Is there anything better in the summer than a minor league baseball game on a hot, humid night?
I know! We thought the same thing the other evening and decided to attend an Omaha Royals game. "The Royals have had a pretty good season so far this year," my husband told us as he drove us to the stadium, "58 wins and 57 losses!"
A short time later, we made it up to the ticket window. "I’d like four reserved seats," he yelled under the ticket window that is apparently made of bullet and sound proof glass because the ticket lady shouted, "HOW MANY TICKETS DO YOU WANT?"
My husband yelled back, "FOUR!"
"BEHIND THIRD PLATE OR BEHIND HOME PLATE?" she bellowed.
"WHICH IS BETTER?" my husband shouted.
"This is going to take forever," I muttered to the children who were already so hot they were melting into the sidewalk like the Wicked Witch of the West did in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy threw water on her.
Finally my husband produced four tickets and said, "We have 18 dollars left."
"But we started with 50!" I replied.
"We have great seats!" he said over his shoulder as he took off into the stadium. We found our seats quickly, crawled across 35 sweaty people, and sat down.
As I whispered, "Everyone else must have thought these were great seats too!" a small child behind me threw an empty peanut shell in my hair. His mother quickly reprimanded him which immediately caused him to throw a 45-minute tantrum, which he decided to perform just two inches from my left ear.
I grimaced at my husband who always knows the right thing to say at the right time and said, "It’s dollar drink night. How about a cold beer?"
"I’m thirsty too," both our kids said at once. "And hungry!"
"Is it dollar entrée night also?" I said sarcastically as I picked an ice cube out of my lap that the toddler sitting three seats down from me had thrown in my direction.
"Let me see what I can do with 18 dollars," he said as he looked grateful to leave what we had now affectionately called "The Romper Room aisle."
A few minutes later my husband returned with two hot dogs and half a beer. As he crawled over the 35 sweaty people in our row, the toddler accidentally knocked the beer out of his hand in his attempt to lob another ice cube in my lap. It seemed like a horror movie in slow motion as I watched the beer slowly pour out of the can and one of the hot dogs spill out of its foil wrapper on to the sticky concrete. "Kids," I said, "It looks like we’ll all be sharing one hot dog and if you get thirsty, you can use the drinking fountain."
As our kids began crying as my son asked, "Are we really poor? Are we going to be homeless? And I thought you told us to never use the drinking fountain because there’s more bacteria on there than on a dirty toilet seat!"
I sighed. "No, we are not going to be living outside the stadium tonight and I was just kidding about the bacteria. There’s only one million bacteria living on a drinking fountain – not the two million like I originally told you."
My husband sat down and stared at the lonely hot dog in his hand. "When I opened the first beer, half of it sprayed out all over the woman who sold it to me. Then I went to buy four hot dogs and I found out they were $7.00 each, so I could only afford two. All of that work made me thirsty, so I went back, bought two beers and downed them both. I brought back the half a beer for you and the two hot dogs for all of us to split and well … you know the rest of the story."
This reminded me of the time when my husband and I were really poor (just last week) and we went to a movie. We could only afford one small popcorn and one small soda. Just as we were ready to sit down, my arm knocked my husband’s arm and he dumped the entire popcorn all over the floor. We stared at that popcorn for a long time on the floor of that theater and debated whether we should scoop it up and eat it. We never did, but just the fact that we were seriously thinking about it tells you just how poor we really were.
My husband pulled a wet dollar out of his pocket. "The good news is that we have one dollar left! We can split a beer later."
"Oh boy," I said as I ate my one inch of hot dog. I rubbed my stomach, "I guess this means we won’t be eating peanuts and Cracker Jacks like the song, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" talks about, will we?"
Let’s face it. Baseball is an expensive sport to watch because there’s no way you can go to a game without eating. Baseball team owners know this fact and that’s why they play that song over and over again while the players warm up and that’s why they then charge $7.00 for a hot dog and $5.00 for a small soda. Someone has to help them pay back their $700 million dollar home equity loan they had to get to buy the team.
Lucky for our family, our evening ended on a good note. On the way out of the stadium, a bread company was conducting a promotion and was throwing loaves of bread at people’s heads who were leaving the game early. We managed to catch three loaves. I figure we made $10.00 before we left the gate.
As we drove home, we all happily munched our dry wheat bread. "You see?" I said to my son. "This bread is way better than peanuts and Cracker Jacks anyway!"
That statement scored a home run with everyone.