Thursday, August 16, 2007

To Hell And Back

Yesterday I took my son to New York for our annual Yankee game. It's 150 miles from our house to the stadium, door-to-door. Roughly. I know I pushed the odometer back to zero fairly soon after leaving. At any rate, its a three hour ride. So we left three and a half hours prior to the game. And we were taking the train, so we only had to go to New Haven, hop aboard Metro-North, and cruise in comfort to 125th street, where we would catch the Subway and spend fifteen minutes or so packed like lemmings into a shiny metal box that smells sort of like a used urinal cake.

Except that the parking lot was full at the train station. And by the time we found another spot and cruised into the station the train we needed had departed by three minutes. And the next one wouldn't leave for an hour and we would miss at least half an hour of the game.

So being the man of action, and little forethought, that I am, I decide we'll drive into the Bronx. As we cruised along the Hutchinson Parkway, making great time, (OK, I may have violated some traffic rules having to do with speed), we were looking at getting to the game in time to maybe see some batting practice. And then we turned onto whatever highway it is, (the Cross Bronx, I think), that gets you to the Major Deegan, which gets you to the Stadium. And unfortunately, in addition to the Major Deegan, also gets you to the George Washington Bridge. Which, judging from the traffic jam we encountered, had apparently fallen into the Harlem River. We simply stopped moving. Eventually we crawled forward. And stopped. And crawled forward. And stopped. And crawled forward. And stopped. And suddenly swerved into another lane, cut off an 18-wheeler, shot forward three car lengths, and stopped. And crawled forward. And so on and so forth. For a fucking hour. Finally, just as I was starting to hallucinate that the Virgin Mother was beckoning me to drive myself and my first-born into the Harlem River, I saw the Major Deegan exit. I broke sixteen different traffic regulations cutting over three lanes in 15', hit the ramp at 60 and headed to the left of three poorly-marked options.

It was the wrong option.

So I drove through Harlem, keeping the Stadium, now separated from us by the Harlem River and the Virgin Mother, who was floating over said river doing a crossword puzzle and saying "Hey, don't look at me. I told you hit the water. You'd be at the Stadium now if you listened to me."

Eventually, I found another bridge and rocketed across it, straight into another traffic jam caused by everyone in the tri-state area, and three buses from Maryland, trying to find a place to park. By now I'm at my wit's end and the game has started, so I agree to pay $28 for valet parking just to get into the game before the 7th inning stretch.

Our seats sucked. They were in the top section, but at the bottom. To get to them one comes out of a ramp into the middle of the section, and then one has to complete a technical climb down to the seats. We were seated just close enough to the edge that a metal bar, which might give someone plunging over the edge false reason to hope, but no chance of survival, blocked our view of some unimportant parts of the field, like the plate and the pitcher's mound. So we moved our seats up a few rows where we sat in the sun and broiled for four hours, during the third of which the Virgin Mother again appeared, but this time with lemonade. There's a chance I may have been suffering heat stress, and since beer was $8.00 for Coors, I had resorted to recycling my own urine by then, so hallucinations were to be expected. Good lemonade though.

For most of the games the Yankees couldn't hit a curve-ball with an ironing board, (Quoting Steve Garvey describing Michael Jordan's chances for success at pro baseball), and they trailed 3-0 going into the 9th inning. But lo, hope springs eternal, and the Yankees put two men on base before Jorge Posada struck out swinging at a pitch that was both high and outside, thereby eliminating the chance to load the bases and creating two outs. A kid, (he's 28), named Shelley strode to the plate. Shelley Duncan. Big kid. Doesn't look like much in the thinking department. Hits a lot of home-runs. Also hits the air a lot as the ball zips past him. I'm yelling at him to hit a home-run for Christ's sake because I didn't turn my son into a sun-stroked vegetable on the Cross Bronx Expressway to see the Yanks get shut-out by the fucking Orioles. "Watch your mouth" said the Virgin Mother. "Blow it out your ass" I replied. "You don't like cussing, go buy a luxury box". As she was standing up to punch me, Duncan swung. We paused, hardly daring to hope, as the ball soard towards left field. Would it go foul? Would it stay fair?

