baseball yet. I’m not going to judge the whole sport on this one viewing. Might get me to a Yankee show. They seem to at least know the object of the game.
The Game Trimmings
“There’s a guy down there with a giant baseball as a head and you’re calling ME a dag?”
Jo had called me a dag for wearing a beanie to keep my sensitive noggin warm, but after seeing Mr Met I didn’t feel like such a freak. He’s the team mascot. Very popular. People get his autograph. Seriously. I see some clown in the crowd give him a bit of a playful slap to the side of the head. You know, for a lark. Mr Met, smooth as silk, gives this idiot a bit of a slap in the arm as pay back. You could tell there was a bit of pent-up spite in that slap. He must get idiots popping him all night.
Mascots with huge heads really do get the brown end of the stick, what with kids grabbing their lower bits and stupid grown ups slapping their overgrown heads. But I guess it’s the price you pay for fame these days. Hope he’s socking his millions away.
Between innings, the marketing moles pop out of their holes to regale us with mind blowing bits of drivel. It’s pep in a can, released whenever there’s a break in proceedings. Out in left field there’s a huge TV screen. During one break in innings, three digital Mr Mets raced around the bases. Each had a different colored shirt on. The wild thing was people in the crowd were cheering them on, as though their kids’ college funds were riding on the outcome.
I was confused. The action left my brain spinning on its rotisserie and my brow was shiftily furrowed. It turned out that there was a winner. A random crowd member wearing the same colored shirt of the winning Mr Met won something. Like pizza or some other sponsor’s product. A toothless kid won the smiling contest. Think he got a year’s supply of apple pie or something. It might not have been a year, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was. Gotta keep those dentists fat.
During one break people came out on the field and, using high powered guns juiced up with rocket fuel or something, fired t-shirts into the crowd. People seemed to like this a lot. The kid in front of me, lips stained blue from some good old-fashioned ‘cotton candy’, seemed very keen on the proceedings. But he didn’t get a shirt. Not everyone’s a winner. Not like the Astros.
There was a man hitting a cowbell to razz the crowd up. When he walked past, I noticed the words ‘Mr Cow Bell Man’ printed on the back of his jersey. Ohhhhh. I get it. Everyone has a role. Everyone has their place in this mixed up and heady world of baseball. In this episode, I played the role of a bemused alien, soaking the cultural ambience up like a big yellow sponge.
I tell ya, if all US culture continues to be as big and brassy and juicy as this, I’m gonna have to use my hot dog bun to sop up the excess.
So that was my first impression of baseball. New York itself? Well, I’m still working on that one. It’s just so…big. I don’t know what to do with it.
Toodle-Noo. Here endeth the missive
©Janeen McCrae 2003