Sunday, May 21, 2006

Deadbeat Lemon

Heckling a player for whatever reason is part of baseball. But when an in-law hands a bunch of bleacher bums the material, it can be a downright riot. That's what happened one night to Chet Lemon, centerfielder for the Detroit Tigers back in the mid 80's. Mike and I were there, along with the regular bums. Lemon was an easy heckling target because of his name. But this night it was his family life.

During the game a woman came down the aisle and stood against the rail down at the front row. She looked as if she really wasn't there to watch a game. Just standing there looking around at nothing discernible was a clue that she was out of place. We all noticed it. She then moved to the section on the other side of the rail, a bit closer to Lemon who was in centerfield. After a while, she began to call to him, trying to get his attention. It's quite obvious to any normal fan that you just don't walk into a ballpark and engage in a conversation with a professional athlete. Especially when he's on the field concentrating on the game.

I don't know whether Lemon heard her or not, but several of us asked this obviously confused woman if we could help her in some way. She asked us if that were Chet Lemon. Of course he was. "Yoo-hoo, Che-et" she called. We replied that she wasn't likely to get his attention that way; she wasn't yelling that loud anyway. So we called to him more loudly. "Hey, Chet, there's a woman here who wants to talk to you!" No reply from Lemon, of course. We realized that we still didn't know what she wanted, so we asked her. "Oh, I'm his sister-in-law." Okay, that helped us a bit. "Hey, Lemon, your sister-in-law wants to talk to you!" But for what reason? So we asked her. "Oh, he owes me $3000." The flood gates opened.

"Hey, Lemon, you owe your sister-in-law $3000! You're a deadbeat! Pay up, you bum!" We rode that precious gem the rest of the night.

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