It stayed fair, and my son, the apple of my eye, the whiskey in my liver, screamed with joy and wonder as his team came back from seemingly insurmountable odds to dramatically win the game. Or at least tie it. But surely after that they'd win it right?

Wrong. Because a man named Joe Torre hates little kids. To start the next inning Joe Torre, the "manager" of the Yankees, elected to put in Mariano Rivera, the Yankees vaunted, and aging-like-the-portrait-of-Dorian-Gray, closer. The guy who saves games. Not the guy who starts an inning with the score tied. And especially not the guy who starts such an inning when he's pitched in 3 of the last 4 games and in the last two of those got hit harder than a pinata at a Mexican meth addicts birthday party.

"Holy fucking Christ" said the Virgin Mother. "What the fuck is Torre doing? Doesn't he know that he has Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen. The kid with the rocket arm who hasn't pitched in a day? The kid no one in the majors has hit yet? What the fuck is the matter with him?" "Watch your mouth" I said, "there are kids around." To which she replied "Well then I hope they've got more fucking sense than Torre does, cuz he's about to piss this game away", and then disappeared into a taco shell. I took a sip of the lemonade, Rivera gave up two doubles and a home run, Torre never moved off the bench, and the Yankees lost.

The ride home took four hours. I'll spare you the details, but just know that if you ever need a honky to get you out of Harlem in 3 minutes, I'm your man.

Despite all this, I would go back again today just to see the look on my kid's face when Duncan hit that home run. And because I'm pretty sure the Virgin Mother took my wallet.

But next time? We're taking the fucking train.


Blogger Maggie said...

Had you been in a kilt, you'd have made the train, got better seats and the Virgin Mary would have felt you up.

Technically, I think putting Joe Torres and The Big V in the same blog entry makes you a heretic. Unless you're saying something like, "Holy Mother, Virgin Mary of All That is Baseball, please help Joe Torres to pull his head out."

But, what the hell do I know. I'm pagan.

11:12 AM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

And also not a baseball fan. It's Joe Torre, not Torres.

Not that it matters. All I know is he's killing the Yankees. Even my hallucinations make better decisions.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Luckily, I can spell "suspension".

12:22 PM  
Blogger tysgirl said...

"Despite all this, I would go back again today just to see the look on my kid's face when Duncan hit that home run."

Far sexier than scrawny dudes in kilts!

3:17 PM  
Blogger Litlsassy20 said...

So, how many new words did your boy learn on this trip???

4:48 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Considering I once unintentionally ended up in Harlem at 4:00 a.m. because I was too stupid to realize that the damned A train EXPRESS didn't stop near Union Seminary where I wanted to get off of it, I just may take you up on your offer.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Party Girl said...

There are many, many highlights of my World Tour I took in May, but the stories that bring the biggest smile and delight are the Yankee Game and simply being in Yankee Stadium (freezing my titties off.) (and being called a "good New York girl" by several people) and the Red Sox game where I am pretty sure the titties simply froze off it was so damn cold that night. But holy hell it was awesome.

Oh, and screaming like a little girl when several cars almost took out the taxi I was in from JFK to the hotel.
The subway smelled of old pee. say 100 years worth.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Yeah Him said...

The only time I ever went to the Bronx to see a game was in the playoffs against Texas (98). We got stuck in traffic until the 3rd and inning and missed the only offense of the game (Shane Spencer's homerun - you may remember him as he was on a tear that September).

Just another reason I wouldn't go back again, but that said, for you, I'm sure the Stadium is Mecca.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Rat In A Cage said...

Waaa waaaa waaaaa. A month from today I am going 3,000 miles to see a Yankees game. I'll be there 9/17. I think Mo fell on his fucking head this week. He's blown more than my stripper neighbor the past week or so, and I'm here to tell you - she really blows!

8:35 PM  
Blogger Motor City Monk said...

Make that 3 in a row losses for the sorry Yanks...GO TIGERS GO!!!

3:55 AM  
Blogger eclectic said...

You gave yourself a half-hour grace period to make a Yankees game three hours away? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! You are a funny man, Limpy.

Also? Go Tigers.

6:53 AM  
Blogger Traci said...

Since I've never been to Harlem, a Yankee game or seen the Virgin Mother, this was a great tour.

