Occasionally through life, we are granted the gift of meeting extraordinary people.
So, I turned to my oldest son & told him I'd be back in a few minutes, stay put. He nodded. You see, both of my boys had asked me questions about the game, trying to learn it as well & I couldn't answer their questions! :-( My dad never really watched sports or played any, so my brother wasn't into any sports either. My mom... Are you kidding? I had to learn them on my own. I squeezed out of the row of seats and went up the steps to the vending areas. I walked around for a few minutes, watching people interact with each other. Most of the men were in their own world's. As they walked, went in & out-of-doors, ordered food, or were going up & down the steps... their minds were on the game - I mean like total game zombies.
That's not a bad thing either, but I needed to find someone who was into the game enough that they could answer some simple questions, yet, I wouldn't be dangerously snapping them out of another reality into mine so sudden it resulted in brain damage or a scream at me! :-) From observation, I could already tell the other women had already scarred the men's mindset: "Will she ever shut up? I just wanna watch this game. Why does she come with me? I'm not flirting with any one. Geez!!"
I found one!! A very slender older man wearing a green shirt was standing in the 2ft X 3ft smoking section. He was staring at the field, but there was nothing going on down there. The game had like, paused. I lit a cigarette and stirred up the courage to say, "Hi, would you mind if I asked you some really dumb questions before the game gets started back?" He looked at me oddly and answered, "I guess." I said, "Great! Thank you. Can you keep up with me if I go really fast- so you can watch the game?" He looked at his shoes, took a deep breath & said "Sure."
So, off I went:
Me: "Why is that guy on the mound throwing the balls away from the guy with the bat? Doesn't he want the guy to hit the ball?"
My Amazing Stranger: "Strikeout. Pitcher wants to only barely stay within boundries...wants batter to swing & miss."
Me: "Oh... Why Are the guys waaay out in the field running so far & hard to catch balls that going to land near their own players closer up the field? Why doesn't the other player just get or catch it?"
My Amazing Stranger: "guard the base. don't leave it" ...taps finger on chin... "Or lazy player and over compensating player."
Me: "hmm, okay...why so many intermissions?
My Amazing Stranger: "Drink Beer, gotta pee"
Me: "Thank you! Am I bothering you?"
My Amazing Stranger: "No"
Me: 'Why are there so many people over on that bank past the outfield?"
My Amazing Stranger: "It's free. You can't see the game."
Me: "What's an inning?"
My Amazing Stranger: "the # of times a team is in the field/at bat"
Me: "How many are there?"
My Amazing Stranger: "9"
Me: "Tired of the questions yet?"
My Amazing Stranger: "No, but the game will start soon."
Me: "Okay, Who are the good guys?"
My Amazing Stranger: a got a chuckle out of him.."There are no good or bad guys. The Smokies are in white shirts and pants."
Me: "hm, yeah that's what I meant to say."
***Queue the Awkward silence***
Me: "Will you be back to smoke soon?"
My Amazing Stranger: "In 2 more Innings."
Me: "Could I come ask you more questions as my kids ask me?"
My Amazing Stranger: "Yes"
And with that, he put out his cigarette and went away. We met two more times and I asked probably 30 more questions about the game, players, and things they did on the field. Each time he didn't seem aggravated or bothered by my questions. I think that he understood that I really wanted to learn the game we were watching and that the questions he answered, I told my boys when we parted. That was when I added the Reds to my bucket list. My Amazing Stranger was from Cincinnati :-)