bunt sign

Saturday, January 13, 2001

I had every reason to be cheerful yesterday. The sun shone, the sky was blue, and the air was warm. The mud even started to dry up. I should have been on top of the world.

For some reason I walked around all afternoon with a mantle of melancholy draped over me. I tried to fight it off, tried to tell myself to buck up, and that everything is beautiful, all is groovy.

I'm desperately trying to ignore the fact that the cold symptoms (or whatever they are) are creeping back into my life. But I couldn't help letting the realization penetrate what should have been a good mood. I can pop Ricola like an addict for only so long before I have to admit that I have another sore throat. Same throat, that is, but sore again.

Last night, almost without thinking about it, I took Nyquil. This morning, after a full night's drug-induced stupor, I feel better. We'll see how long that lasts. It helps that the sun is shining again. We'll see how long that lasts, too.

During the holidays, when we were all together so often, John, Eric, David and I decided we would form a consortium (well, a sort of consortium) and go in together to buy a pair of season tickets for the Giants' upcoming baseball season. We made plans for how we would split the tickets, and we hoped to get maybe two more people to join us. We checked the team's website, and found out how much money we would need. The site said that a two hundred dollar deposit would be required.

Then, after the long holiday weekend we called to put down our deposit and get the details. It turns out the deposit will get us on the waiting list. There are already 2,000 names on the waiting list, and the team doesn't expect any of last year's season ticket holders to give up their seats. In other words, it wasn't going to happen for us.

Well, this was deflating and disappointing. Here we are, looking forward to seeing at least fourteen games each live at the ballpark, and now we weren't sure we'd be going to any.

Last season, we went to several games on bus trips. The travel companies bought group tickets, which are more readily available, and we paid premium prices, more than double the ticket value, to be taken to the back door of the ballpark. Eric was also able to buy tickets to a few games when individual seats went on sale, and we took the ferry to those.

This year we'd hoped to have an easier time scoring tickets. We'd had a chance to get on several bus trips, but we turned it down, thinking we would own our own tickets to all the games. When that didn't work out, we started scrambling for whatever tickets are available for this season.

Individual seats are not on sale yet, but some of the bus trips still had openings. We're paying heavily for those, but at least we will be at Pacific Bell Park a half-dozen or so times. Whatever other tickets come our way as the season goes on will be considered a boon, a bonus, a beneficence.

And why all this frenzied activity? We've discovered, over the years, that baseball is the perfect family sport. We can enjoy the games, but the nature of the games allows us to enjoy each other at the same time. You can know a little or a lot about baseball, and still relish the shared experience it gives you. You only have to enjoy the company, the sunshine, and being with forty thousand people whose seats all face the same focal point.

And it's a different kind of experience depending on the mix of people in the group. Conversation can start with the game on the field and go as far as you let it. We sometimes find it amusing to entertain the people in the rows in front of us with our banter. That depends on who's sitting there. One thing we can count on is that at some point in the game, something will happen that we've never seen before. That never fails us.

With spring training barely a month away, I'm getting in that mindset again. A day at the ballpark with someone you can stand to spend a day with (which is why I don't go with just anyone) is a day to be tucked away in the memory album and brought out again in leaner times, like during a rainy week in mid January.

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All I hear is that lonesome sound
The hounds of winter
They harry me down