04 July 2011
'Ball Game'Chicago. Day off.
Today was quite a rarity on the tour as not only are the tour crew and band entourage all in the same city but we all have a day off at the same time. Not only that but it’s a public holiday so the entire city (nay, country) has the day off. This is the closest thing approaching normality that we’ve shared for a long time.
What could be more American than going out to the ball game on the fourth of July? Regular readers may have picked up on my not being the biggest sports fan on the planet, the sum total of the sports I follow being precisely zero. However, this seemed like a fun thing to do and everyone assured me that baseball is all about beer and hotdogs and “nothing to do with the game”. If there was ever a sport for me, this then might be the kind of thing I could go with.
“Our” team was the White Sox whom, I was assured, aren’t known for regular triumph so would no doubt lose today. This blank pessimism at least meant that I could settle into the culinary and cultural experience without any potential anxiety about the eventual outcome. We were being hosted by a friend with connections so, on arrival, found ourselves seated practically on the field, right next to what I gather is called the ‘dug out’. This was quite fun as we could see the players hanging out and goofing around, giving us a perspective possibly akin to band guests being parked at the mix position (“what do all those people do in there?” etc.) The players would come up and do their stretches right by where we were sitting and even talk to the crowd, which made me feel at least a little connected to “our” team.
There was beer, there was nitrite-filled processed animal product, there was sunshine, there was endless noise and appallingly produced video clips – all in all, the perfect day out. Needless to say I didn’t have a clue what the bloody hell was going on from start to finish but much to everyone’s surprise “we” held the other lot to an even score right up until (apparently) “the bottom of the ninth”. I gathered that if “our” current slugger did well “we” would win, so made a point of paying special attention as he took up his position and the pitcher walked to the mound. At this point, suddenly nothing happened and the stadium went berserk. Honestly, nothing happened – no ball thrown, no bat wielded, no whistle blown, nobody running about, absolutely nothing of any apparent consequence took place yet the entire place went absolutely mental. I assumed that perhaps the paint had finally dried but it turned out that “we” had won the game – just like that. One of our gang did try to explain, but I’d had too much beer to really care and was just happy that at least that the “sport” was out of the way and could get on with the post-game fireworks.
From here to Ethan’s roof deck (he lives here) to while away the rest of the night with further beer on a perfect evening, watching the on-going fireworks above the city. All this and early to bed too.