So at 4:45ish I met Jen and her friend Courtney outside the front gate at Petco. We went to pick up Courtney’s ticket and then hung out waiting for Kaybee and Hyun Young. However, I didn’t know we were actually meeting them OUTSIDE the turnstiles, so I was already in line to go inside when I turned around and saw two more people with Jen. I wormed my way through the crowd and in all my hyperness introduced myself. There was supposed to be another with us, but alas, Tom could not make the trip. So the five of us trekked up the stairs and parted ways at the top–Jen, Courtney and I went to the Rockies’ dugout, and Kaybee and Hyun Young went to the Padres’ dugout. And here’s where the adventures start.
The only reason there are pictures in this entry at all is because my Flickr is being a bohunkus, and I want to show off the wonderful that is this game. It was far too hot to wear the Pants, which is probably why we lost. However, they safely made it to San Diego tucked into my purse, and they had to pose. And they still look blue. But Jen can vouch for me–THEY’RE PURPLE. And you can see the interlocking CR on the right.
In any case, when we got down to BP and stood up against this railing, we saw two things. First, Jen saw a guy in an AJ Pierzynski jersey, who, as you know, rox her White Sox. So that was cool. And when we sat down, somehow (I wonder) Tulo came up in the conversation. I obviously started rambling about how adorable he is, how well he’s doing this year, how he plays the game how it’s supposed to be played, and how I’ve been chasing his autograph for a month and a half now and Jen, if I don’t get it I’m going to cry and this is NOT waterproof mascara. Jen looks at me and says, “Isn’t that him?”
IT WAS TROY. Sitting right there, not twenty yards away from me. I squealed and then hyperventilated. He was hurt in Houston, I couldn’t get autographs in Anaheim, and Dodger Stadium ushers wouldn’t let me down by the dugout to get autographs there. And here he was. With those weird three lines shaved into his hair that I constantly tweet about and have failed to explain. So the day was already looking good for us autograph hounds. At least, until Crotchety Old Usher #1 came down and told us that we weren’t allowed to stand up during batting practice. Okay, yeah, I get that you don’t want us to get whacked in the face, but we’re both wearing gloves. But whatever. We sat down. We got Dexter Fowler’s autograph. Jen and I snapped pictures of Garrett Atkins for Emily. Spilly signed, but I already had him. I really wanted Troy.
So the guy behind me (Troy Fan #2) needed Troy’s autograph as well. He asked Troy if he would come back and sign, and as Troy walked away he nodded. Well, all of us has a story of a ballplayer who said he’d come back but didn’t. Keep that in mind for a few minutes.
Somewhere in here, Crotchety Old Usher #1 comes down and checks us for tickets. God, was I glad I paid $30 for a first-level ticket because unlike at the Bee Game, tickets were actively being checked both in the seats and at the top of the aisles. We separated and were off to our own ticketed seats–I sat on the end of the third-base line, Jen was in right field. The security guard I had been talking to told me that Crotchety Old Usher #1 wouldn’t come back, so I took off my jersey (I had a Matt Holliday shirt underneath, so I had essentially changed my outfit) and snuck back to “my” seat. At this point, the (my brother-in-law’s) camera fell on the ground and got mashed in the front. It wouldn’t turn on and I called my mom almost in tears. She talked me off my mental ledge and later, Courtney easily fixed it (although the lens still doesn’t retract all the way), and I sat down to chat with the security guard and the guys in my section. The boys came out to stretch and we shouted for Troy, because that’s what we, as fans, do, right? We shout for our boys.
ANYWAY, after the National Anthem, I held up my jersey like a flag with the back to him and shouted for him again. I draped my jersey over the blue padded railing visible in the above picture and he PUT HIS GLOVE DOWN ON MY JERSEY. Maybe you didn’t hear me. HE PUT HIS GAME-USED GLOVE ON MY OWN PERSONAL AUTHENTIC JERSEY. I DIED. Ask the Angels fans next to me. Then he looked at Troy Fan #2 and said, very calmly, something to the tune of “Man, next time I tell you I’m coming back, you don’t have to keep shouting at me. I’m coming back.” I wish I had been paying better attention to what Troy Fan #2 said in return, but I didn’t. Troy signed my jersey, PATTED IT, picked up HIS GLOVE, and went on his way.
