It's the seventh inning. Ironically I just had
my seventh beer. Through my blurred vision I peer out from my leftfield
seat. I ponder what it would feel like to leap over this rail, sprint
onto the field, and dive into home plate.
Surely this capacity crowd of 55,000 New Yorkers
wouldn't mind. Because when you analyze it, people don't attend these
events to watch a group of athletes toss a ball around. Or to watch
some well trained athletes compete. What's the axiomatic reason people
attend these events?
It's to be entertained. So the question isn't
why. It's why not.
I recall my uncle in Missouri telling me about
his experience at such a venture. He explained in his inebriated voice
how the cheers of the crowd engulfed his mind with a sense of euphoric
vision. As the cheers increased, he swore he was about to be hit with
some great revelation. Unfortunately the police dragged him off the
field before the discovery, and gave him a terrible beating.
I ponder what compelling mystery did he nearly
I put down my seventh beer and start to have
doubts. The bright red railway flashes like a traffic signal. It's a
barrier separating fans like myself from the iconic few who are allowed
onto the quasi-religious landscape. I'm also reminded of a recent ESPN
article saying that laws are being enacted to include not just a fine,
but prison for fans who run on the field.
Could this be because they are hiding something?
I feel obliged to finish the task my uncle started. Yet the thought
of prison frightens me.
But through my blurred vision I gaze at home
plate. It's hypnotic. Beckoning.
The crowd is singing, "Take me out to the Ballgame."
I stare at the plate. It seems to be whispering, "Take me," "Take me."
In seconds I jump the rail and dash down the
crisp green field. Most observers might believe that the seven beers
I consumed this inning are contributing to my behavior. That would be
a baseless accusation. To be precise, it's the seven beers along with
the five shots of vodka I had in the stadium parking lot before the
First the crowd appears stunned. Soon they understand
what's occurring and roar in approval. Growing up as a kid I recalled
witnessing this behavior during games and being appalled at such actions.
I've grown up since then and can see how immature my thoughts were.
Exhilaration engulfs my senses, along with a
sense of intrusion as I tread onto this ground which has been consigned
for a privileged minority. The hot night air lifts my blond hair as
my 195 pound frame races towards the hallowed target. Beneath my feet
I feel the pristine green grass cut to uniform specifications, with
a precision rivaling master hairstylist Jose Eber.
Into the infield I dash like a common street
urchin barging into the heart of Buckingham Palace. (Torn jeans and
all. I should've rented a tuxedo for this occasion.) The aligned bases
glaring out like white diamonds awe my senses. I have an up close view
of a realm constructed for god-like people we idolized since childhood.
With my pulse ricocheting off the scale, my
objective appears in range. As I dive into home plate with a reddish-brown
cloud of dust I can't help but recall my uncle in Missouri telling me
the story about how he tried the same thing during that rainy game in
St. Louis, with the help of a lot more alcohol I'm proud to say.
I also fondly remember his story about how his
grandfather interrupted the first ever World Series by barreling into
the catcher at home plate, giving him a minor concussion in the process.
Ever since then they have been required to wear masks and chest protectors.
And I'm not going to even mention what his great-grandfather did to
make the league require players to wear cups.
I dust myself off before the cheering crowd,
raising my arms in triumph. As I hear the cheers of the audience increase,
I start to notice a change. The landscape starts to look less refined.
Apparently my uncle was right all along. I feel ashamed to admit it
but, I previously assumed he just had too much to drink that day.
My feelings of exhilaration dissipate as I see
my worst nightmare, New York City Police officers. In Teutonic rhythm,
advancing from dark partitioned concrete. Objective: to crush my joyful
intrusion onto this Athletic Eden. I think if I just surrendered now
I could declare a moral victory. I clearly outdid my uncle by a long
shot. But no, I am on a mission. I break right avoiding my captors,
sprinting to centerfield, leaving the garbled sounds of cursing law
enforcement echoing through the night air.
There are no reins as I accelerate on this sacred
field. Seconds later I perform another head first dive in dead center.
