Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Not Exactly the Clinch I Was Anticipating

Sometimes Lady Luck smiles upon you when you least expect it.  In a very quick turn of events on Monday, I learned that Sitcom Kelly’s mom was able to get her company’s seats for the Orioles game on Tuesday.  And because the O’s won on Monday, a win Tuesday would clinch the American League East division title for the first time since 1997, and the first time in their home park since 1968.

Rather than going to our usual pre-game bar, The Bullpen, we went to our regular happy hour spot near my office building.  Sitcom Kelly was tired of eating nothing but nachos and fries, which was the only meat-free fare they had there. 

Naturally, she got nachos anyway.  Frankly, I stopped trying to understand her ways.

But for me, I got their game-day special, The Oriole Dog… a large dog with mac & cheese, and crab.  Man, that was good.  I wish I had taken a picture, but as you might guess, the window of opportunity was rather small.  Having devoured the dog, I helped Sitcom Kelly out with her nachos.  Had to be careful not to have too many jalapeños though.

As you may recall from prior posts, Sitcom Mom’s seats are primo; 10 rows back, directly behind home plate.

Our view for the night.

Only downside is the netting, which makes the players look like they’re in some kind of zoo exhibit.  But on the upside; there were no screaming foul balls smashing into our faces.

I was nervous about the Orioles starting pitcher, Ubaldo Jimenez.  He was a high priced free agent signing this winter, but has been generally atrocious all year.  And he didn’t give me much confidence as he walked four in his first couple of innings.  Luckily, he settled down and only gave up one run.

A three-run homer by Steve Pearce in the first inning helped set my mind at ease, as the O’s jumped out to a lead, which they would never relinquish.

Steve Pearce being congratulated by Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis, after his 3-run jack.

As the game went on, and the Orioles gradually padded their lead up to 8-2, I could feel a subtle change occurring, something I could feel in my gut.  No, it wasn’t the impending celebration of 17 years’ worth of losing coming to an end.  It was literally something happening in my gut.  Sometimes, Lady Luck can be a fickle bitch.  Who knew both the Orioles and I would erupt with the runs?

I was getting sharp pains that came and went, accompanied by lots of “soap-bubble gurgling.”  By the 5th or 6th inning, I began to suspect that something I ate was about to cause me some distress.  I don’t know if it was the jalapeños or the crabby mac dog, but something was about to make me lose containment.  It felt like I was trying to process a bowl full of ground glass.

About the 7th inning, I realize that I was going to have to do something drastic; something I’ve always tried my best to avoid… sitting down in a stall in a crowded public restroom. 

I tried to get in there while the game was going on, but it was fairly well occupied nevertheless.  When someone opened the door to the stall I was lined up behind, I got a peek inside… Ew.  No, I NOT going in there.

I quickly jumped into a urinal line and made a quick pee, so as not to look like a restroom lurker.  Then when I left through the restroom exit, I circled back into the entrance and ducked into a different stall.  It still required some cleanup, but it was marginal.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t produce what I was hoping to, but at least I “took a little off the top.”  I hoped that would get me through the rest of the night.  But alas…

As the game wound down, the vibe in the ballpark was electric; like the soul-crushing effects of years of losing baseball seeking to break free.  With a six-run lead, it seemed like the game was a done deal.  They just needed another couple of outs.

I tried my best to hold my camera steady as I shot video of the last batter, but just as surely as I knew the O’s would win, I knew I’d have to take another stab at hitting the bathroom.  I could barely stand; there was no way I would survive the subway ride home, let alone the penguin-walk I’d have to take just to get to the station.

The last batter grounded out to first, which commenced the big celebration.  It was my first time attending such an event, (other than Super Bowl XL), and it was really something special.

Think these moments don’t mean anything to jaded, high-priced professional athletes?  That’s slugger Nelson Cruz, with a GoPro camera duct taped to his hat.

As the O’s retreated to their clubhouse, I indicated to Sitcom Kelly that A) we really needed to go because B) I really needed to “go.”  It was too bad because after the players champagne celebration, they came back out on the field to celebrate with the fans, most of whom were still there.

Meanwhile, I had to take another crack at using the stall.  Now, for a guy who never uses a public stall unless the whole restroom is empty, having to go with a whole crowd in there was somewhat traumatic.  However, an unexpected upside was that all the celebration and commotion provided a nice masking effect of my own little calamity.  This time around, it was a full-on jailbreak.  Before I went in, I should have put a sign on the stall door that said, “Don’t even line up. You don’t want any part of this.”

As I left, I hoped I’d taken care of the problem, but I swear, I didn’t get 3 steps away from the restroom when the bubbles returned.  I met up with Sitcom Kelly, and we walked directly to the very next restroom so I could repeat the process.  At least that time, she was close enough to the right field flag court that she could get some shots of the players lapping the field.

Darren O’Day, relief pitcher and next candidate for Sitcom Kelly’s Silence of the Lambs pit.

The subway ride was uneventful, although I chose to stand the whole way.  Sitting down made the top of my jeans dig into my gut, which was not helpful at all.  The troops began to amass along the border again, as I drove home from the station.  Needless to say, I drove “briskly.”  Any officer attempting to give me a ticket was going to have to chase me right into my bathroom.

I made it without a moment to spare, but at least I was on home court.

So, I know what you’re thinking.  What are the mojo considerations of all this?  If you go to a playoff game, would you still go to the local bar and get an Orioles Dog, knowing your team would win but you’d get a case of the screamin’ meamies? 

The answer is, “Oh hell no.  I might take one for the team, but not four.”  They’re on their own, next time.

Unless, of course, the real culprit was the ham sandwich I had for lunch…

Looks like I better start a new spreadsheet…

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