Friday Night Slights
It was in or around the third inning at Friday night's game when something very peculiar happened.
Austin Kearns, benefiting from a long lead off first base, made a sudden dash toward second as Tim Hudson completed his delivery. Kelly Johnson prepared for the tag, yet Austin went down and slid hard, his body slipping right between Johnson's legs. But instead of rising safe at second, he kept sliding and sliding, past the infield dirt and into the outfield grass, passing a motionless Matt Diaz. Even the fans froze mid-Wave as Kearnsie slid and ...
... kept sliding until, reversing himself, he struck the marquee sign in right field, whereupon every proton and neutron in his body fused with the lights, making them sparkle and shimmer like a thousand spinning stars.
Witnessing this spectacle, my companion Milan started to laugh uncontrollably. Next to him sat my buddy Dave, who having arrived earlier for happy hour, giddily informed me that the Red Loft bar was now equipped with tonic. Setting down an empty beer cup, Dave stood and made his way to Base Line Brews. I felt a strange compulsion to follow him, so I got up and stepped across piles of discarded hot dog wrappers, each of which made a loud crunching noise I could hear even above the pulsating PA system.
At Base Line Brews, Dave handed $8 to the vendor for a 12 oz. bottle of Yuengling, whereas I, having ordered a Stella draft, paid $7.50 for 16 ounces. This did not sit well with Dave. So, instead of drinking the Yuengling, he turned the bottle over and let the beer flow onto the concrete floor. Oddly, as the liquid fell, it grew into a torrent that meandered through the concourse, creating arcs resembling those of the mighty Mississippi. The brew spilled over the railings and down the grand staircase onto Potomac Avenue, gradually merging with the dark, glistening waters of the Anacostia River.
Returning to my section, I noticed two empty seats at the end of our row. One of my neighbors, Tom, informed me that the seats were recently vacated by two full season ticket holders, who apparently didn't like having to look through the plexiglass barrier in order to see home plate. I glanced past Tom and peered into the glass, seeing myself in the reflection. My face appeared distorted and oblong, as if I were gazing into a funhouse mirror. When my reflection started speaking to me, I thought to myself, I'd probably want to change my seats, too.
At this point, as I was eating my fifth hot dog of the night, Stan Kasten appeared in the aisle beside me, wearing a tall top hat and coattails. "Michael," he said, "you really should try the cotton candy." He was holding two tubs of the sticky stuff, one blue, one red. I sat there and pondered my decision, but Milan's giggles made it hard to concentrate. "Mr. Kasten," I finally replied, "I'll try the red." Smiling, he handed me the tub, and I scooped a wad and placed it into my mouth. I handed some to Milan and Dave, and they continued to pass the tub further down the row, each patron taking a mouthful until a grin formed on the face of every single person in Section 223. Looking them over, I was struck by how everyone chewed in perfect unison.
"Glad you're enjoying the ballpark, boys", Mr. Kasten said, slapping me on the shoulder. When he turned away, he lifted his top hat off his head, revealing two long, floppy white ears . . . and as he hopped up the flight of steps, his coattails parted, and I saw a small, cottony white tail.
And with that, the game ended.
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