For a while I decide to lay posturing on my stomach, limbs outstretched
like a beached albacore on Chesapeake Bay. I'm doing it with style.
The cheers of the crowd are now nearing deafening decibels. The vibrating
noise echoes in my skull, I see the bases and pitchers mound appearing
more oblique. I lift myself up and see a dozen officers closing in from
every angle. All escape routes are cut off. I am being enveloped, like
Hannibal's Roman opponent at Cannae.
All rationality tells me to surrender. But I
see the blue-collar fans in the audience, I imagine how hard they worked
to enjoy a night of entertainment. And more importantly I am so close
to unlocking this mystery. If I could just make this audience cheer
a little louder. I hear the slurred voice of my uncle beckoning me onward.
They're now within five yards, I notice a clump
of dry dirt in my left pocket, an alluvial deposit from my legendary
slide into home plate. Slowly, I move my hand down. One finger at a
time disappears into my pocket. As they approach I quickly turn, and
with a coiled motion, I throw a lateral grapeshot of refined earth into
Amid a chorus of gags and coughs through flaring
nostrils, I break the human envelopment. Staggering forward in my dirt
stained t-shirt, I prepare for a stunt that will bring these spectators
to their feet, and solve this mystery.
With my heart pounding like a jackhammer, I
leap onto my hands, and do three awkward cartwheels. I then finish with
a pathetic attempt at a back-flip. Upon landing my knees buckle, soon
I'm flat on my back.
Gazing up towards the heavens, I hear the crowd
erupt like the volcanic explosion at Thera. I see a blinding flash.
Maybe it's the stadium lights, but I am now struck by a revelation more
profound than on the road to Damascus. Stunning in its logic.
I hear the crowd cheering louder than they have
all season. Here I am, a common person , who never played in a Major
League game. Yet I was still able to entertain these fans better than
all these professionals.
I just exposed their fraud in front of 55,000
duped fans. These aren't special people, but for over a century we've
idolized these "immortals" by paying a portion of our salaries in a
ritualistic tribute to sit in this shrine just to watch them make physical
motions. I exposed this charade with just a couple slides and a back-flip.
With this sudden revelation I look at the grassy
field. It no longer appears pristine, it's no better than the lawn in
my backyard after I water it and run my lawn mower across it. (Of course
if I watered and mowed my lawn more than once a year I would've noticed
this a lot sooner.) Looking infield I notice the once ornate bases.
They now look like someone aligned some pizza boxes into a quartet,
the pitchers mound reminds me of an obtuse anthill I once saw in Kentucky.
Most pathetic of all are the athletes in the
dugout. Standing exposed . They're currently laughing their heads off,
but exposed nonetheless.
When this revelation spreads, their hypnotic
sway over our society will end. More importantly children will no longer
view them as role models. In fact I would make a better role model,
I've never been indicted for murder, suspended for choking my coach,
or fined for using obscene language, like many athletes. My only weakness
is that I might have a slight tendency to over-drink.
Picking myself up a jolting thought paralyzes
me. Many great leaders have attempted to expose conspiracies from these
powerful establishments. Most have been silenced through tragic means,
such as assassination, imprisonment, exile, and in the case of my uncle,
probation along with mandatory attendance at an alcohol clinic. I must
escape to herald this new ideology!
Too late! Before I'm upright a dozen police
grab me. They rush my stumbling frame towards the exit tunnel. The crowd
is furious. They begin to chant, "Let him go," "let him go," "let him
Despite my capture these guardians can't undo
my accomplishments, which will storm across the country like an unstoppable
I notice many people in the crowd have figured
out they've been duped all these years. I see several parents exiting
with their kids, they glare at me with disgusted looks. If I could read
their minds I'm sure I'm being thanked for exposing this ruse to them.
Before I'm shoved into the tunnel I see a contingent
of spectators running towards me in the stands. Gold waves of liquid
cascade from circular plastic as they yell encouragements. Nothing can
discourage them as they knock over popcorn and peanut vendors, sending
concessions exploding like cluster bombs. Before I disappear they wave,
and I begin to think I just witnessed the extreme right wing of my movement
beginning to form.
