Monday, October 1, 2007

Men in white polyester pants.

We show up to Miller Park a little late for the game. In fact, we got there right before the 7th inning stretch. Apparently, when they changed the game time from 6:05 to 3:00, they forgot to tell us. Oh, they told the other 40,000 people at the game. But not us. Ackward! That’s what we get for living on the wrong side of the Wisconsin-Illinois border.

When we showed up, they had already shut down the parking lot and were re-routing the streets for the mass post-game exodus. So we had to (yes, we had to) drive the wrong way down a one-way street to slip into the parking lot.

One other uninformed fan pulled up behind us. Dad was so relieved to see that we weren’t the only ones who didn’t know the change in game time that he was happily telling this stranger that he can’t believe he missed the announcement. This stranger turned a bit red-faced and didn’t look happy to hear the news. How could he not know? The parking lot was full, yet there was no traffic. All the tailgaters were gone, leaving behind crushed beer cans and cooling grills. The occasional roar of the crowd could be heard in the distance. These should have all been clear signs that the game had already begun. His sense of denial was breathtaking.

Here is a shot of the scoreboard by the time we showed up:

We had just missed the sausage races, which seemed to be the biggest disappointment to Dad who was set to cheer for the Polish Sausage. Tim and I are loyal to the (possibly fictional) Italian ancestry of the Nicola name and we always cheer for the Italian Sausage. We could hear the sausage race happening as we approached the stadium, and Dad looked very sad. It sounded like a good race... they even had Little Smokies racing this time. *sigh*

As it turns out, we actually showed up for the best part of the game. They had to go into extra innings, and the Brewers ended up winning with a great hit from some rookie named “Vinny”. While the Brewers had already sealed their fate of not being the first in the division the night before, with Saturday nights win they actually had the first winning season since 1992. After the winning run, the Brewers all swarmed onto the field and much cheering, congratuating, and man-on-man-hinder-slapping followed.

Even if you don’t like baseball, you gotta admit that it is fascinating to observe baseball fans. It’s like 40,000 Pavlov’s dogs responding to musical cues, and shouting the appropriate response in unison. It’s bizarre. And Miller Park has this annoying habit of just playing a few bars of a song, and then suddenly stopping. Like they’d have to pay for it if the played another note. No one else in the crowd seems annoyed by this other than me.

People also respond to gigantic megatron signs quite readily. When the signs light up and say “Make Some Noise” people make some noise. Usually clapping and shouting. Yelling "woooooo" while holding up a beer bottle is a common response. I just hum quietly to myself and Tim coughs. We can make noise however we want, the sign wasn’t specific.

Then in a sort of 'I Robot' moment, the sign tells us “I can’t hear you!” Of course it can’t hear us. It’s a sign. Nonetheless, the crowd responds to this pre-programmed taunt and “woooooo”’s even louder. No other word can describe these whole scene except for weird. If that sign ever does achieve consciousness, there is no telling what it will tell the crowd to do. It could be quite dangerous once it realizes the power it holds over baseball fans.


And that is the most you’ll probably ever read about sports on this blog. I make an exception to my disinterest in professional sports only for the Milwaukee Brewers. I really do love going to those games. Tim is willing to go along for the ride, at least with the promise of overpriced ballpark beer and family bonding.

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