We’re typically those types that get out to the stadium ridiculously early and then line up to wait for the gates to open.
More than a few times over the years, though, we’ve arrived at, or just after, game time for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, even diehard fans don’t arrive on time. Or shouldn’t. With opening day only weeks away, the following are the five most common reasons for arriving late to a game, and the best means of coping.
1. You’re on a date. Yes, obsessive Angel fan, you actually got a date, and you’re taking her to an Angel game. Okay. Unless you’re dating Jo from The Facts of Life, you’re best not arriving early enough to mix it up down in the mosh-pit that is the left-field corner during batting practice. Just get there in time for the first pitch and try to remember that for most people, the three hours of actual game time is more than enough.
2. Funerals and/or weddings. Seriously, listen here; if you go to more than, say, twenty games per season, there is absolutely no chance that your mother-in-law is going to buy the whole “biggest game of the year” thing (for what it’s worth, too, you really start looking bad if, for example, it’s September of 1999, the Angels are 20 games back, and your father-in-law is a baseball fan).
We’ve learned over the years, however, that there is something you can do when big events, planned or unplanned, interfere with your ballpark plans. Simply drop a small bottle of castor oil in your suit pocket before the event. Then, right about game time, sneak away, chug the bottle, and hurry back to your table in time to vomit in front of everyone. Everyone’s going to want you to leave after that. It’s best to insist on a cab at this point, too. It implies a certain courteousness in that you’re not perceived to be wrecking anyone’s “big day.”
Another important element of this plan is to have been the designated driver. Otherwise, you end up just looking like the guy that drinks too much and throws up. You need the story to be “their designated driver had to leave, they’re screwed,” not “that drunk jerk just puked on a bridesmaid.” If you stand any chance in the morning of explaining away your ATM receipts from Fritz’s, you’ll take care of this vital step. Trust us.
3. You thought Saturday was a night game. No it was changed to a day game, didn’t you get the memo? Well, hustle on down to the park. You already paid for the tickets and told people you were going. What are you going to tell people? You have the choice of admitting either stupidity or a Friday night filled with debauchery. Exactly, just go to the game a few innings late and play it off.
4. Traffic. It’s not always just an excuse, you know. Sometimes even the best of us find ourselves in the thick of gridlock. It’s tough, if not impossible to beat traffic. One thing that I’ve discovered that can help with the inherent frustration of battling traffic jams is a simple gesture. That’s right, get your window down and throw a bird. Better yet, get the sunroof open and let both birds fly free. Unless you just moved from Nebraska, you should be able to steer with your knee during all of this and still find a way to unleash a long horn blare too. Bonus tip: If you should find that your traffic delay is related to a funeral procession, don’t despair. Those motorcycle guys aren’t real cops. Go for it.
5. Field level seats during a Sunday day game in August. Unless you enjoy the emergency room, you’re going to want to re-consider your early arrival. You’re going to need about 14 gallons of water, $500 of sunscreen, a couple of bottles of talc, and a divorce lawyer just to tolerate seven innings. I don’t care if you’re Kevin Costner hopped up on ecstasy, you’re going to hate baseball forever if you insist on an early arrival for one of these games. Pace yourself.
Well, there you have it, five challenging dilemmas and their most logical solutions. Best of luck this season at the stadium.