As is customary in all great adventures, this one started with a journey. I knew not entirely what awaited me, but the camera of my mind was loaded and I would be capable of plenty of snapshots. I was going to take a daring trek. I was to travel to the "Ballpark." My traveling companions were quite familiar with the terrain, and would assist me as much as possible. For the first leg of our journey we would ride in hospitable surroundings, a posh Mercury station wagon. Here my mates and I chatted and prepared ourselves, as we ventured into the mists. Our final destination: AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Sitting on a jetting peninsula in the cold waters of the north, as millions had done before us, we arrived at the park. My guide, a ballpark veteran and my father-in-law, was responsible for the expedition and bartered passage into the mighty fortress. I was amazed at the sheer size of this place and the number of locals it supported. It seemed to me that we would never reach its inner bowels as we climbed the concrete steps leading up to it’s gaping opening. Once inside my survival instincts kicked in. I deftly maneuvered the crowds in an attempt to locate our dwelling for the next few hours. A choice location by which to study the locals and their customs.
Once our seats had been secured we were off for the second necessity of survival, nourishment. The local food supply leaves little to complain about, pork in abundance, pizza, and a local favorite: garlic fries. This last item, coupled with a fermented beverage, was the locals way of securing what little territory they were able to occupy. As was the custom, one buys pork products, garlic fries, and beer. The main goal is to return to your seat with the majority of your food still in your possession. Understand that this is no small feat, given the shear number of arms, legs and steps to navigate.
Once you have resumed your seat, the trick is to find a spot to store your spoils. Nothing is to be lost, and a garlic fry that falls from it’s paper nest is to be regarded as a stray offspring and mourned to this effect. The only exception to this is the beer. As best I could make out, beer is sloshed on your feet, pants, and shirt as you return to your chair, sort of like a ballpark style perfume.
For those unwilling to give up their post, food is carted around the stadium in crates. You need a keen eye and loud voice to catch the attention of passing vittles. Additionally you need a strong stomach as your meal is past from strange hand to strange hand before it reaches you. I imagine an isle seat would better suit me in the future.
Being an outsider, I proceeded at once to the local mercantile and purchased a headpiece. I have to say, this camouflage turned out to be a very wise choice. I was able to walk amongst the locals unnoticed. With the smell of garlic fries and sausage on my breath, my disguise was complete. Apparently it is acceptable to holler and beat others as long as they bear your markings. These are friendly approaches by the locals. Remain calm, laugh, slap them back and then slosh a portion of your beer on them. This will ensure you are accepted into the clan.
As titans battled for supremacy in the center of our arena, the locals observed their own customs. Our job, besides watching the battle unfold, was to respond to a large glowing billboard that bombarded us with commands. "Stand", "Make Noise", "Louder", "Stretch", and so forth. No one seemed to find these instruction odd, and in fact, many enjoyed the events thoroughly. Not wanting to show my lack of experience to fellow clan-members, I followed with the group. Enthusiasm for these activities built to a deafening roar. I also believe that the excitement was directly proportional to the ever growing aroma of beer. Clearly a further study on the matter would prove interesting.
While this was taking place we were also required to quarrel with each other. This took the form of breast beating, arm waving and taunting. At this point I could only watch. The dance was quite complex, and the language needed to be scary, loud, or witty to win support from your clan. Some were skilled and elevated by the others to near celebrity heights. Others were removed due to poor performances. This is referred to as the drunken walk of shame. There is very little love for those that have fallen from the clans good graces. Numerous interaction of this nature took place, and many disgraced clans people were ushered out of their dwelling places by the local constabulary.
All in all it was a night well spent. Our team was victorious and our efforts on their behalf were most welcomed. Those not wearing our colors were sadden, pitied and severely jeered. After a time we all stood in unison as the glowing board went out. We followed its lead once again, and also departed. My throat was horse, my odor horrific, but my spirits were high. I cant wait to return to those ballplayers in the mists.