Monday, July 19, 2010

Grace under stupidity

In my town we have a Triple-A baseball team that’s been having a pretty good season. (Ken Levine, whose indispensably hilarious blog can be found in the list at right, used to be a team announcer.)

Every so often some friends and I go out to a game.

On Saturday night, we’re sitting in the second row, way down the first-base line, where relief pitchers from the opposing teams often warm up.

It’s the top of the ninth, and the opposing team is enough runs behind so that it seems doubtful that it’ll catch up to our team. And by this time a bunch of players have congregated on the bench below us.

They’re probably not having a lot of fun.

Just below us, a guy and his young son have a pretty good chunk of the first row all to themselves and plainly are having a lot of fun, in a nice, wholesome, father-and-son way that’s always nice to see.

When along comes this drunk, maybe in his twenties.

The drunk plops himself down right next to the father, who looks at him.

For a moment I wonder whether the two know each other.

It’s clear from the way the father looks the guy over that the two aren’t friends and aren’t going to be friends any time soon.

The drunk doesn’t say anything to the father or the kid.

But he does decide it would be a great idea to begin heckling the players who are sitting on the bench.

I realize things could get ugly.

I leave it to behavioral scientists to determine exactly how stupid one has to be to get almost literally in the face of a group of men who are doubtless in better shape than at least most of the people in the stands, and who probably have at least a great deal of dexterity when it comes to wielding a baseball bat, and who could probably without undue exertion track down someone in a parking lot and beat that person to any of at least several degrees of pulpiness.

All I know is, professional athletes these days aren’t routinely touted as top prospects for openings in the diplomatic corps.

At one point, the drunk says, “Hey, what are you guys doing after the game? Gonna go out to the grocery store and bag some groceries?”

At which point, one of the players turns and calmly says, “Why should I go after your job?”

According to the people scoring the game that night, that player’s team lost.

According to me, the guys on that bench scored a more important type of victory, without laying a hand on anyone.

Good save.

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