It’s almost impossible to score tickets to the most storied rivalry in sports, the Yankees vs. the Red Sox. That is, unless the Yankees have been mathematically eliminated from postseason play. “Mathematically eliminated” is exactly how I felt during every math class I ever took, so I know what it’s like.
We arrived at Yankee Stadium in time for a retirement presentation for David Ortiz, who is a very popular Red Sock. Is that the singular for Red Sox? It may sound intimidating to boast that you are a Pirate or a Giant or a Diamondback, but less so to snarl that you are a sock. And with a 25-man roster, there is always an odd sock out there somewhere, probably behind the team clothes dryer.
Anyway, they awarded him a couple of nice gifts and said some disingenuous words about how much we’ll miss him hitting all those home runs against us, and I felt like I was watching a co-worker preparing to leave the company, and I was going to get his corner office with the great view. I was already redecorating David Ortiz’s locker in my head.
Then, they played the national anthem, and everyone stood except for those who were protesting things they don’t like about America. Now, there are plenty of things I don’t like about America, like the fact that there’s never anything good on television on Sunday night, but I still love other things about America, like the fact that it’s very easy to find a good candy bar. So as a protest to those people protesting, I stood during the anthem facing the flag and sang the whole thing, with the rarely used correct lyrics. I don’t begrudge anyone their right to free speech, even if they don’t say anything. Also exercising their First Amendment rights were many Red Sox fans who seemingly knew many unseemly expletives, which they expleted frequently.
Then, it was time for the game to begin, and the minute you sit down in a stadium seat, you automatically get hungry for overpriced, under-cooked food. I’m used to making a lot of concessions at the concession stand, but I’m not used to seeing things like “gourmet aged white cheddar kettle corn” and sushi at a sports venue. What hasn’t changed is that food tastes better if the Yankees are winning, and worse when they’re not.
I settled on a cup of coffee. At the stadium you can get a latte, an espresso or a cappuccino. Back in the old days, when I was your age, you used to get a Styrofoam cup with no top, filled with used motor oil from a 1967 Volkswagen Microbus. And by the time you got back to your seat you would be wearing most of it, and I must say it looked great on you.
Before the seventh inning stretch, the grounds crew came out to spruce up the field and dance to the tune of “YMCA” by the Village People. I’m not sure what the YMCA has to do with dragging the infield, but people seem to enjoy it, and the crowd tries to spell “YMCA” using their bodies to make the letters. This is a good time not to sit next to somebody who is dyslexic, or you’re going to get smacked in the face with a “C” while you’re trying to make an “A.”
But the Yankees won the game, the Red Sox won the division, and everyone lost their troubles in a few hours of the great American pastime. I even got through my cup of coffee, which was terrible, but on the bright side, it reminded me to take my car in for an oil change.
Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org. And join Rick and the Trashcan Poets on Saturday night at Chat 19 in Larchmont.