I have, however, seen a guy in a kilt and it was NOT a fine sight!

Win, lose or lost in the Bronx, I'm positive your son will remember this day, and all those you create just like it with him, forever.

You're a good man, Charlie

7:20 AM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

Tysgirl, well thank you darling. I'm still not paying your mortgage.

LS, it's funny that you think there are any words he doesn't already know.

Nick, actually, barring traffic, New York is one of the easiest cities to find your way around in. And for some reason, there wasn't much traffic in that area of Harlem.

PG, I've yet to come across a subway system that doesn't smell of urine. Boston's not too bad as long as it's above ground. Once you hit the underground stations though, all bets are off.

Yeah Him, Oh, I'd go back tonight if I had that sort of disposable income. I'm just never driving there again. And Mecca may be underselling the point.

Rat, it's not the flight that kills you, it's the drive in. Mo's my age for God's sake. Torre's just overusing him...again. I think Torre's a hell of a nice guy, but I can't ait until his contract's up and they sign Girardi.

Monk, have I said "fuck you" yet?

Eclectic, if we'd made the train, we would have plenty of time. The parking killed us. And no, we couldn't leave earlier, since my daughter's babysitter couldn't get there before 9:30. But you're correct, we needed everything to break right, and it didn't. Shouldn't you be rooting for the Mariners?

Traci, thanks. Glad you enjoyed the tour.

8:58 AM  
Blogger tysgirl said...

Wasn't looking for a pay off. I think it's great you do shit with your kids. You'd be surprised how many men don't.

don't get used to me being nice, it's the fever talking

10:51 AM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

Those aren't men.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Litlsassy20 said...

You said it Limpy........I have one of those NON-MEN X's............

11:13 AM  
Blogger Rat In A Cage said...

I would really like to see Giradi get a shot.

11:23 AM  
Blogger eclectic said...

Meh... the M's are so freakin' inconsistent this year, they just haven't overcome my soft spot for the Tigers, although ordinarily I like the M's well enough. My husband's grandad and great-uncle walked on to the Tigers back in the 40s, until their mom found out and literally came down to the dugout and yanked them home by their ears to work the farm. Somehow, I've just always liked that story.

12:10 PM  
Blogger dykewife said...

you make it sound like i might enjoy a baseball game. and then the drugs wear off and i come to my senses.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Brighton said...

I'll show you hell, try and sit through an Astro's game. Seriously, I've seen better little league games.

8:21 AM  
Blogger The Recovering Straight Girl said...

I had no idea that the Virgin Mary attended baseball games. And here I thought she only hung out in grilled cheese sandwiches.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Pixie said...

Sounds like Hell.

Look at it this way, at least it was an experience...

4:55 PM  
Blogger Rhonda said...

I hate to laugh at your misfortune but it's really quite funny!

7:22 PM  
Blogger Pud said...

Your trip to Yankee Stadium sounds like the typical commute I had in the DC area. Man I don't miss that.

10:07 PM  
Blogger puerileuwaite said...

I saw them lose to the Rockies out this way.

6:23 PM  
Blogger tysgirl said...

I know those aren't men, that was the point I was trying to make!

6:47 PM  
Blogger Lady K said...

It's worth all that pain just to see the look on your kid's face, isn't it?

I'm just trying to get over the fact that you actually went through Harlem.

8:01 AM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

LS: You have an X-Man!?!? That's so cool!! Is it Wolverine???

Rat, he might be better for a younger team, but I'd take him over Mattingly.

Eclectic, that was a good story. The farm probably payed better back then.

DW, believe me, you can get more drugs in the Bronx.

Brighton, Guess what, I went to high school with former Astro Jeff Bagwell! That would be so much cooler if we ever spoke to each other, but we didn't. I should have; I'd love to borrow money from him now.

RSG, She gets around that one. One day it's Lourdes, next day it's a piece of toast in Brooklyn.

Pixie, and entertaining blog fodder!

Rhonda, it really was funny when you think about it.

Pud, yes the daily commute in Baghdad must be so much easier.

Pug, thank you for that reminder. I beleive it was a sweep.

Tysgirl, consider it made.

LK, Harlem was the easiest part of the trip.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Great writing.

4:52 PM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

Thanks Dave

1:37 PM  

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