“It’s not raining hard enough to stop the game, but it is raining too hard to start it.”
That was my brilliant observation at about minute 90 of the 2 1/2 hour rain delay at last night’s Cubs/Braves game. To which Jaimie and Mat replied with that nod of the head you do when you want to recognize that someone has said something but what they said doesn’t really deserve a response.
The Jaimie I am referring to is my girlfriend, and the Mat in this scenario is playwright and all around interesting human Mat Smart. Mat and I are what you would call friends-in-law. We share a common friend, Adam Knight, and over the many years we have developed a relationship of our own. This friendship has two pillars: 1) Our love of theatre. 2) Our love of the Cubs. He is from Chicago and came by his fandom naturally. I am from South Carolina and developed my love from afar. While I would say our obsession with the team is pretty even, he does have slightly more chill than I do. Earlier this year I texted him, “Tonight feels like a huge game.” He responded, “Dude, it’s May. Pace yourself.”
One of Mat’s claims to fame is that he has been to every Major League Ball Park. So when the Braves opened a new stadium, Mat was like, “I’ll be there in July.”
How to describe the new Braves stadium, SunTrust Park? First off, it’s named after a bank so go fuck yourself. Second, they moved from a perfectly good stadium in the middle of downtown to one of those Corporate Office Parks. You know those places that sucked the soul out of your father? Those places were they are really proud of all the parking. You know that feeling you get when you go to Panera? Like how you can almost convince yourself that you’re at a cool cafe and not inside a massive conglomerate? Like no matter how much Broccoli Cheddar soup you eat, it can’t hide the shame that you’ve just put 12 Mom and Pops out of business? That’s kind of the same feeling I had at SunTrust Park.
The team encourages you to take Uber, and I encourage them to keep playing baseball near a FREAKING MARTA STOP! We drove and it took an hour an a half to go 14.6 miles. It’s fine. This is Atlanta, and that’s actually pretty normal. The problem was the parking.
Ok, I admit I am a little frugal. I’m not cheap. I will give you whatever I have whenever I have it. But I like a bargain as much as anyone. For example: before the game I went to Target and got a big bag of peanuts, three waters, and a multi-pack of single serving Lays Potato Chips for us to enjoy during the game. Jaimie and Mat made fun of me, and called me “dad.” Then the fifth inning rolled around and they were like:
Mat and Jaimie: Hey, you got any of those waters?
Davey: Oh, you mean the waters you made fun of me for buying ahead of time?
Mat and Jaimie: Yeah, those waters.
Davey pulls water out of bag. Opens the bottle and slowly pours its contents on the cold cement.
Davey: Burn in hell.
End of play
So the parking. I bought parking ahead of time, and I bought the cheapest lot. I’m sorry I’m not one of those guys who’s like looking to buy name brand parking. I’m sorry I saw the cheapest option and was like, “Yeah, I mean that should be fine.” Well it turns out the stadium is in Cobb County and the cheapest parking lot is Chattanooga, TN. I’m only partially kidding. It wasn’t in Chattanooga. But it was 2 AND A HALF MILES FROM THE STADIUM! I felt like Clark Griswold. Here I was trying to save a few bucks and now I have to take a bus, A LITERAL YELLOW SCHOOL BUS, to the stadium.
I was annoyed. And I made a snarky comment to the bus driver. I’m not proud of it. Like anyone from SunTrust or the Braves or Cobb County asked this guy what he thought about the parking plans of the new stadium. He was just trying to do his job, get us to the game safely, and here I am saying, “Can’t believe how far they got us out here.”
I think that is mankind’s problem in a nutshell. It’s the real tragedy of war and strife between nations. Here is SunTrust Bank and Delta and the Braves making all these decisions about where stadiums are and where parking should be, and here I am mad at this nice person they’ve hired to drive the bus. I thanked him on the way out and promised myself I would try and be a better person next time.
So we get to the stadium. And that’s when the rain starts falling out of a clear blue sky. “The devil’s beating his wife,” I heard someone say. That’s what we say when that happens. It’s a horrible if you think about it. Here is one of the most beautiful, awe inspiring things in all of nature, and when it happens we reference Satan, the Prince of Darkness himself, abusing his wife. I think we should start saying horrible things for other natural events. Like when we’re looking at a beautiful sunset, we should say, “Wow, an angel just starved to death.” Or when we see a soft snow fall, “Look- someone's Grandma didn’t get into heaven.”
We took our seats and the rain kept raining. But that is the magic of a baseball park. It’s almost impossible to be mad in one. It’s not like a football stadium where everyone is trying to kill each other.
The way the light hit the rain was hypnotizing.
Showing the kids dancing on the Jumbotron was amusing.
And as I cracked my peanuts I bought from Target, sitting next to Mat and Jaimie, everything felt right. It didn’t matter that I had chemo next week or that money has been tight or that the parking lot made me lose faith in humanity. We were about to watch baseball. What’s cooler than that?
The game finally started at around 10:15. We won and Mat, Jaimie, and I stayed until the the very last strike. And there at 1:45 in the morning, was a guy driving the shuttle bus. And cops directing traffic. I thought about all the lovely people I’ve met in the chemo room. The people who bring the snacks. The woman who checks me in. My nurse who draws my blood and tells me her opinions on comedy. We’re just people trying to make the best of the situations that nature and our bodies and corporations put us in.
Maybe the secret is to just be nice. And of course, to pace yourself.