Take Me Out to the Ball Game

So, Yellow gave up his ticket to the Cubs game last night, so me and my buddy Jenn went, and met up with some of the guys from work, Dee, Garrett and Jonas (one of the lead architects) and his son.

Had a couple beers, chatted with the guys about work and baseball, discussed transactive memory and team building with Jenn, and took off after the 7th inning stretch and 36,000 voice-strong rendition of “Take me out to the ballgame.” Turns out we apparently missed the best innings in the game, as the Cubs rebounded and won 3-2 in 12 innings. Most of what we caught wasn’t the best of ball playing, though I got to watch a hitter break a bat, which was cool. I don’t regret leaving early – we’re 3 train stops from Wrigley Field, and I’ve *seen* what the train’s like after a game gets out. 36,000 people flood Addison, pack into buses and trains and cars, and it likely would have taken us an hour to go less than 2 miles.

It was a hot night, and I’d never been inside Wrigley Field before. It’s a strange conglamoration of old and new, seats haphazardly stuck on the original design, and I was sitting within view of the line of rooftop seats built up onto the tops of 3-flats ringing the east side of the ballbark. Wrigley’s an old field, and it wasn’t – for all intents and purposes – surrounded by the city when it first sprang up. It’s become increasingly crowded in by buildings, all of which have been converted by sports enthusiasts and money-grubbers. I like Wrigley because there’s something so deeply *Roman* about it. It’s not clean and slick and shiny – nor are its crowds. The Cubs haven’t won a World Series in… what, a century? And that place is packed to the gills every game night. There’s enough bad beer to drown a couple phalanxes of Roman legionnaires. The audience really gets into it – they’re a very vocal, seething mass of spectators whose booing and cheering sessions can shake the foundations of the field. It’s a bizarre spectacle all the more because I sometimes wonder if the guys playing the actual game are really having fun. No doubt the audience is, but I sometimes looked at the players and wondered if they were just going through the motions. I mean, all they have to do is show up, and they get audiences like this…

All in all, I’m not much of a sports fan. Not because I don’t like sports – I love seeing things done really well – but because I really can’t get invested in a team that swaps out its players every year. I was into Portland basketball for a couple years and went to some local games, but they started swapping out players, and I just wasn’t emotionally invested anymore. There’s an “us” vs. “them” aspect to sport that doesn’t really work when you’re rooting for a guy one year cause he’s (almost always “he” – the state of women’s sports coverage in the US is another rant) “from” your town, and not rooting for him the next year cause now he’s “from” Toronto. It’s difficult to maintain the illusion of an “us” vs. “them” when nobody’s willing to play along, and players switch teams based mostly on money and less and less on any sort of notion of “team” loyalty.

I get bored.

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