In honor of the Indians’ upcoming interleague series this weekend against the Philadelphia Phillies, I figured it was a good opportunity to share one of my more interesting stories about attending a ball game. Apologies if it trends a bit too much into TMI territory, but I think the details are important to the overall story.
For nearly six years my husband and I lived outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I wasn’t crazy about the area, but one of the things I really liked was that Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia were all within a reasonable driving distance. Heck, if traffic was decent we could even make it to New York in 2 1/2 hours or so. Anyway, this provided some good baseball opportunities, especially after the Expos moved to DC and became the Nationals. I always made sure to catch the Indians at Camden Yards, and also tried to catch them if they happened to be playing interleague games in Philly or DC. In fact, I went to the very first game ever at Citizens Bank Park in 2004 – an exhibition game between the Phillies and the Indians.
My story starts a bit before that, with the soon-to-be demolished Veterans Stadium. We attempted to go to a game early in the 2003 season (its final year) but it ended up getting rained out. When we were selecting a make-up date, we noticed there was an old-fashioned twi-night doubleheader taking place later in the summer. I guess the Phillies decided to re-hash some of their popular promotions from the lifespan of Veterans Stadium, and one of those was a twi-night doubleheader in the 1970s where they shot a guy out of a cannon between the first and second game.
The game took place on Saturday, August 2, and was the first time the Phillies intentionally scheduled a doubleheader since 1985. The first game started at 1:10 p.m. and it was 87 degrees at the first pitch…but it felt so much hotter. I just remember that we were directly in the sun, and it was almost unbearably hot; Veterans Stadium was known for trapping the heat and making it even more unbearable for both fans and players. I am unbelievably stubborn when it comes to leaving a game early, or even leaving my seat when the game is underway. My husband, on the other hand, hates to sit still at ball games. He constantly walks around, goes to look for food, etc.; he starts to get antsy if he’s forced to stay in his seat for more than an inning or so.
I said that I was thirsty and he was already ready to go on one of his roaming adventures, so he offered to bring back some water. For some reason he decided that one 20 oz. bottle of water would suffice for the both of us in that heat. He had already consumed most of it by the time he returned to his seat. I make jokes about him being too cheap to buy the second bottle (which may be part of it), but he has this weird thing about people, animals, and liquids. When I go on trips, sometimes I call to make sure he’s giving the dog water. When I yelled at him for being stingy with the dog’s water, he replied “I like to limit her water so she knows I control her fate.” He was obviously joking, but I think that joke actually does a great job of highlighting some of the sentiments behind this weird thing with liquids.
After I finished my meager 3 sips of water (about all that was left), I told him that I was still thirsty and wanted more water. He offered to go get more, because he was already sick of sitting and attempting to watch the game. He comes back with a full bottle of water, and I gulp down almost its entire contents immediately. My husband wasn’t drinking any of this water (I honestly don’t know how he’s surviving in this heat) but he periodically would get up and get another water for me. He told me that he kept refilling the bottle, rather than buying new (somewhat expensive) bottles of water.
After a long bout of sitting, I offered to go refill the bottle myself so I could stretch my legs. I walked around and around the concourse (easy, since Veteran’s Stadium was one of those old doughnut cookie-cutter deals) but I couldn’t find the water fountain he was using to refill the bottle. I finally gave up and went back to ask him where he found the water, and he replied “the sink in the men’s room.” Now, I don’t even know that much about the history of Veterans Stadium (this was only my second trip there ever, the first being the rainout) but I knew that getting water out of the sink in the men’s room probably wasn’t the best idea. When I later told a co-worker this story, he literally screamed “OMG that’s grounds for divorce…do you know how many times I’ve peed in those sinks???!!” I tried to gently mention to my husband that the sink in the men’s room probably wasn’t the best place to acquire drinking water, it could make you sick, etc. My husband wasn’t hearing any of this…I was obviously overreacting and being dumb, it was completely harmless and he wasn’t buying a bunch of expensive waters for me. I stopped drinking the sink water anyway.
After both games finally end, we hop on the Pennsylvania turnpike to head home when all of the sudden I desperately needed to stop at one of the rest plazas. I parked the car and ran inside and was absurdly sick…stuff was coming out of basically every opening in my body. If you could vomit through your ears, I’m sure I found a way to do it that night. I finally made it out of the ladies room, and felt so miserable I just plopped down and laid on the filthy floor of the turnpike rest stop and shut my eyes. Just completely passed out on the floor in the lobby, outside of the ladies room. Now I knew what made me sick, and you can bet that my husband knew what made me sick as well. He’s not necessarily big on apologies (or admitting he was wrong), but at one point I heard “here” and could tell that he was trying to shove something into my face. I opened my eyes to see a stuffed cow. As you may have noticed, I love cows…I have a rather large collection of both stuffed and glass cows. Apparently the turnpike gift shop was still open, and my husband managed to find a stuffed cow “travel pal.” As a mea culpa, he purchased this cow and was trying to shove it into my face, in the hopes that it would make up for giving me what I later termed “Veterans Stadium cholera.”
So Veterans Stadium may be long gone, but my trip there will never be forgotten. Oh, and I also got to see Philly fans viciously boo their closer, the one and only Jose Mesa. Would do it again, minus the toilet water and the cholera.