Tuesday, June 05, 2007

take me out to the crowd

Every year we look forward to that one week when the Red Sox come to the Bay Area. We get tickets to as many games as we can, we steal out of work early and head to Oakland to watch the game. I've talked before about what it means to live with a Bostonian, and this is part of the package. I secretly like the A's (don't tell Chicky). I like the A's because they are scrappy; they have a crappy stadium in a crappy part of town, their payroll is small, they lose guys constantly to bigger teams. And yet they keep winning. They have spirit, those guys.

Our ritual includes avoiding paying for parking by parking nearby in a lousy area. We invariably get hit up for money on the walk to the stadium every single time, last night included. There is always (as you can see from my lousy camera phone picture - by the way, Chicky, that's Big Papi at bat) a ton of Sox fans in the park, almost seeming to equal the A's fans. It's always loud, always fun, and almost always, a fight breaks out. Last night was no different, this time the mini-riot was nearby and took multiple security guards to disassemble. It's painful to watch a guy bounce down some stadium seating; a Sox fan at that. Dude. Respect the home team advantage.

I generally get along with everyone because I can go either way. If the A's made a good play, I cheer. Same for the Sox. I'm equal opportunity. It probably annoys J but I remind him that the A's payroll is microscopic in comparison to the Sox. We both love the underdog. The A's won last night and in final analysis I decided that was fine by me. They played a great game.

But even though last night's game was awesome, an 11 inning extravaganza at that, what I was most struck by were the hawkers. The malteds and the churros, the pizzas and the peanuts. The men and women of all ages running up and down the aisles selling their wares. That looks like a shit job, hawking. And I know enough to know the pay is shit too. And they get yelled by drunks. Those boxes they carry on their shoulders don't look fun either, all those ice cream sandwiches and cotton candy inside.

There was one old guy in particular who broke my heart. He was easily in his 60's, running up and down the stairs selling churros while looking so tired. He must need the job badly, as it seemed hard for him to do. But he kept smiling. I noticed how he cheered when the A's scored a run. You know how sometimes you see someone and they are instantly in your heart for no tangible reason? It was like that with this guy. But he was busy and there was really nothing I could do but notice.

In other and much more exciting news, our Just Post fundraising project is doing so, so well. Mad's nifty thermometer shows we've already raised $1,145 and we still have 5 days to go till the 10th. I can't thank everyone enough who's given money and written posts about our project. We've already raised enough to pay all the expenses for all eleven kids for one whole month. Blogosphere, you rock. Don't stop now.

justpostgiving3 I, on the other hand, suck at photo placement so I don't know how to get rid of all that dead space up there next to the thermometer. But so it goes.


mamatulip said...

Man, I love baseball. This makes me want to go get some peanuts and Cracker Jacks...

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Up here, Oakland's rookie ball affiliate, the Canadians, begin their season very soon. I look forward to having a couple cups of beer in their company soon.

Most people up here wear Blue Jays' colours. I prefer gaudy green. Up the A's.

slouching mom said...

I just knew you and your hubs would love the underdog. Me too.

And people like that guy selling churros stay with me, also. There is a whole group of people like him in my head, some that have been there for years now. People whose lives just hurt my heart.

Like lady who worked at the coin-op laundry that my hubs and I frequented when we were graduate students. She was the most gentle, kind, and dignified person.

And life had cut her no breaks at all. None.


Tabba said...

"You know how sometimes you see someone and they are instantly in your heart for no tangible reason?"

Yes. YES! God, Jen. Yes, I do.

Glad you enjoyed the night out at a game with J.

And I have not forgotten about the Open Arms project......

flutter said...

love love love love baseball! I am so excited for an upcoming trip to San Diego, primarily because we get to go see baseball in the new park.

Good work on the fundraising, honey.

Momish said...

Oh, I am way late to the game (no pun intended). I need to read up on the fundraising.

Funny, but I wouldn't have taken you for a baseball fan. Learn something new every day!!

As for the lovely old man selling at the game. I think if he was smiling, then he enjoyed doing it. At that age, people only smile when they want to, they are so over the bullshit.

KC said...

One of my patients is retired and now works at the stadium. But this is his love. He is so proud to be doing this in his retirement, watching the games and events. It makes me happy.

Way to go with the fundraising. so much good.

Christine said...

Wow! So much money, so much good.

And those people who sneak into your heart. Unforgettable.

meno said...

I can smell the peanuts just from reading this post. Nicely done.

I would have bought a churro, even if i didn't want one.

Lawyer Mama said...

"You know how sometimes you see someone and they are instantly in your heart for no tangible reason?"

YES! I know exactly what you mean. For me its the woman who hands out free newspapers on the corner near my office.

