Observations on a Baseball Game from a Non-sporty American
Section 214, seat number 5 at the Kaufman Stadium, Kansas City in July for a game between the Kansas Royals versus the Baltimore Orioles.
We are sitting in the second to last row from the top. I smell hot dogs and beer. Immediately the sweating begins. My butt is sweating on this plastic seat and sticking to it. Everyone around me is sweating too, they are ostensibly here of their own free will. People begin clapping in unison at specific times to recorded musical ditties. I am surrounded by white people. Many of them are fat and sunburned, many dressed in blue.
In front of me sits a little blond girl, probably not more than five or six years old with a hot, red, face, and she appears to be less than enthused about being here, perhaps as confused as I am by the sensory overload. The sun sets and the big lights come on overhead illuminating the entire stadium, which is not very full only about 5,000 spectators; we all keep sweating, pant soaking through, underarm circles widening. I’m surprised not to see anyone selling peanuts. Isn’t that what happens here? The grass on the field is superbly, eerily green. No Coke products here I notice, only Pepsi ads on all the surfaces and omnipresent screens.
I left the group I was with to get a frozen custard — in retrospect the highlight of the game — and when I came back they are moving to the VIP section, a real upgrade they assure me, to a better area closer to the action. This honor was bestowed upon us because some members of our party had military ID cards. Soldiers are expected to like sports. I often tried to learn, but could not keep up the charade. I once sat through two entire college basketball games at a bar in order to impress a fellow soldier. I ended up drinking too much beer, and my date was not impressed. He was busy watching the game.
As we walked down to our new seating section, we had a group photo taken with a mascot, some sort of animal — I could not for the life of me identify which fluffy being it was meant to be.
At the seventh inning — an eternity — everyone got up to stretch, a ritual familiar to everyone but myself. I am not convinced of the superiority of this pastime.
This time though, I did not drink beer. I was resigned to sober observation.