Thursday, May 7

A Hell of a Baseball Game

It is hard to be so critical of free tickets, but in this case I feel justified. Wednesday, the Charlotte Knights were hosting a game that was billed as a businessperson's special. Businessperson is a terrible term that has no rhythm and should not exist. The use of 'man' in this instance has no gender specificity and this term implies the need to distinguish between the genders. As if calling Oprah a tremendous businessman doesn't do her justice, she must be a tremendous businesswoman. By doing so, she's not compared to men, thus diminishing the praise. Like calling Martin Luther King Jr. a great African-American, instead of a great American. Identifying LeBron Jamesas the best small forward in the NBA is accurate, but pales when compared to LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. Anyhow, this game was neither a businessman or businessperson's special, it was middle school madness.

The entire lower bowl of the castle was filled with middle schoolers from various schools around Charlotte. I love kids, but when there's thousands of kids hopped up on Cotton Candy, Hawaiian Punch, and sugar cookies screaming with that "i should be in school, but I'm not' fervor, they lose the cute factor. The seats I was given were incredible, three rows behind home plate, but the result was being perfectly placed in the center of the cacophonous noise that was thousands of kids armed with... wait for it... THUNDERSTICKS! It was as if a fifty pound bag of popcorn was being popped in my ears for two hours, interrupted only by screams of excitement that accompanied a foul ball. While the kids were wired, they were far from the only annoyance associated with my trip to the ballpark.

Early in the game the Durham Bulls leadoff hitter, who clearly suffered from a Pedroia complex, was hit with a pitch and took two steps towards the pitcher. The hurler, whose name was drummed out of my hand, had been having control problems and lost the handle on a curve ball, but Mini-Pedroia was not happy and intended to let everyone know it. Really dude, you're gonna charge a mound in front of thousands of middle schoolers? Stay classy.

After five innings, the majority of middle schoolers had headed for the exits, allowing finally for some peaceful enjoyment. Two innings later the rains came, for a whopping fifteen minutes, or just long enough to require the entire infield to be treated before the game could begin again. During this time, one of the 'I used to be a player, but I couldn't hack it' scouts decided to use the opportunity to hit on any and every female that walked by. Somehow, he would always end up waving his White Sox (the Knights parent club) championship ring, which he wore on his pinky, around. The ring was fitting of a championship ring, the kind a man wants to wave around, you know, the opposite of a wedding band. Upon further review, it was not a Chicago White Sox ring, but a Kannapolis Intimidator South Atlantic League championship ring (although it did have the Sox logo). You think your stuff doesn't stink because you have a Single A championship ring? Who wears a championship ring from 2005 on a daily basis anyway? Congrats on being slightly cooler than 20-something varsity jacket wearer guy.

The Knights used a 3-run homerun to trim the lead to one, but before they had their final swings in the ninth, mother nature rushed in once more. Another 15-minute rain, 50-minute rain delay thanks to the entire infield being needed to be treated again. I should use this opportunity to point out that there were two women on the "tarp" crew, and needless to say one of them became the focus of attention for the remaining 50 men in the stadium. You have to give props to ladies that aren't afraid to get dirty... you know since this a businessperson's special, I feel compelled to identify the differences in men and women.

Charlotte fell short in the ninth, ending a nearly five-hour saga whose high points consisted of two $1 hot dogs with chili and cheese and a rather attractive groundskeeper. Perhaps because I had endured the Thunderstick torture, I found myself truly disliking the Durham Bulls and their team of jockeys who appeared to be have received their uniforms as hand-me-downs from their big brothers that they haven't quite grown in to yet. I can't wait to go back tonight!