I love going to baseball games. Not so much a huge fan of baseball on TV, but a game is an Experience.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I'm fairly certain they don't sell churros at Red Sox games here in Mass. I'm just sayin'.

I'm watching the game as I type this. The NESN announcers just made a comment about the A's stadium - how if it were more intimate it would be a lot more fun to hear the fans rally behind their teams. I'd still love to be there... Mainly to watch a game with the two of you.

Julie Pippert said...

Dude, that is SO the opposite---polar---of my recent baseball experience.

A. No Sox, Red (preferably) or White

B. Patience has grown out of her Red Sox cap, which anyway has gone missing to our immense chagrin

C. Swank and posh everything: stadium, food, fans, etc.

There were no sad case laborers. They were dancing up the short and wide steps singing songs and playing food tossing games.

A lot of the people working there said they do it to see the games free and get a paycheck.

There was not a speck of bubblegum on any of the chairs, over or under (and yes I checked, I am the mother of the Ps after all!) and the floors were so clean I let the five second rule apply.

Not one fight, and only well-mannered enthusiasm.

I'm telling you, it is NOT REAL BASEBALL here.

Anonymous said...

It has been a few years (more than I'll admit) since I took the not-long drive up to Fenway, and I'm thinking it's over due.

kristen said...

I loved going to A's games when I lived in SF - definitely fun and I loved walking in that long tunnel from Bart to the stadium.

We so root for the underdog in this house and I was laughing to see that salaries are part of it. My husband was a rabid Yankees fan until they began over-paying for players and now have the highest payroll in baseball. Now he roots for every other team just because they have ruined the purity of the game.

Lucia said...

Oh, yeah, underdog teams. I grew up a Cubs fan. Enough said.

I am SO amazed and the wonderful outpouring to Open Arms. Hurray!

Aliki2006 said...

I love baseball games, too and your post reminds me that we haven't been to one yet! Ack!

Karen Forest said...

And now this man that you have described, hawking churros, is in my heart too.

Thank you.

Redneck Mommy said...

Living where I do, I have missed out on this particular experience.

However, they do have the hawkers at the football games I attend during the season (starting soon...yay!)

It always amazes me that they can throw with such deadly accuracy. I know this, because once my husband bought some peanuts and I was beaned on side of the head with the bag.

Boo still laughs about it. Asshat.

QT said...

I can't watch baseball on TV. I must be there in person, to take it all in. I have no loyalties - I was once a Mariners fan, back in the day when Alex and Ken Griffey and Randy Johnson were all on the team. But once they defected, I realized there was no heart left in it so now I cheer for whoever I feel like on that given day.

I am so excited to see what the total ends up being on the Open Arms project!

thailandchani said...

Never been much of a sports fan.. but I definitely liked the story about the old man going up and down those stairs. Yeah. I've known those kinds of connections. :)



wordgirl said...

There's something quite zen about baseball that football just can't quite capture. I love watching my son's high school team play.

Jenn said...

The day of the last game at Tiger Stadium, I sobbed. Part of my youth is entwined there with the bricks and bleachers.

On a great side note, my score of the month is a new t-shirt that I'm wearing in August to Comerica Park when the Yankees come to town. It says:

"Jesus Hates the Yankees"

Blog Antagonist said...

We live in, literally, the "Home of the Braves", but my oldest son is a huge Red Sox fan. We love baseball.

I completely know what you mean about spotting someone who is instantly in your heart. I think that's the mark of a true people lover.

Beck said...

Poor old ice cream guy. I know an old guy like that - too old and broken for the hard physical job that he must do. It makes my heart hurt.

Hel said...

I am proud to be your sister.

And happy

Mad Hatter said...

Miss M's favourite song to sing right now is Take Me Out to the Ball Game. I keep trying to video her singing it but she is hip to my jive.

You know, I don't think the category of employment known as "hawker" exists in Sleepy Town. We did lose another mill yesterday. Another town of destroyed futures just up the road. Ah the perils of natural resources.

Heather said...

I married a Red Sox fan. I totally understand the committment involved. I actually converted to being a fan too...big deal since I come from NYC...my sister hates me for it.

I love going to games!

urban-urchin said...

last summer we took our kids to the Oakland Arena for the girl scout appreciation game. It was so much fun. We walked on the field by the pitchers warming up.

Baseball players are super hot.

crazymumma said...

I had this fantasy that when bigirl sang at the Bluejays on mothers day that it would be against the Redsox and you and I would run in slow motion across the field to one and other in a deep loving soul sister embrace and....then I woke up.

Hope J had a great time!

Jocelyn said...

Your post leaps to even greater life when you start noticing those hawkers. Compassion is your gift, woman.

Emily said...

I love this description of a baseball game...a past time that is growing on me but I've been wanting to go to a game, seems a good way to celebrate summer!

Cristi said...

Cheer for the underdogs! Yah!!