Thursday, June 01, 2006

Scenes from the field level seats

I gave up my usual perch in Section 407 for Wednesday night’s game for a chance to sit amongst the fortunate sons and other recipients of corporate graft in Section 102. Here’s a rundown of the evening’s sights and sounds:

Pregame – Not sure who was this night’s VP of Marketing designated to throw out the first pitch, but he drills it in the dirt about 8 feet in front of the plate. Brayan Pena makes the save of the night. We have to abstain from ridiculing the poor sod, because his family is sitting in front of us.

Suchita Vadlamani of Fox 5’s Good Day Atlanta is tonight’s honorary captain. Wow! The seating upgrade has already paid off. How is it that I haven’t seen her before? No more Mike and Mike in the Morning when I’m getting ready for work.

First inning – We’re right across the aisle from the scouts’ section, and I glance over and immediately recognize Dennis Martinez. I believe that El Presidente is now working as a consultant for the Orioles.

Arriving on the other side of us, just in time for her husband’s at bat, is Mia Hamm. She takes a seat in the second row of the visiting team’s box. I don’t recognize anyone else in the box. Frank McCourt definitely isn’t there, and nobody has a hairpiece bad enough to be Ned Coletti’s.

Second inning – Absent from the visiting team box, but now sitting by Dennis Martinez in the scout’s section, is Dodger Assistant GM Kim Ng. Not sure how you pronounce that, but I think you pronounce it like you're making fun of a hairlip. Kim apparently prefers to keep company with people interested in baseball, rather than the celebrities in the team box, which is why she’ll be the first female GM.

Third inning – Here’s where the game was won. Of particular note is Andre Ethier’s dropped ball. He takes a good razzing from Mr. First Pitch, who exhibits Kennedyesque hubris in ridiculing the faults of others.

Fourth inning – By now every teenage girl in the lower level is aware of the presence of the US’s Greatest Women’s Soccer Player. There’s a steady wave of girls running down to the end of the aisle to snap a photo of her watching the game. What they are getting are photos of someone who looks like they couldn’t possibly be less interested in the game.

Fifth inning – Time for some scoreboard watching. Obviously worthy of note is the scoreless duel between between Brandon Webb and Pedro Martinez. What we need is the D-Backs to win, but for the game to go about 18 to tire out their pen. Oscar Villareal in particular wants to see someone other than Webb get the win so he can close in on the league leader for best record. Dennis Martinez knows that a no-decision for Pedro means that he gets to keep the title of All-Time Winningest Latin American Pitcher for another five days.

Sixth inning – Nomar homers, and gets nothing more than a golf clap from his wife. Nomar’s torn groin must have some lingering effects, because she doesn’t look like a satisfied woman.

Seventh inning – Sandy Alomar Jr. enters the game. We ponder how old he is, and I note that he’s so old that his younger brother is retired. I guess that he’s 40, then look it up in the program. He turns 40 in 18 days. I also notice that it’s Kenny Lofton’s 39th birthday. And I didn’t get him anything…

Keeping with Dodger tradition, Mia Hamm leaves in the bottom of the 7th.

The Diamondback-Met game has now gone to extras, still knotted at 0-0. Both starters are gone.

Eighth inning – Villareal enters the game with a 9-2 lead. We speculate whether El Buitre is intending on giving up 7 runs so he can vulture another win. Bobby won’t give him the chance, pulling him after 1 run surrendered.

Ninth inning – Ken Ray takes care of business and gets us out of there without further ado. Nice to see a game from this vantage point every once in a while, but I’m looking forward to slumming it when the D-backs get into town for this weekend’s series.

JGraham

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