Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bobble heads, chocolate milk and the wrath

I should have seen the trouble coming. When you incur the wrath of the baseball gods, bad things are going to happen.

One of my personal rules is that you go to a baseball game to enjoy baseball, not for the sole purpose of getting some promotional giveaway. If you happen to get something cool for going to that particular game, it’s like a special treat.

And there is nothing worse than the guy who buys a ticket, gets his promotional item, then turns and heads home with no interest in the game.

Well, I have some bobble heads in the baseball room, and I was excited to see that the local West Michigan Whitecaps (Single-A Midwest League, Tigers) were planning to give away Joel Zumaya bobbles on Tuesday.

Zumaya, of course, is the Tigers rookie flamethrower who spent time in Grand Rapids in 2004, one of the better prospects to come through.

I have a weakness for bobble heads. I marked this date down months ago and planned to attend the game.

But it’s been a busy week. A relative is coming from out of town and I wanted to make sure the house looks its best. And the Mets were making a rare Michigan television appearance since they were playing the lowly Cubs.

Too busy to go the game, I thought to myself, hoping that the bobble heads would eventually end up in the ‘Caps gift shop, like the Brandon Inge and Jeff Weaver versions did a few seasons back.

Then my newspaper ran a photo of the bobbles. Zumaya was in a neat pitching pose, and was in his classy Whitecaps uniform. This was too much to pass up, but I really had to do more cleaning and grocery shopping before the guests arrive.

I pass Fifth Third Park on the way home, and hatched a sinister plan. I parked in the free commuter lot across from the stadium, bought a $5 lawn seat ticket and got on line a half hour before the gates opened at 6 p.m.

I planned to get the bobble head, turn and leave without the temptation of going into the yard.

All the while I stood on line, I felt sleazy and guilty, knowing this was a wrong thing – probably the same way a Yankee fan must feel every day.

I was about the tenth person on line, which was a good thing because there were only 1,000 bobbles to be distributed and there are three gates in the stadium.

The appointed hour arrived; I walked in and happily accepted my Zumaya – and free program. The Whitecaps rock!

Then the guilt struck. I couldn’t turn and leave. I felt like one of those freaks that used to buy 10 tickets to the Beanie Baby days, not stay for the game and rush home to put the darned things on eBay. I hate those people, and was never shy about expressing that opinion.

I made a quick loop of the stadium, used the restroom then slinked out the back gate, hoping no one would comment. It’s a good thing I arrived early, because the Zumayas were gone and it was only 6:10 pm.

Deep down I knew this was wrong, and that there would likely be consequences.

And sure enough, I arrived home to find that my 9-year-old had spilled chocolate milk on the living room carpet -- a whole glass of chocolate milk, on the tan carpet.

How big was this spill? The NesQuick Bunny and all his relations could have used it a watering hole.

The skipper of the Exxon Valdez would have said, “My spill was bad, but this thing is incredible.”

ARod would have come in and said “And I thought I was having a bad week.”

A Michigan Convention and Visitors Bureau representative would have said, “Oh look, another Great Lake! And it’s less brown than Lake Erie.”

“I hope you like that bobble head,” I said to myself. “Because the baseball gods have spoken and you shall suffer.”

So rather than quickly completing the remaining jobs and settling in to watch the Mets in comfort, I broke out our little Green Machine cleaner and went to work. Alas, that tool is small spills. This disaster called for something professional: The Rug Doctor, which I rent from Lowe’s.

So I did get to watch the Mets as I dragged the Rug Doctor back and forth over the spot, sloshing buckets of hot water and detergent across the house.

The machine does a good job, but it’s louder than a Kiss concert. This is good because it drowns out the horrid Cubs announcers. And it also drowned out the foul things I was yelling when Carlos Zambrano took Tom Glavine deep. Apparently the wrath extends the Mets as well.

So now the carpet is clean, the Rug Doctor is rinsed out and ready to back to Lowe’s, groceries purchased from the never-closing Meijer store and the Joel Zumaya bobble head is on a shelf in the baseball room, forever serving as a reminder that you don’t break the baseball fan rules.

In other words...

Back in May I grew weary of the whining over the Kazmir trade and spelled out my belief that horrible trade is the reason we're in first place today. Well, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post just last week came up with a very similar conclusion. Luckily, Bob Sikes of Getting Paid to Watch called him on it in this post.

Thank you, Bob, for the kind words and for having my back!

If you've never read Bob's blog, he was an assistant trainer for the Mets and witnessed some amazin' things and offers incredible views of behind the scenes activities and shows us the human side of the game.


Tony Hartsfield said...

Wow, that's quite a reference for you on that other blog. Another year of this, and you get to be snooty...

G-Fafif said...

You shouldn't ever feel like a Yankees fan but you should know there were reports of YFs who, when they heard David Wells was nearing a perfect game, ran to the box office so they could own a collectable, unused ticket from the event. There were also swell people selling tickets on eBay for a Yankee-White Sox game that was postponed on the second Tuesday in September of 2001 not long after the postponement. I shudder to even mention the date.

What you did was literally minor league by comparison.