At the ballgame

Grades officially posted yesterday, another semester in the book! 
It was a beautiful night to celebrate endings and beginnings out at the old ballgame, at the new ballpark. The threat of harsh weather lifted, a lovely wispy-clouded pinkish sunset dabbed the sky, and a small but eager crowd (held down by that earlier threat) settled in for what William Carlos Williams called a sporting crowd’s delightful “spirit of uselessness.”
And the evening unfolded in just that spirit, up until sometime in the middle innings when the leather-lunged moron in our section apparently imbibed his tipping-point swallow of expensive cheap beer. (There’s also expensive craft beer to be had at First Tennessee Park. I recommend the Turtle Anarchy Red, to complement the “Band Box” Quinoa salad, hummus veggie plate, or -traditionalist that I am -the  loaded nachos.)
Everyone who’s been to many games at all has encountered this guy, who isn’t always an obnoxious boor. 

There really is a fine art of hecking. But “the vast majority of hecklers, to borrow their term, suck at it. The truly gifted ones—those talented few who understand the rules, the etiquette and the point—are as rare as a .300 hitter and, for my money, just as enjoyable to watch.”

Sometimes, it’s true, The Heckler can be entertaining and amusing. Last night he was not. He just about ruined my evening and, to judge by some of the many expressions of disgust and annoyance I saw, also that of others in section #111. Especially the dad and his little boy two rows in front of us. If my friend hadn’t been there to join me in amusing ourselves by  quietly berating TH, I might have had to relocate far away – maybe to the left field berm, from our choice location behind the plate. 
As it happened, we decided not to stick around for bonus innings when the score remained knotted at two, after nine. I could not have listened to the oaf for even another minute. 
The home team collapsed in the tenth. Honestly, it gave me considerable satisfaction to think of TH going home a literal as well as figurative loser.
Mike Matheny, the Cardinals’ manager who’s issued a manifesto to youth league parents, says kids want their parents to be quiet in the stands. If your read, Heckler, put that on your summer reading list. If you don’t shut up, some of us are going to find out where you work and we’re coming over to holler at you. “You suck.”
 
I woke up this morning with almost a feeling of guilt-by-association, merely for having sat in the same section as TH. The spirit of uselessness is not a delight, when it forces you silently to absorb such verbal invective as though it were your own.

But it wasn’t. It’s a a new day, it’ll be a new ballgame. Delight always returns.

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