Take Me Out Of This Ballgame

By Briane Nasimok

(TORONTO, ON) – Yes the World Series bound Toronto Blue Jays lost their opening day game and first series to Cleveland and yes I was one of the multitudes of faithful that attended night one. The world did not stop spinning after that lost, Armageddon did not occur, North Korea did not invade the south, and Donald Trump still has a television show.

But the real galling point about that first game for me and stepson Josh, was the overly obnoxious women fan and her gaggle of friends that sat a row behind us and ruined the experience – other than the Blue Jay’s loss of course.

It was a wonderful opening night until the first screech. The fans whole-heartedly cheered each and everyone one of those non-Canadians who have made Toronto their home, as long as they are getting paid. A battalion of students stretched a giant maple leaf flag out across three quarters of the field as the Mirvish Production’s Dorothy delivered a fabulous rendition of the two anthems.

And Geddy Lee proved that he was not only a superb musician, as he delivered an opening pitch from in front of the mound that looked a lot better than many of the knuckle balls from Toronto’s starting pitcher that followed that evening.

We all shook our plastic “rally” poms that we were given when we entered, to greet each of the starters as they took the field and that’s when the verbal abuse went into full force.

Before the first half inning was over the screech of “Dickie”, the name of Toronto’s starting pitcher, emanated from the head culprit in the group, pierced the air at least four dozen times, and this was only after the main source of irritation had only consumed her third beer. The usual look of distain that I reserve for such “abusers” did nothing to quell her enthusiasm or high pitched piercing voice. She kept going and going.

Others around seemed to share my consternation, with at least two or three putting in their ear buds, even though they had not devices to listen to. But, none of us spoke up!

It seemed she carried on the barrage, even as she drank her beers, and I venture to say that a career in ventriloquism might be one she will have to consider.

During the game I picked up a few pertinent facts between her cheers, one of them being that she was there with a group from her work, including her boss. My Sherlocking sense and keen listening abilities led me to discover that this was an office outing. Maybe I gleaned those clues because she kept asking her boss not to fire her a number of times, until her words started to slur in the later innings.

I deduced that her husband, a willing accomplice in this action, worked at the organization longer and she was a recent addition. I never figured out what they did, but if there is a part of CSIS in charge of interrogating prisoners, after ten minutes of her screeching I would give up the name of every operative I knew, and most of my “state secrets”, just to get her to stop.

But thankfully the Blue Jays did that for me.

Needless to say I am a Jays fan, (the only piece of crested clothing I ever bought for myself was a t-shirt celebrating God’s greatest second baseman, Hall of Famer and champion spitter, Robbie Alomar). I have been a supporter from opening day, spending a dozen years covering the Jays for United Press, including “being there” for Joe Carter’s home run. But on this day I was hoping for the team to fall behind early and never rally.

Why?

My reasoning, which was proved fairly correct, was that if the hometown boys were not scoring runs, and their prospects for winning were diminished, there would be less cheering. And that turned out to be the case.

As the Jays fell behind, the cheering subsided behind me. And before their focus turned to drinking as much high priced beer before the seventh inning as possible, their energy was directed toward how many ways they could make fun of the starting pitcher’s name; Dickie.

Let me tell you that none of this sextet would ever qualify for a place at the Algonquin Round Table if the any of them knew what it was.

“How much do you like Dickie?”

“She’s a real Dickie lover”

“You wearing a Dickie” (a reference to a team Jersey).

And those were some of the more inventive ones!

My main antagonist was not alone as two seats away from her, and directly behind my left ear, was her heir-apparent, echoing the cheers supported by the encouragement of her mentor. And they all tended to play musical chairs during the evening, as they went out for smokes and beers. It was like being in a room with surround-sound speakers.

The inning the main culprit sat directly behind me, to do “Dickie duets”, the back of my head was treated to a series of continued lashings from her rally pom.

I toyed with the idea of asking her boss what business he was in, to make sure I would never frequent that establishment, but instead we snuck out the other way, before the ninth inning and like most good Canadians, I kept my mouth shut.

If only she had!

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata

Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.
Email Ian Shalapata

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