Well, it’s a summer Saturday on the blog – which means that the Better Health editorial standards are a little more lax. And this week I’m willing to share some highly embarrassing personal details for your amusement.
Over the course of my lifetime, my exposure to baseball has been somewhat limited. In fact, the only games I ever went to were at the demand of an old grad school roommate who had a crush on José Conseco. We lived in Dallas at the time and she forced me to accompany her to the games so that at the end she could stand by the exit gate and catch a glimpse of him as he left the ballpark.
As a long-suffering and supportive friend I endured countless games in the Texas summer heat – sitting in the nosebleeds at Ranger stadium, with no more than a folding seat, napkins to wipe my brow, and a long line to a dirty bathroom. Apparently Nolan Ryan was an amazing pitcher – but it was hard to tell from such a distance.
So that was pretty much the sum total of my experience with baseball, and the reason why I hadn’t been all that interested in taking friends up on more recent invitations to go to a ball game. But yesterday my world changed.
My dear friends Heather and Doug (aka Mr. Heather) convinced me to join them at Nationals stadium yesterday… and I was astonished by the creature comforts of the place. Open air sports bars, restaurants, game tents, air conditioned box seats… food buffets. My goodness. This was not at all what I remembered about baseball – and we got to sit just above home plate.
Now, the only problem was that I really never learned the more complicated rules of the game – like why can the guy on third run home after the outfielder just caught the batter’s ball and he’s out? I know I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t get it, but that’s ok.
The real problem came when I was en route to the game and experienced some brand confusion. I noticed everyone wearing these red hats (on the right below) and I knew that our team was called “The Nats” so… I just didn’t make the association between the W and our team. And quite frankly, the font looks an awful lot like Walgreens doesn’t it?
My friends were at first confused, then horrified, then laughing uncontrollably. I kept protesting that it was an honest mistake (given the branding similarities), and they said, “Oh yeah, like TOTALLY” and did their best blonde Valley Girl impressions.
The other problem was that although I knew the hand movements made when the umpire wanted to indicate that a player was “safe” on base, I didn’t recall that the opposite resulted in a movement very similar to what I do when I’m really psyched about a victory of some sort and say “Yes!” You know, you make a fist with bent arm and bring it quickly down to mid abdomen from shoulder height.
So, in all truth, there was a moment of confusion in my mind when I saw the umpire making the “Yes!” movement – it seemed kind of partisan to me, and I wondered why he didn’t just make the “safe” sign. And then the runner walked away all dejected. I should have kept my mouth shut and let me brain process, but I let it slip to Heather – why does that umpire guy go “Yes!” all the time?
We had a good laugh… some amazing nachos… and our team won 7-6 so it was a really exciting game all the way through. I told Heather the stadium was so nice I’d be happy going there just to hang out – game or not.
Kudos to the Washington Nationals marketing team – even with our team being in last place, the experience was outstanding – causing even a hardened baseball skeptic to rethink her position on game attendance. Now if you could just do something about the Walgreens logo…