Play Ball

“Fernando Mania”, it was known as. Fernando Valenzuela took Los Angeles by storm in the early 80’s. He won Rookie of the Year, the Cy Young award for best pitcher, Sliver Slugger award for best hitting pitcher, and a world series ring, all in the same year, 1981. Wow!

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Growing up, I enjoyed playing baseball. I found football to be too rough, and I did like basketball, but I always enjoyed baseball more. Along with change, Spring brings baseball. Spring is here.

Yesterday my wife and I went to a Baltimore Oriole’s game. It was clear skies and the temperature was in the mid 70’s, perfect. I noticed several things at the game.

1. Damn! People have definitely been sun deprived, including me. I don’t know if it is because the sun was bright and people were wearing thin t-shirts, but the pale look was in full effect. Get your tan on people. I know I will.

2. I missed the day in college, community college, when they taught about wearing flip-flops with everything, and I do mean everything, as a fashion statement. Wearing a jersey and shorts, flip-flops are fine. Wearing jeans and a t-shirt, flip-flops are fine. Everywhere I looked, flip-flops, flip-flops, flip-flops. Even some of the baseball players were playing, and running the bases in “flops dude”, just kidding.

I don’t mind flip-flops. What I do mind is the Fred Flintstone heels and toes that hang out of either end of some of the flip-flops. Ladies, get a pedicure if you’re going to wear (insert your best California surfer voice here) “your awesome flops dude”, especially if you are the type to hang your feet over the empty seat in front of you at an outdoor sporting event, like if you’re at the beach or something. If you have raggedy toes and heels, everyone can see them, including,  for you single ladies, potential suitors.

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And to my compadres, yes I am talking to the men who on the first warm day of Spring rummage through the closet like a child looking for a lost favorite toy, and bust out the flip-flops. Remember, it has been a long winter. Your toes, feet, and heels have been hibernating along with the bears and squirrels. Your feet might be beat up. I will get straight to the point. Cut your toe nails and lotion up your feet. Go from ashy to classy. You might want to soak them first. If you’re single, the ladies will appreciate clean feet. Am I right ladies? If you’re in a relationship, your significant other will appreciate your efforts too, trust me.

Oh, before I forget. If I am walking behind you and it looks like your flip-flops have a flat tire because one side is worn down, you need new flip-flops. Your posture will also thank you for it.

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3. People will cook up anything, and humans will eat it. A man in the row in front of me went to get some food. When he came back, I noticed he got 2 hot dogs, and 2 orders of fries. “Plain hot dogs” I thought. Boy was I wrong.

From about 5 rows behind me someone yelled “hey, is that crab meat on those hot dogs?” to the man with his 2 hot dogs and fries in front of me. “Yes” was the response. But wait, it gets better. The man with the 2 hot dogs continued “There is also macaroni and cheese under the crab meat”. What the hell did he just say!

Let me get this right. The good old days of just getting a hot dog with basic toppings at a baseball game are not enough, and maybe gone. Now we have to use sea-food and pasta, in the form of crab meat and macaroni and cheese, as toppings. What’s next, pizza with cheese stuffed in the crust, because cheese simply on top of a pizza isn’t enough? Oh yeah, they make that already.

crab meat hot dog

Then I really though about it. The Baltimore hot dog concoction was impressive, but not as impressive as the dude about 5 rows behind me who saw or smelled the hot dogs from a distance, like a hungry primate. I realized 3 things about him. He has great vision, one hell of a nose, and was really hungry.

Back to the game.

Sights and sounds of the ball park called, so we walked around the stadium. There is a section where they have statues of Hall of Fame players that played for the Orioles. Everyone was taking pictures with the Cal Ripken Jr. statue, so I decided to be different and take a picture with a brotha, Eddie Murray. Eddie Murray played for the O’s from 1977-1988, then he played a few years for my favorite team, the L.A. Dodgers. His nick name was “Steady Eddie” because of his consistency.

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I’m the dude in the blue. The statue is behind me. Duh…

We did get to see a home run. Damn, it traveled far.

I came home and picked up my customized wooden bat that I got as a Christmas gift from my good friend B.C. The bat is an actual Louisville Slugger, like the pros use, with my name engraved on it. Thanks B.C. I took a few swings and realized, once again, that to hit a baseball over 300 hundred feet with a wooden bat takes talent. Just go check out the minor leagues. It is littered with athletes who use to hit “bombs”, home-runs, in high school and college with aluminum bats, but just can’t get to the big show because of those darn wooden Louisville Sluggers.

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My wooden baseball bat.

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For those of you that are curious, no I did not try the hot dog topped with ocean food, pasta, and cheese. I went old school. After the game, we went to the Baltimore Harbor and I had a bacon-avocado cheeseburger with fries. I washed it all down with a pitcher of water. And then my wife and I found a secluded area and we did one of our favorite activities, get your head out of the gutter, we people watched.

I should stop judging hot dog toppings because bacon and avocado on a burger is pretty wild too.

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