With Clipper Magazine Stadium just a 5-minute walk from my apartment, and the extremely low cost of field-level box seats, I’ve been going to a lot of Lancaster Barnstormers baseball games. I’m especially fond of the Tuesday night games.
Tuesday night is free t-shirt night for the first 1000 fans. I think they only have about 1000 fans, so, basically, everyone gets a free t-shirt. Tuesday night is also Dollar Dog Night. Hot dogs for a buck all night long. So, I don’t cook on Tuesday nights anymore. Plus, they have $2 draft beers between 6:30 and 7:30. You can only buy two at a time, but the seats all have cup holders, and since there are plenty of empty seats, there are also plenty of empty cup holders.
Debbie and I had a plan. We would each get 2 beers at 6:30, 2 more at 7:00, and 2 more right before 7:30. That would be 6 beers apiece. That should get us through a 9-inning ballgame. The other 9 seats in our row were empty, so we had enough cup holders for 11 beers. Plenty.
The four beers we got at 6:30 were gone well before 7:00, so we headed for the beer stand. “They’re only allowed to sell 2 beers at a time,” I said, “so let’s both go up and get 2 more beers.” I gave her money for the beers and she got on line behind me.
I was served my two beers and I started to walk away, when I heard from behind me, “One.”
“One???” Was that the umpire I heard, or did my beer-guzzling partner already forget the plan.
“Are you sure you don’t want two,” I turned to say to her as I walked to my seat.
When she got back to the seat, she only had one half-empty beer in her hand, but in the other hand she had a handful of hot dogs, so, no harm no foul. I was willing to make a few extra beer runs for the team as long as she was making sure that we were well fed. So before 7:30 I made another hot dog run and 2 more beer runs. We were in very good shape, beer-wise, but I had missed most of the first two innings. It was the top of the third. The other team was up, and the kid behind me is suddenly screaming something at the top of his lungs. I can’t make out what he’s saying. A woman in the row in front of me turns to give the boy a “do you have to be so loud” look, but he keeps on chanting. The batter grounded out, and the stadium got quiet again.
Two-three innings later the kid is shouting again. I still can’t figure out what he’s saying. I asked the man in front of me if he knew what was going on. Maybe the kid is related to the batter. The man in front of me explained that the kid was chanting “Slushie.” The opposing batter at the plate was the “Designated Slushie.” If he struck out, the section that was cheering the loudest would get free Slushies.
I had consumed quite a few of the beers by this time, but I still had quite a few sitting in cup holders further down the row. I figured they were starting to get warm, and I might be able to McGiver some way to use the free Slushies to keep the beers cold. So, now, me and the kid behind me are both yelling “Slushie” at the top of our lungs. Several more kids joined in. Debbie joined in, and the woman in front of me quickly moved to a quieter section. If you can’t take the Slushie, get out of the kitchen. We were loud and proud.
The batter struck out, but nobody came around with Slushies for us. So, the next time the Designated Slushie came up we doubled our volume. He got a single that he stretched into a double. I think we awoke the sleeping giant inside the .217 hitter.
I think that we awoke security, too. Never before had they heard such cheering to win a simple Slushie. They brought out t-shirts, nurf balls, and rubber balls with the “Stormers” logo, and just started firing them at us to keep us quiet. I leapt for a t-shirt, but since you can’t slide a dime between my shoes and the ground when I jump my highest, I only tipped it and it bounced to a guy behind me. He immediately smiled and tossed it to me. I caught a rubber ball and in the same spirit of generosity tossed it to a young fan. A nurf ball bounced out of my hands into the seat in front of me. I grabbed it and tossed it to another little kid, who also dropped it, but his sister got the rebound and gave it to him. Our section was really having a good time and we still had beer left.
The Stormers went into the bottom of the ninth trailing by a run. They didn’t manage to score. So, they lost the game, but they did get enough men on base to give Debbie and me time to finish the rest of the beers. You’ve got to love them for that.
It took us about 45 minutes to make the 5 minute walk back to my place. Maybe instead of a Slushie they should offer a designated driver to the fans who are cheering the loudest.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,