Troy didn’t say it angrily. I’ve never seen Troy use anything except one single tone of voice–he’s always very calm and level. Hardly any inflection, no facial expression. Just words. He’s articulate and smart, and very level-headed when it comes to speaking. Now, as we know, he can make a mess of his hand when he angrily bashes a bat on the ground, and he smiled when I asked to take a picture with him, but usually he’s nothing less than zen. But in any case, calm or not, I wasn’t sure whether to be frustrated or sympathetic.
Which is why I’m going to write an open letter to Troy and all ballplayers. That will be my next entry, and I’ll link to it here when I’m done. (eta: here it is.)
After this, I met a nice young man next to me who recently graduated from Mines, and we talked a bit. I whipped out my baseball knowledge to impress (and my hyperness to frighten) some guys sitting on the other side of me, and then someone came to sit in my seat so I had to go to my ticketed spot, where I promptly had popcorn thrown on me by a guy in my row who was half joking. I was not taking any more of that, and I really didn’t want butter on my jersey, and the rest of the fans were heckling and yelling at me anyway, so I called Jen. We met at the top of the aisle and stood behind third base until the eighth because THE USHERS WERE STILL CHECKING TICKETS.
Seats at Petco on the first concourse are split into two halves–top and bottom. The top half was empty all the way around the stadium, and yet when a couple came to sit in the TOP ROW of the TOP HALF, Crotchety Old Usher #2 asked them for their
tickets. IN THE TOP OF THE EIGHTH INNING. I was dumbfounded.
At some point during that inning, I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around. A man in a retro blue/orange Padres jersey and his wife held out two tickets to me and Jen and the man said, “How would you like to sit behind home plate?” I screamed. Or at least, I did internally. Then I hugged him and Jen okayed it with Courtney, who isn’t particularly into baseball, and we took off for our new seats.
OH MY GOD, y’all. We found row 22 and decided we could go down to row 2 instead (of the top half) and sit in a nearly empty row. Wouldn’t you know it, an usher came to ticket us. He looked and said, “Ladies, your seats are down here.” DOWN. As in, WE WERE MOVED CLOSER TO THE FIELD. Oh my goodness, me oh my. We were sitting in a wheelchair row and RIGHT BEHIND HOME PLATE. I have never had such good seats in my whole entire life. Admittedly, it was only for an inning, and by that point we were losing, but holy cannoli on a stick made of holiness. And I’ve never even said that before. I made it up specifically for this occasion.
Once Troy came up to bat as the final out of the game for us, Jen and I started crazily doing the Tulo chant (which, in case you don’t know it, is clap clap clapclapclap, clapclapclapclap TU-LO!, and I was doing it the whole game, and Meg said she heard us screaming for Hawper too, and I verified both by rewatching the FSNRM broadcast) and my hands turned red and I’ve lost most of my voice from it. Well, this crazy drunk lady was just absolutely sloshed off her @$$, which is weird because she was probably in her late fifties or early sixties. She was yelling “SHUT UP!” and actually stood up from her seat and advanced a few steps towards me to tell me to shut up and that Tulo sucks.
Here’s the best part, and why Jen and I left cracking up. We did the chant until he struck out, and when he did, she ran at me and put her hands and face up in my face, literally maybe five inches away. “TULO SUCKS! TOO BAD!” and stuck her tongue out at me. It was all I could do not to pass out from laughing. She was there with some little old man in a wheelchair and they left. A lot of Padres fans booed me or told me that the Rockies sucked as they passed me and Jen taking pictures in front of the emptying field, and I looked one in the eye and said, “Nothing you can say about Troy will ever make me love him any less. I will always completely adore him.” And the guy looked surprised and said, “I respect that.” And I was just like, if you respect that, shut the heII up! WTF?
I was denouncing all Padres fans when an adorable blonde usher came up to us with a big smile on her face. She asked us if we wanted her to take our picture together, and of course we did, and then we told her about the nice guy who gave us the tickets. Apparently he’s a season ticket holder and when he and his wife left for the evening, they told her they were going to give the tickets to a Rockies fan. We both asked the usher to give the man and his wife our thanks and left feeling redeemed.
Then we met up with Kaybee and Hyun Young outside and took the first picture in this entry as sort of a tribute to Kaybee’s profile picture on her blog. I think it turned out well, don’t you? Then we parted ways.
