Wednesday, July 28, 2004

bleachers II

To truly enjoy the bleacher seat experience, you can't pay full price for anything that day.

As I said (uh blogged?) earlier, dad would haggle us all in and that's where we learned.

The summer between my 8th and 9th grade, the summer of 1980, my brother was entering his senior year in high school. He had injured his knee and was, for the most part, laid up for the summer. We had quite a routine set up-

We would get up at the crack of mid morning and wait for the mail man. We became pretty close to ... I think his name was "Hey mail guy" and developed quite a relationship with hey mail guy, or as his close friends knew him, hey.

After our mail bonding session ended, it was time to go-on a good day the A's were in town.

We would load up our mexican tuperware (the kind with "margarine" written on the side) with a pack of baloney and a pack of cheese, swipe a loaf of bread and a 2 liter of soda from the cabinet (swiping was necessary to the whole outlaw bleacher thing) and drive in his '70 vw super beetle with no brake lights up to Oakland.

Being passenger in his car required some skill- see, with no brake lights, he would drive, downshift and step on the brakes, I would pull the headlight knob so that the rear lights would turn on- thus avoiding a rear ender or being pulled over- never get cought by "the man" with hot baloney in your car. Then on to the BART parking lot and across the ramp to the ticket booth.

On regular days it would go like this- he would go in, then pretend to have something that needed to go back to the car, hand me the something ( a jacket, bag,...) through the gate and give me his torn stub- I would then go to the opposite side bleacher entrance, tell the ticket taker that I went in earlier, but forgot this stuff (whatever I was holding) in the car and "the guy that was here before said go ahead and get it- just save your ticket stub". Then I would go in and meet him at the food stand.

On Wednesdays and most Mondays this wasn't necessary- those were half price Family Night or Business Man's Afternoon Specials- half price days wen you could get in the park for a dollar- a dollar we swiped from mom's purse.

After loading up on concession stand relish, onions, mustard and stuff, our baloney and cheese sandwiches were now a foot high, looked and tasted better than anything else in the park, and we would go to our bench.

See, even though the Bleachers were general admission, we had our bench. Low down on the left field side- Henderson territory. Seats we sat in all summer. Early in the season, my brother used an el marko and wrote our names on our bleacher- we sat there every game.

I remember one game where, when we arrived, two really old guys- had to be 23, 24 at least, were sitting in our seats. My brother hobbled down on his bum leg and tapped one of the guys on the shoulder with his crutch and said, "hey, your in our seats". The guy just looked at us, shaking his head (the bleachers were for the most part empty in those days) and said "I don't see your name on it". I was sure we were going to get the crap beat out of us, but my brother told the guy to stand up and look at his seat- sure enough, there were our names. Both guys just laughed, got up and said "here ya go". Then, while eyeing the big Dagwoods we were holding, traded us 2 sandwiches for a couple of colossal dogs. And a beer. Not bad for a 13 and 16 year old.

Those years of baseball were the best. I know, not very kosher- empty seats, pitchers that would throw till their arms fell off, stealing bases for no good reason, Billy nose to nose with the umps- but it was the most exciting baseball ever.

This was Billy Ball.

This was the summer of '80.


Blogger wonderbread74 said...

I was in kindergarten in 1980. To me, Billy Ball was the way some kindergartener with poor speech skills communicated who a ball belonged to. "Dat not my ball, dat Billy ball."
Beautiful story, though, both of them.

7/28/2004 11:15 PM  

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