Wednesday, August 22, 2007

When No Fans Show Up

The Giants just played one of those weird four game weekend series with the last game on Monday. The Marlins scheduled the game as a day game. Monday is the worst attendance day, and a day game on Monday is the worst possible. It was also the first day of school in Miami, and it was extremely hot. I listened on the radio, while Mrs. Scott watched on TV. We talked on the phone, and she was very surprised to see so few fans there. The official attendance (okay, MLB, you really mean tickets sold) was 10,000. But there were a majority of no-shows, and just a few thousand in a huge football stadium looks even smaller.

Mrs. Scott didn't become a baseball fan until the early 90's, which is after baseball's revival here in the Bay Area. She doesn't recall the days of 3000 fans per game (or less) when both the Giants and A's sucked. She asked about what the players thought of so few fans, and many other curiosities.

As I explained to her, the joys of small crowds are merely a memory to me. Those were my favorite games of all. I went on to recount to her the many blessings. There is no parking problem, no lines for food or restrooms. You're guaranteed a great seat. Each fan has personal vendors. And with no crowd, there's no noise. So when you yell, everybody in the ballpark hears you. The chances of getting a foul ball increase greatly (as do the chances of getting a fair ball). Foul balls down the line are great entertainment, because nobody is sitting within ten sections. Kids stream through the seats to retrieve the ball. But because the ball rolls between the rows, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. Finally, about ten minutes later, somebody finds it and holds it up high. Everybody gives a standing ovation. And at last, there's no traffic when you leave.

Take for example, I told her, the game with the smallest crowd that I ever attended. A's vs. Texas, September, 1986. I counted the attendance myself in less than an inning (1603). The fan in the upper deck left in the second inning. I don't think he went home, he just found a better seat downstairs. Sitting in the bleachers, I got to heckle the left fielder the entire game instead of only when he was in the field. Nobody was there so he could easily hear me from the dugout, so I yelled at him from across the stadium and reminded him that he could hear me. When I finished my first beer, my favorite beer vendor, named Tommy, was on the other side of the stadium, behind the first base dugout. No problem. I just yelled, "Heeeeey, Tooooommmy, I wannanother beeeeeer!" He looked up across the stadium at me and waved. He walked all the way around the stadium to sell me a beer. It's not like there was anybody else to sell to, so it was a good sale. Then, we talked for a few innings because it wasn't like there was anybody else there that wanted a beer. Three home runs were hit that day. And since there wasn't anybody else there, as school was back in and it was a day game, there were no other kids with gloves. Heck, there were only 33 people in all the huge bleachers that day. So I got to take all three home run balls home with me as souvenirs. That might have been my favorite game ever.

Some people just don't know what they missed from back in the day.

1 comment:

  1. This story is one of the many reason's I love you! It is written well, it is funny, it shows your passion for baseball and it mentions me!


    Mrs. Scott