Totals for the night:
– two autographs
– one somewhat angry ballplayer
– one cute Mines grad
– two crotchety old ushers
– one super nice usher
– two nice season ticket holders
– eight nice people
– four amazing bloggers
– when I said I was writing an open letter, I was not joking. So if you have any “ballplayers being rude/mean/not keeping their word” stories, please email them to me.
– I love my family for taking all these treks for me.
– at some point during the game, we called Tom and left him a very loud voicemail. We wish you had been there, man 🙂
– I don’t have energy for more and I know you don’t have patience for more.
So you may or may not have known that I went to Petco (or PETCO, but that looks dumb) Park last Thursday, July 2. Well, I did. And Jen was there too. And… it was a very interesting day.
I started out by the players’ entrance in hopes of acquiring autographs. By the way, if you’re going to do that, please have no reservations about feeling absolutely creepy. Because wow, I felt so stalkerish hanging out there.
It was weird. We saw big Escalades drive up, visiting players in taxis, new Lexuses with the paper plates indicating their freshness from the Lexus plant. We saw one player pull up with his wife in the passenger seat, and then saw her leave a few minutes later. If I were married to a ballplayer, say, Tulo, I would want to be there for all of his games to support him, plus, I love baseball anyway. But this player maybe has kids at home that his wife needed to pick up or take care of, since it was 9:30 in the morning anyway.
The one sighting that made me the happiest was David Eckstein. He drove up in his little fuel-efficient sedan, waved, and went inside. Three minutes later, he popped back out and chatted and signed and took pictures for as long as we wanted. I also got some encounters with other important, well-dressed men, but you’ll have to go to my Flickr to see those because I haven’t got the patience to deal with Moveable Type right now. I’ve got pictures of the bee swarm, the park itself, the skyline… one picture I have to put up right now is the “rammycackle” picture, because I’m begging for help. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? They put it up randomly in the home half of the second and I have had no luck whatsoever attempting to decipher it. Padres fans, help me!
The Astros won, despite the swarm that took over the outfield and a ballgirl’s jacket. Petco looks a lot smaller in person than it does on TV, but we had a ton of fun and it’s extremely beautiful. I didn’t get sunburned like I did at Dodger Stadium, and my arms are actually turning tan instead of crimson. A great time was had by all, and then it was time for the drive back to LA.
In other news…
I’ve never been a big All-Star Game follower or voter. I mean, yeah, I watch it and I get into it, but you won’t catch me submitting hundreds of votes like the people I met at Minute Maid who take boxes of ballots and punch them during the game. I become particularly frustrated with the National League because players who are not all-stars (Kosuke Fukudome, for example, last year) are voted in by players who vote for popularity and not for good players, which leads to disappointing performance by the NL. However, this year I have been stunned by the sheer talent of the National League roster and while I don’t want to jinx us, I feel better about our chances.
Most importantly #1, Manny Ramírez was not voted in. Thank God.
Most importantly #2, HAWPER AND MARQUIS. Not only does Hawper have the fourth-highest (at last check) batting average in the NL, but he’s also a spectacular outfielder. Jason Marquis is now in a league of his own as the only pitcher in the Major Leagues with eleven wins to his name. Way to go, Jason and Hawper. Y’all deserve it.
Also, Tim Lincecum. Who I absolutely love and/or adore.
– If everything goes exactly to plan, I’ll be in San Diego for the game on July 18th against the Rockies. However, this plan depends on circumstances beyond my personal control, so for now I can only hope. I should know by tomorrow if I’m staying or going, and if I’m not staying I go back home on Thursday.
– I’m going to NYC, hopefully sometime before I leave for school. Hopefully ASAP, but I’d also like to see the Mets and Yankees play, so I’m trying to find a weekend when they’re both home.
– The weekend I get up to school, August 21-23, the Rox are in town and I’d like to have an early birthday celebration by going to one of the games. I’d like anybody who’s in town to come, so please think about that. It will probably be the 21st, but if that weekend doesn’t work, I’ll plan for it later in September. My birthday is August 30th but they’re in San Fran that weekend.
– Also, if I stay here for that Padres/Rox game, I will probably do some extra traveling, so stay tuned for further updates. I also might have some exciting news to announce in the next few days but then again, it might not happen. We’ll see.
– My blog titles suck lately. I apologize.