Sunday, October 7, 2012

21. Reruns With Different Scores

Joe was 13 when his Dad took him to his first major league baseball game, the Chicago Cubs versus the LA Dodgers.  His mother never forgave the Dodgers for moving from Brooklyn so she didn’t go.  But his younger and older sisters went.  Ann, 15, liked baseball and was actually looking forward to the game.  Beth, 10, was happy to be going on a trip with her Dad, who she could wind around her finger like a piece of limp spaghetti, and who would buy her all sorts of goodies at the game.
 Joe had never been a baseball enthusiast and had been known to comment with disgust, after watching a few games on TV, “They’re just reruns with different scores.”
            But he was excited about driving from the northwest suburbs to Wrigley Field, picking up Dad’s friend, Martin, on the way.  Joe also knew they would be eating hot dogs, chips, and pop—not usually available in their nutrition conscious home.
            When they left, Mom called out, “Have fun.  Don’t eat too much junk.  I’ll have dinner ready by 6:00.”  Right, Joe thought, broccoli was sure to be on her menu.
            After picking up Martin at his condo, they got to the historic, ivy covered ballpark in time for batting practice.  After the game started, they ate their way through nine innings of salty, greasy, fatty treats.
            Back at home, the clock ticked around to 6:30 and they still weren’t home.  Even allowing for heavy traffic their mother thought they should have been home by then.  She was beginning to worry, “What could have happened to them?”
She tuned the radio to the Cubs station and heard, “Cubs 1, Dodgers 1.  Top of the 17th and still tied.”
Oh, my gosh, she thought, the game is still on. No wonder they’re not home.  She didn’t know much about baseball since she turned her back on the game with the treacherous behavior of the Dodgers, but she knew this had to be a record.  She pulled the casserole out of the oven, so it wouldn’t dry out, and wrapped it in a towel, so it wouldn’t cool off.
Back at the ballpark, the game was being called because of darkness.  On August 17, 1982, Wrigley Field did not have night lights due to the neighbors’ determined objections.  The game would continue the following day.
Joe was annoyed.  “This is NOT fair.  We paid for a game, we should see a whole game.”
His Dad tried to explain, “It's too dark to see the ball.  The players can’t see it, and even if they tried to play we couldn’t see what they were doing.”
“Why don’t we just go over to Comiskey Park, where they do have lights, and finish the game there?”  Joe wasn’t a White Sox fan by any means, but he was willing to go to their field if they could see the end of the game.  He knew there was no way his Dad was coming back tomorrow to see the end of the game.
Ann and Beth were tired of sitting on hard plastic/wooden bleachers and ready to go home.  Martin agreed, “Hey, guys I got to get to work in the morning.  I need my beauty sleep.”
They wiped the evidence of greasy foods off their mouths and headed for the parking lot to start the journey home.
The baseball fans walked in the front door at 8:25. 
“Do you want any dinner?”  Mom asked.  “Or did Dad stuff you with junk?”
Dad defended himself saying, “For god’s sake it was 6 hours, I had to feed them something.”
“Right,” Mom agreed.  “I’ll just put this in the ‘frig for tomorrow.”
The next day, they all watched the end of the game on TV.  The Cubs lost 2-1 after 21 innings.
Joe grumbled, “We could have just watched the Highlights of the Game and saved a lot of time and trouble.”
                                                        The End