Going to a White Sox game, at any opposing ball park, is a treat. I’ve only been to Camden Yards in Baltimore, AT&T Park in San Francisco, and the older stadiums in Philadelphia, Cleveland (1959), Anaheim, Detroit, and Milwaukee.
It’s fabulous seeing all the White Sox jerseys on fans like myself. These last few days, I’ve been in DC, visiting my son, Rafael. Seeing jerseys with the names of Fisk, Jenks, Crede, and Konerko gives me permission to walk up to them and talk “Chicago sports,’ including the Blackhawks chances for another Cup, the mutual puzzlement of Derrick Rose’s return, and still commiserating the loss of Buehrle and A.J.
But t least in game 2, with nearly 30, 000 fans in attendance, Rafael scrambled for a D. Wise foul ball, diving under seats after several bounces, retrieving his precious momento.
Given that fans in nearly every stadium I’ve been in, are allowed to follow their sports’ madness and express their emotional connection to their teams via a sheet over the outfield wall between innings, I spent a few hours making a Sox banner to hang over the LF wall in front of our first row seats.
I copied the “Sox” logo with a black Sharpie, and wrote, “Sox – Hit it Here!” I hoped we’d get at least one HR over the left field wall, just as we had during the first several games of the season.
So Rafael and I came an hour before the game, with a few White Sox players in left field, and held our banner proud over the LF wall.
Immediately, the NATS ‘ “FUN” police from the field came up to us and shouted that this was not allowed. I was shocked. All my hard work. All my effort. What IS this ballpark about? We're supposed to have fun, right?
I even emailed friends in White Sox management to look for our sign, and got an immediate positive response for my sheet sign. To my unsuspecting eye, Rafael even posted my work on his Facebook page earlier that day.
Hey folks – the DC ballpark “FUN” police won’t even let you walk up and back to your seat during an inning. I say “FUN,” because they hold up these “Stop-shaped” signs with the word “FUN” on them, but then put their hand in front of you, hold up their "FUN" sign, and literally prevent you from going forward - even walking into a section that is totally empty, in cheaper seats than ones you bought.
How many times have you wanted to view a game from a different direction, to watch a few pitches, plays, and fielders? We’re talking about going from first row LF to an empty last row in CF. The ‘FUN” police even stopped me from just watching the game standing up BEHIND the guard rail.
“Show me your ticket ma’am……move along please……go back to your seat, you can’t stand here!” Stand where, I’m thinking.? In the middle of frigging nowhere, in front of an empty section, with the wind chill dropping over 30 degrees since the game started? Really? You call this ‘Fun”? At a game that we're losing 6 - 3?
By now Rafael and his friends were laughing at the irony. We come for a baseball game to pass the time – our national pastime. Enjoy the game, no matter what. And I can’t even run to the bathroom during an inning, as the ‘FUN’ police hold up their sign and tell me to go back to my seat at the top of the stairs. Right.
After the game, the “FUN’ police are quickly moving us out of the stadium. By now, a deep chill had frozen my bones, notwithstanding the agony of an awful 7-4 defeat. So we hail a cab instead of taking the Metro subway.
Of course we engage in friendly conversation with the cabbie, and talk about all the “FUN” signs, rules, regulations, and my woes with my White Sox sheet sign. Well, that really gets the cabbie started in his Brooklyn accent, about all the rules and regulations that he has encountered, in every facet of living – and now driving, in our nation’s capital.
So as these 30-something people engage in conversation about living here, and the faint hope of Obama possibly throwing out the first pitch as a Sox fan, I take off my pink World Series 2005 Sox baseball hat. And my mind peacefully wanders to those October 2005 ballpark memories not to be forgotten. At least I have that.
And not a dead Billy Goat Head being delivered to MY ballpark. No “FUN” in that.