The Softer Side of Live Baseball

8 Sep

On Wednesday thanks to Cousin Chad I was able to experience a live MLB game in a entirely new way: a “let us make you feel special” way. Before I get into how it went down in the $169 per ticket UMB Champions Club, let me run through the bullshit that comes along with the common man’s pass into Busch Stadium.

Let’s start with the beer vendors. They’re crawling all over the joint. The stadium holds 46,861 fans and 24,430 beer vendors. Once a year they give out beer vendors to the first ten thousand paid fans. And that’s great when you need to buy an eight dollar beer every five minutes, but for those like me who are against loud, sweaty people selling shit nonstop when you’re trying to watch baseball it’s past irritating by the end of the first half inning. The cotton candy vendors are not as loud or plentiful, so they get a pass here.

Then we have the fans. Again, they’re all over the place. And 90% of them drink at least five beers. That creates 42,000 drunks who spend a third of their time in the restroom, another third in a semi-conscious state drooling onto their $35 Cardinal t-shirts, and the last third yelling about anything and everything. Oh my God–the yelling. Nothing’s too mundane for the committed blowhards, not even a ground crew member smoothing some dirt.

“Who needs another beer!? I NEED ANOTHER BEER! Beer Guy! Beer Guy!”

“Cardinals RUUULLLE!”

“Rake that dirt, duuuude!”

The male restroom experience is horrifying. Of course the most offensive drunks are pissing all over the place and wobbling out without even glancing at a sink. The semi-sober dudes are in such a hurry to get back to the game that they walk away from the latrine before they’re finished urinating. Their dribble lines turn into a wet, slick mess. Then they scurry out looking around to see if anyone’s noticed them foregoing the whole time-consuming hand washing business. I might be the only one keeping score on that.

Now let’s move on to a better way to experience a baseball game. The UMB Champions Club ticket is all-inclusive, which means one could theoretically consume $500 worth of food and drink. Once the nice grey-haired man slid the band on our wrists and opened the glass doors, we were part of the “club.” It’s like watching the game from an upscale, buffet-style restaurant and lounge with two full bars, private restrooms, and an outdoor patio that overlooks a spectacular view of the game.

The vendors were replaced with servers, all using their “inside” voices. Chefs wearing tall, white hats carved delicate meats. I sat in a cushy chair next to a wall of flat-screen TVs. The food was delicious.

When the game started we exited another set of glass doors and sat in our reserved, covered seats under ceiling fans and conveniently placed TVs broadcasting the game. Just imagine combining the conveniences of watching a baseball game from home and the sights and smells of the live experience. Though we could hear the usual grating noises of the common sections, they were muffled, like the vendors were in another room with the drunks. Beer was not spilled on my back. The seats were cushioned and comfortable. No sun scorching my face. And I didn’t get into a single “armrest” battle with an overbearing seat neighbor.

Despite the things I complained about, attending a baseball game in the typical way (with the peasants) is one of life’s pleasures for a true fan. The vendors and beer and ballpark food are part of the experience. Even the belligerent fans are charming in there own way. But now that I know of this princely mode of taking in live baseball, I’ll always be longing for it as I’m digging peanut shells from the back of my shirt and hopping over  urine puddles.

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