Braving a Braves Game

I have no interest in sports. I don't understand humans' deep fascination with them, except among the participating athletes. I'd much rather join Oprah's Book Club, put salve on my creepy toenail, or belly-flop into most anything besides those frittering wastes of time and money.

In nearly 25 years of marriage, I've endured three or four baseball games, all to please others. One occurred Sunday, when my wife and I attended the Braves vs. Marlins game in Atlanta's Turner Field with her mother and brother. I love these people and would follow them anywhere until the divorce is final.

I accepted the invitation because the lure of $200 in free tickets and parking privileges does have its appeal. Throw in the enticing promise of public displays of drunkenness and I'm there.

I must admit I did enjoy a nice afternoon in the breezy stadium. I spent the duration watching the crowd and surroundings, in lieu of the game. I realized long ago, sporting events are akin to a visit to an aquarium or to the zoo, so I treated this excursion as such, eyeballing the 48,000 caged specimens. Being on my best behavior, I did not feed the animals.

Here are my memories of the day.

Memory #1: Although we left our house three hours before the first pitch, a numbing traffic jam caused us to miss the entire first inning of the game. Things were looking up for Mikey!

Memory #2: Tailgate Parties. My understanding had been these get-togethers were conducted before and after sporting contests to elongate the occasions. Nope, there were people who arrived at the parking lots from great distances with no intention of entering the stadium. Groups of folks who had transported lawn furniture, beer coolers, meat lockers, and outdoor grills were congregated among SUVs and disheveled Pontiacs, happily listening via radios to the action out of view across the street.

Frankly, these swingers are among the craziest Earthlings I've ever encountered, even more psychotic than those nerds who live in the "Star Wars" ticket lines for weeks on end, and anyone who likes anchovies or the forthcoming, new Tab.

Psssst ... you can do that at home!

Memory #3: A small serving of peanuts costs six dollars -- and the majority of the content are shells!

Memory #4: A bag of cotton candy containing, perhaps, two handfuls of cleverly disguised air: five dollars!

Memory #5: The foot-long hotdogs may be 12-inches in length, but they were less than plump, narrow in diameter. Dachshund, I suspect.

Memory #6: I noticed hundreds of fans exit the game starting at the top of the eighth inning, many having paid upwards of $50 per seat. I don't understand people who go to an event and then don't see it. Maybe they had a glamorous tailgate party to attend.

Memory #7: The men's room was nicely furnished with urinals. What the--?

I felt nostalgic for the old days at the ballpark, when guys would line up shoulder to shoulder, eyes forward, and enjoy a communal pee on the wall, streams of steamy urine drizzling down cinderblocks into the floor trough below. THAT was being a man!

Psssst ... you can do that at home.

Next: Part 2: TV or Not TV

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