The initial euphoria of being an idol fades,
as for the next twenty minutes I wilt from being interrogated under
a hot lamp. I am isolated in a thick concrete bunker, away from the
joyful cheers of my fans.
I feel sick, my eyes start blinking, and my
head twitches. At first I think it's the seven beers along with the
five shots of vodka I had which is the cause, but then I dismiss that
theory. Instead I believe it's the seven beers, the five shots of vodka,
combined with the half bottle of Jack Daniel's Whiskey I had at home
There is some good news. It seems one of the
officers is starting to feel more compassionate towards me upon seeing
my condition. Apparently he's trying to give me the New York Police
Departments interpretation of the Heimlich maneuver, which is a couple
of hard knees into my ribcage. Writhing in agony I threaten to report
him to the mayor if he doesn't use a less painful method. Of course
I lose all faith in humanity when my vision clears and I notice that
this is the mayor of the city.
The last flicker of hope begins to fade, I feel
myself succumbing to their inquisition. I am about to give in, and reveal
my missions objective to curtail their hold on the people of this city.
But I recall my uncle's stories of our great
relatives field crashing exploits. One of them in particular stands
out above the rest. It gives me the inspiration to fight on.
It's a tale he says has been passed down to
him through the centuries about an intoxicated Roman ancestor who charged
out onto the field during a gladiatorial contest at the Colosseum. The
unfortunate relative was immediately devoured by a horde of ferocious
lions. Of course the bloodthirsty audience felt it was the most thrilling
event of the day even for a matinee, and gave him a ten minute standing
In the long term the lions didn't fare well
either. Half of them died of alcohol poisoning after ingesting the saturated
body of our ancestor. The ones that did survive had to have their stomachs
pumped and later became alcoholics.
My uncle fanatically insists this is the main
reason Christianity survived in Western Society since most of the Christians
that were thrown to the lions after that time were easily able to maneuver
away from their drunk, uncoordinated attackers and escape through the
tunnels where they were released.
In fact for the past several years my uncle
has been lobbying the Vatican to bestow upon this ancestor the status
of martyrdom under the name Saint 90 proof. Next week he plans to fly
down to Rome for the fifth time to push this request through.
This uplifting story endows me with the resolve
to not speak out. (Well, that and the fact that the mayor has his forearm
against my throat.) Unfortunately, refusing to capitulate seals my fate.
The article on ESPN proves correct, I am led away in handcuffs, down
a cold runway to disgrace.
My head lowers. I stagger with dejected regrets,
I see no light where I'm headed. Darkness hovers over white concrete,
shadowing a seemingly bleak future, once so promising. (I thought they
would at least have the decency to refund the five dollars I paid for
my parking ticket.)
What transpires in the next seconds can be summed
as a miracle. From behind a concrete column I see the intoxicated fans
I encountered before I entered the tunnel. My extremist right wing faction
has organized a rescue mission!
The dozen crusaders leap on the three police
officers, removing a set of keys, and ending my Promethean torment by
unlocking my shackles. They shove me towards the exit tunnel yelling,
"run!" I run, but my decimated body makes it difficult. My sweat drenched
clothes gravitate downward. My lungs stretched to capacity are near
their elastic limits.
Soon I see the light at the exit. Like an oil-less
tin-man I drag my obliterated frame across the parking lot. I gasp for
air. I'd pay a king's ransom for an oxygen mask, or a liver transplant.
As I fall into my car, I can't help but think
of those brave apostles who saved me. No doubt they will be overpowered
by the re-enforcements I saw approaching. And likely share a fate meant
After I drive onto the freeway, I decide to
call my uncle on my cell-phone to make sure to lobby for some kind of
martyr status for those brave followers beside our ancestor when he
flies down to Rome next week. I just hope this time the Italian authorities
will allow him off the plane.
As for myself I have greater responsibilities.
I need to plan my next engagement. But where? I do recall purchasing
tickets to the NBA Playoffs a week ago. And the last time I was at Madison
Square Garden that parquet floor looked pretty inviting.
By the way the Yankees won the game 7-3.