Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fan Unappreciation Day

For a number of years, I have held a very small share of season tickets to St. Louis Cardinals baseball with a group of friends. We have good, cheap seats in the 3rd row of the left field bleachers. It was from that glorious site that I was fortunate enough to watch Adam Wainwright strike out Brandon Inge for the final out of the 2006 World Series. But that's another story.

This post is the recounting of a recent Friday night game against the Cincinnati Reds. Upon arriving before the first inning, I noticed that Bleacher Bob wasn't there. Bob is an older gentleman, and about as devout a fan as you'll find. Bob has season tickets for one bleacher seat in row 4, a few seats to our left. I struggle to make it to 5-10 games a year these days. Bob attends every single one. Although he's a pretty reserved man, his love of the game is easy to see, and he's quick with the high fives after a deserving play.

So after some inquiring, we found out that Bleacher Bob's absence was due to his scheduled appearance on the jumbo-tron in the mid-4th inning. This is typically the time when they play something like a "Let's Make a Deal" with a fan. A fan gets 3 trivia questions in increasing difficulty. The difficulty of the first question is something akin to "What is Albert Pujols' first name?" The second question is harder. If they get it right, they can walk away with a prize (usually something like $50), or go for whatever lies in the case held by "That One Guy"'s lovely assistant. The contents of the case can range from season tickets to Cardinals' gear. Season tix seemed like the obvious prize for Bob.

So the 4th inning rolls along and the Cards' #1 fan is up there with a big grin on his face. I look past his right shoulder and who do I see but my good friend Billy. As most of you who read this blog know, Billy once beat the game of Trivial Pursuit at a game of Trivial Pursuit. Suffice to say, he's got a knack for both useful and useless facts. As the contestants of this game are allowed to lean on friends for support, Bleacher Bob was a shoe in for victory.

The first question was so dumb I can't even remember it. Bob got it on his own.

The second question was "What is the capital of Ohio?". Billy whispered "Columbus" in Bob's ear. Correct. At this point, Bob was presented with the option of taking a certain prize (can't remember exactly what it was), or going for the case. Bob pointed at the case and replied, "I want what's in there."

The third question was "Who hit the last home run in the old Busch Stadium?". Billy supplied Bob with "Chris Duncan". Correct again! "That One Guy" now had the pleasure of opening the case to reveal Bob's prize...

5 coupons each good for one Hardee's Thickburger.

Bob was a good sport and smiled and clapped. He should have punched that guy in the face. You bring a perennial season-ticket holder up to compete for a prize, a guy who probably has worked very hard his whole life to afford himself the luxury of buying season tickets to your event, and he gets 5 Thickburgers?

I'm not sure who's responsible for that, but that person should be fired.

p.s. Ballpark food: Nachos or a Hot Dog?


Nicole said...

Well, that does seem ridiculous about Bleacher Bob and I think you guys should send an email to Bernie Miklasz or whoever the sports guy is and complain. Bleacher Bob is probably a sports page reader and at least he'll feel the solidarity.

I would always have voted for hot dogs over nachos, until one fateful baseball game, 7 1/2 months pregnant with Jack. Matt and I sat in the nosebleeds with Al and Erin. If memory serves, we were actually in the TOP row, but I could be conflating a few trips to the ballpark.

The game was entertaining enough, but I'd imagine those watching me waddle up and down to the bathroom ever 1.5 - 2 innings found that pretty amusing too. Will she wipe out or won't she?

Anyway, somehow we ended up sitting directly over a hot dog vendor, the ones with the grilled onions that waft up and up and up and make a pregnant woman feel as sick as she ever has. Since then I have moved my allegiance to the nacho side. Light on the jalapenos, though.

Roller said...

I have since talked to Billy, who said that the group was treated to seats in the Home Run box, or something like that. So I'll have to have him weigh in on how much Bob was screwed.

I'm a Hot Dog man in the first inning, and a Nachos (with extra peppers) in the 6th. Which isn't to say that I always get both, or even one, but the decision on which item is strongly correlated with the inning.

If I had to choose one, it would have to be the Nachos. The greatest part about both of those items is that they make you feel so good the next day!!!

Nicole said...

Hey Matt,
If all the other readers keep maintaining radio silence on this blog, I think I may start treating it as an avenue for telling you little anecdotes about our kids and filling you in about the details of our days and plans for laundry doing over the weekend.

If somebody/bodies take that as a threat and start doing some commenting and posting, so be it. . . First installment of "what Jack and Grace ate for breakfast today" begins on 9/17. . .


Billy Tomber said...

As Roller alluded, when one is picked to go on this promotion, s/he is given 4 free tickets to the Homer's Landing section of the rightfiled bleachers complete with all-you-can food buffet and beer. I state that that - four $60 tickets with food/beer incl. - is the true prize. I agree that a loyal fan and ballpark celebrity like Bleacher Bob deserves a bigger prize, but he didn't gripe. Be sure that I have signed up for the contest each park visit since and will have BB on my team when picked.

To answer your opinion query - the Homer's Landing has both! I tried to eat my height in footlong hot dogs but failed to get up to my shoulders. Next time!

By the way, the answer to your sample easy question may well surprise you ...
Albert Pujols's first name?

Roller said...

That I unknowingly lobbed Billy a somewhat difficult (tricky) trivia question is such a great epilogue to this story...

So Nik, I guess Billy has staved off stories of "spaghetti-faced" Gracie and "Yife Cereal" Jack.

For now.

Mark said...

Nachos....Unless I'm near the footlong coneys guy.

Roller said...

Nice one, Markus. The everything dogs at Wrigley are a good signature.

Ryan said...

I like them both, but nachos.

Nachos at the ballpark are special. I am proud to say I held the most-jalapenos-on-a-single-chip record in Busch-II for at least more than an inning, until it was crushed by either Geno or Al.

Jose! Wow... only Billy...

bleacherbobsson said...

I am bleacher bob's son...Rob... I've met you Billy... and your mother before there at the ballpark... I want everyone to know that Dad enjoyed tonight... the last night of 2009 at the ballpark... he felt like HE was the reason everyone was there... Thank you to all!!!! Lets all hope that my Dad, Bleacher Bob makes it to next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO CARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Roller said...

Thanks for passing along the info, bb's son! Glad to hear Bob was able to make the game. Too bad the Cards couldn't bring home a winner.

We'll definitely keep Bob in our thoughts and prayers.