“La Enferma Dulce, El Cinturon, y Los Prismaticos”
This is the story of the joy of the liberated fan.
Last week, I, El Cinturon. travelled to Cape Cod with his son and his son’s friend and another friend, a Detroit Tigers fan. I met up with soxdetox and his daughters and his dad and stepmom. Although soxdetox and I have the Red Sox season tickets, I had not been to a Red Sox game all year. After my experience at PNC, I wasn’t really looking to go to sit among an angry bunch of drunks in overpriced seats watching a horrible constructed team. My Tigers fan friend asked to go last Monday, however, and I agreed to get tickets. I also arranged to meet my lady companion (sitting to my right with bag of peanuts), who would accompany us back to the Cape for the remainder of the week.
All went well, as we took the ferry in from P-town, met with my lady companion (let’s call her La Enferma Dulce) and drove to Fenway. We were running a little late, so I couldn’t find any of my usual free parking spots. We ended up paying what? $35? For parking at the Landmark Center on Brookline Ave. An inauspicious beginning to our trip.
I like to take advantage of the few small amenities at Fenway, so we three non-drinking adults signed up for the free small soft drink allowed for designated drivers. We were badgered to sign up for a 50/50 raffle, to join Kids’ Nation, and to buy various other mementos of our visit. It was easy to resist buying anything associated with a fourth place team under .500, so we moved along to our seats.
La Dulce and I sat in our usual seats, while I sent my Tigers fan friend to sit over in the next section with the two boys. When we got to row 12, there was a large woman and a man (apparently, her husband aka Los Prismaticos) sitting in the aisle seats. Not to worry, as I planned to snuggle up to La Dulce during the game, thus affording him the armrest and the opportunity to do the same with his wife.
I always bring a few beachballs from the dollar store to give my kid something to do during the game. Buchholz seemed to be pitching well, and Scherzer was matching him. Most of the fans seemed uncharacteristically apathetic about the game, or doing the wave, or really anything else, so he came over about the third inning to get some beachballs. I gave him the three I had and off he went to the adjacent section. The first two beachballs were a tremendous success. On a blustery night in Boston, one of the beachballs traveled all the way from centerfield to the alley between the bleachers and the reserved seats. After a moment or two when I feared it was lost, it popped up again in right field, until finally it ended up on the field behind the soon-to-be-out-for-the-season-for-punching-a-wall-hey-I-thought-PEDs-were-banned-and-even-if-you-are-using-them-you-have-zero-power-so-they-must-have-just-signed-you-for-your-Irish-sounding-name Ryan Sweeney. A security guy went out with play still live to fetch it because-what the heck?-these pitchers work so slow it won’t affect anything anyway.
On the last beachball, though, my kid launched it into the waiting arms of some hipster douche with a tightly manicured goatee, a Yooouk shirt, and dark socks under Converse hightops. He grabbed the beachball and crushed it in his mighty toothpick arms, instructing the crowd, “Pay attention the m*&^erf*&^ing game! It’s 2-2!” The fans, most of whom could not care less about their fourth place team, roundly and soundly booed him. As is the natural tendency of the narcissistic douche who lives in an Allston apartment with a platonic female friend (i.e., she won’t bone him), a guy who bones said friend, and an asexual artist roommate who works at 7/11, he promptly doffed his cap and took a bow, despite a clear understanding that the booing would continue and his lack of knowledge about any baseball beyond 2004. I must admit to some fatherly pride as my son yelled out to him, “That’s a hate crime, d-bag!”
Behind us sat some French Canadians who seemed to be having a great time. In front of us were a couple of self-proclaimed Cambridge computer geeks who were enjoying their Fenway bromance. All in all, it seemed like a fun crowd for a Monday night. La Dulce asked if we could get some hot dogs, so down we went to concessions to buy those $5 hot dogs and some peanuts, along with our free sodas. When we returned (respectfully between innings), Los Prismaticos moved aside to let us through.
I sat with our tray to get settled when out of the blue Los Prismaticos, his face flushed with rage, said, “Hey buddy, why don’t you give me some room and lean on your honey?” “Whaaa?” was my response. He repeated himself, this time louder and drawing the attention of my French Canadian friends. Now, I am not petite, but the wife of Los Prismaticos was, as I mentioned, a large woman. If you look at the picture, you can see her Vince Wilfork arm in the lower right, giving Los Prismaticos the business a little. So, I looked past him to his wife and said, “Seriously? I mean, you can’t be serious, right?” My lack of immediate compliance seemed to anger him further: “YES, SERIOUSLY….Move over and lean on your honey.” And on and on, leaning in closer and closer, clearly trying to intimidate El Cinturon Now, I haven’t been in a fight probably since high school, and I have no intention of being that guy at a stupid Red Sox game, especially with the lovely La Dulce. So I considered my options, and I suggested, “Well, if it is causing you a problem, why don’t you get an usher?” He dismissed this option, preferring instead to say that I was just being “rude” and not letting him watch the game. I might have mentioned that his wife, though large, was nice and good-natured, and she urged her husband to back off, noting that we had just sat back down and would undoubtedly make some room once we finished our hot dogs. Los Prismaticos spent most of the game ignoring his wife to stare intently at the players with his binoculars, as though somehow that would turn Mike Aviles into Nomar.
So LP and I sat in stony silence for the next half-inning. I confided to La Dulce that I had a resentment, and she said that she did, too. When I stood up at the half-inning, LP did, too, in an attempt to intimidate. LP’s wife looked over at me apologetically, and I said a silent prayer for her, too. I looked over to my son, who was having a great time with our Tigers fan friend and the various fans in their vicinity. LP’s tirade really put a damper on things…Despite my abandonment of the Red Sox, I had been enjoying my night at the ballpark. Why are these super-intense uber-fans ruining everything? What was I to do?
So I asked for a little inspiration and it hit me! I would use the Red Sox’ greed to my advantage in this situation. The Red Sox have hired photographers who walk around the ballpark taking pictures of you and your beloved in your trip to Fenway Park. The pictures are free, but you have to pay to get the actual photograph of you and your great-grandmother shipped to you. Clearly a scam, and one I have never fallen for. But there they were in Section 37…And I asked, “Hey can you get our picture?” The photographer thought I wanted to preserve my moment with La Dulce, who is clearly an ace to my long reliever (if you know what I mean). “No,” I said. “I want you to get one with this guy!,” pointing to Los Prismaticos. For the first time, LP did not know what to do, while I was all smiles. Although there was no game action, he thrust his binoculars angrily to his eyes, maybe to hide their white-hot rage. He was NOT going to be party to this attempt at détente. La Dulce was both amused and a little frightened, thinking that LP was going to bonk me on the head with his binoculars. My French Canadian friends obviously had the best laugh of all. LP’s wife laughed and appreciated the opportunity to relieve the tension. I let him know it was all in fun, but LP was having none of it.
“I’m not here to have fun. I’m here to watch the game.” With that statement, LP articulated everything that is wrong with the “Red Sox Nation” on his T-shirt. Within a couple of innings, he and his wife decided to leave. The rest of us enjoyed the night (La Dulce and I even got on the big screen-As you can see, I am very photogenic).
Let’s Go, Bucs!