I have heard many baseball, sport announcers say, “what a beautiful day for baseball,” and Wednesday was such a day. The clear blue sky, light breeze, and blaring sun seem the perfect setting for outside, and outside at the ball park it was for Edie and me.
We met on Barrett Parkway for the drive to the stadium. Since she drove down from Ellijay, I volunteered to drive to Turner Field for our afternoon of Braves’ baseball.
Before we left, Edie checked to make sure that she had the tickets and parking pass (she checked more than once -- I love that about her -- as if the tickets she had carefully placed in her bag would disappear between her house and my car), and we packed her little squishy cooler with Nabs, peanuts, Tootsie Pops, Diet Coke, and water.
Before we left that day, Edie and I had discussed what we needed for the day game: “It’s gonna be hot, and we’re gonna want water. You know that the price of a bottle of water will be outrageous, and we would have trouble paying that. We’re gonna want water."
Me: I like that about Edie. Not only is she a planner, but she’s a thinker. I tried to remember the last game I had attended and if they allowed coolers. Meanwhile, Edie had already been online and looked up the “rules.” She's always two steps ahead of me.
As retired teachers with time on our hands, we have decided to do things we couldn't do when we taught school. With no papers to grade, no students to corral, no bell sounding controlling our destiny, we are free -- free to attend a Braves’ game on a Wednesday afternoon in September.
"Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, [we're] free at last!!!"
I breathed in the air of leisure, a divine smell.
We were early to the ball park and made our way to our outfield seats. Of course, we saw that our tickets for section 150 was straight ahead at one point, but we still asked the friendly usher if we were headed in the right direction.
We were four rows back from the outfield wall, and decided pretty soon that it was “Too hot “ to sit there for an hour before the game. Plus, I was having a little bit of the “vapors” and needed cool air.
We picked up our stuff and move to the shade where we discussed the most important of the afternoon events.
When were we gonna eat that hot dog? LOL
As I recovered from the vapors, we discussed the fact that our seats were in the blasting sun.
Edie: I have trouble sitting for three hours at a time anyway. How are we gonna sit for three hours in the sun even if we did bring sun bonnets?
She actually said "hats," but I like the sound of bonnets.
Since this was a day game, I didn’t’ expect a big crowd, and even though the Braves are in a pennant race, or were in pennant race, darn them!, I knew that probably we could sit in some of the seats in the empty sections that were shaded. We headed up to the first section we saw -- and sure nuff --- the place was empty. We were still in the outfield but under the awning.
We comfortably hung our feet on the back of the chairs in front of us, embraced the breeze, and stood for the National Anthem. Now, this was the place to be.
We watched an inning or two, or I should say they went by cause we were too busy talking and being distracted by all the stimulus at the park: the guy banging the big drum, Homer the mascot, the Jumbotron (which we could only see the bottom half of from that position), the number of fathers there with their daughters, the hundreds of elementary and middle school age children in matching t-shirts sitting in the upper-est deck -- all in white, or red, or yellow and jumping up and down and vying for the honor of being caught on camera for a huge view on the Jumbotron (and thankful that we were not the teachers chaperoning that nightmare), the guy with the camera who kept wanting to take our picture for braves.com, and the two guys sitting below us with parasols.
Turner Field is not for people with A.D.D.
After the top of the second inning and the other team’s grand slam,
Edie: I didn’t know there were men on base.
Me: I just now noticed we were playing the Nationals. They're terrible.
we went to get the hot dog that we had thought about since making our plans. The Braves were down four already.
Hot dogs at a ball game really are the best fare. Grilled on both sides and coming in sizes like Jumbo and Extra Jumbo or Ridiculous Jumbo, I spent $5.50 on mine and Edie got the $6.50 one, and we moseyed to yet another set of seats in the shade -- this time along the left field line. In fact, we sat right behind a foul pole. Not that we cared -- we had hot dogs. Steamy and slathered in ketchup and mustard, I had mine eaten before one guy had batted. Edie, since she had the Ridiculously Jumbo, ate hers in the time it took for three batters. I think. I wasn’t really paying that much attention to her hot dog.
We sat there a while with a view of the Nationals’ bull pen, and we watched some balls hit on the ground our way. We chuckled, pointed, and watched the Jumbotron --since from these seats, we had a better view. Even though we were tempted, except not, to dance in between innings for the dance cam, we restrained ourselves and thought about what we might eat next.
After the bottom of the sixth, we took yet another stroll for ice cream. We found what we wanted at the Mayfield ice cream stand, but the prices were that of a small piece of land in Brooklyn.
Me: Three dollars for that itty, bitty cup of ice cream?
Ice Cream Vendor Lady: Uh huh. Here’s the large size.
Me: Six dollars?
Ice Cream Vendor: Uh huh.
She started to fill up this cup -- the size of ½ of a Dixie cup --
Me: Never mind. Give me a large. I’d feel silly carrying that little thing around.
Edie: We gotta live large today.
We took our ice-cream to a picnic table, right inside one of the exits. We savored our ice cream while we tried to identify the 1971 Braves on a huge poster hanging right next to our table.
Me: I found Hank Aaron.
Edie: Like that was hard.
Me: Who are those people?
Edie: They are now old people.
Me: I think I remember Clete Boyer.
We finished our treat, and I was able to eat all mine, and we made our way to our fourth set of seats and the best we had. We found some vacant ones on the third base side behind the dugout. Here the breeze floated around us and grown men scampered after foul balls, most unsuccessfully, like children. We finished the last two innings, hoping that the Braves would come back from a two run deficit.
They didn’t. They lost to the Nationals, 4 to 2.
But these two fans considered the day to be a success.
Edie and Me: Four.