Not Everyone Interested in the Action

By Eddie Mayrose

Before you read any further, you should be aware that my wife, Virginia, is of the opinion that I shouldn’t often be out in public, as the commonly accepted idiosyncrasies of normal people tend to drive me crazy.

She’s right. I can’t get a handle on why people lunch on the free samples at Costco, spread out four across on a sidewalk when I’m walking toward them, or buy $50 worth of Lotto tickets while I’m waiting in line for a Metrocard to get to work.

While these and many other things tend to put me over the edge, I’m fully aware that the onus is on me to assimilate; I’m the one with the problem. Except, that is, when these wonderful little oddities invade my own sacred bastion: baseball. That’s where I draw the line. I will not suffer thoughtlessness well when it gets in the way of my enjoyment of the national pastime. And any who might disagree with my opinions on the subject can kick rocks — get your own column!

Monday night, the Fourth of July, my wife and son Tim showed up at Richmond County Ballpark to watch the Brooklyn Cyclones take on the Staten Island Yankees. The place was packed, as it always is, because the Yankees have a brilliantly creative marketing department that offers an endless parade of ingenious promotions, from all-you-can-eat tickets to batting practice with the team to “Fireworks Night,” which, obviously, was being held on Independence Day. The tragic downside to all of these promotions, however, is that very few of the more than 7,000 usually in attendance are there to watch a baseball game. Worse, they make it virtually impossible for me to watch.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand that the NY-Penn league is as far from the big leagues as you can get in professional baseball. But, the small ballpark offers a wonderful opportunity for a dad to pass on the finer points of baseball to his kids. That is, until the children are either distracted by the guys in poodle skirts dancing on the dugouts, or completely obstructed by the Cub Scouts parading back and forth to the concession stands. Knowing this, I always try to grab a seat somewhere down the line, away from the mayhem. No such seat was available on Monday, however, and the show was on.

No one seemed to care that the game started at 7 p.m., as people continued to arrive in droves well into the third inning. One of those was Andy Pettitte, or, at least, a heavy drinker wearing a Pettitte jersey. He and his buddy, clad in a T-shirt that read “God fearin’, Bible believin’, Gun packin’, America lovin’ Conservative,” made enough trips to the beer stand to qualify my seats for obstructed-view status. They couldn’t hold a candle, however, to the four people directly in front of me, who were taking photos of the sunset and harbor for most of the contest.

“Excuse me, sir, can you lower your hands so that I can explain to my son why the runner on third takes his lead in foul territory?” That remark only got me the stink eye from Virginia, as she knew I was starting to boil. The fact that I directed the request to the wife didn’t win me any points, either.

The Cyclones’ starting pitcher was perfect through three, with a terrific fastball and a bender that was keeping the Yankees on their toes. As I started to explain to Tim what “spotting the fastball” meant, the catcher was suddenly hidden from view. It seems that Dorothy something-or-other was a neighbor of the woman in front of us. She stopped by to chat because they hadn’t seen each other since they’d gotten in their cars and driven to the game. After two batters of biting through my tongue so as not to get myself in more trouble with my wife, she turned around and asked, “Oh, am I blocking you?”

“For quite a while,” was my reply, just before I got kicked as a reminder to behave. Hey, it was better than what I wanted to say: “Not at all. I’m too distracted by the plumber’s crack your husband keeps showing us every time he stands up.”

Finally, we got to the seventh inning, and the all-you-can-eat stands closed down. Now, we could settle back and watch some baseball. Even though the game was a laugher, with Brooklyn up 10-3, the crowd was still excited after the riveting ferry race on the scoreboard that was immediately followed by the two dolts running around the bases wrapped in inner tubes. I was just starting to enlighten Tim as to why the first baseman plays behind the runner with a big lead when, off in the distance, the Macy’s Fireworks show started in Manhattan.

“Hey, dad. This is just like the Fourth of July scene in The Sandlot.”

He was right. It was beautiful. Sadly, though, we got to enjoy it for about a minute, as the hordes of people sitting in the lower sections started making their way up the steps to get a better view while climbing all over us. It was at that point that I realized that the 18 guys on the field were merely a distraction that was delaying what these people had actually come to see. I slumped in my seat, awaiting the inevitable, and, in the top of the eighth, I got it: The Wave.

Let’s be clear about this. I don’t just hate the wave. I believe there should be snipers on the roof of every ballpark that fire paint balls at anyone standing up for the wave. Ushers should then swoop down on these paint-stained fans and remove them from the stadium forever.

Look, folks, you want crazy races and contests? Go to a picnic. You want to answer trivia questions and watch silly cartoons? Then Jeopardy and Nickelodeon are for you. Just keep the nonsense away from the ballpark. Some of us are trying to watch the %#@$! game!

Eddie Mayrose appears every Sunday on the Fantasy Sports Network with Craig Mish at 3 p.m. Sirius channel 210, XM channel 87. He can also be seen, with Tom DeAngelo, on “Down in Front,” a weekly sports talk show available to Fios customers in Brooklyn and Queens. Check local listings.

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