A few weekends ago I was convinced to attend a Madison Mallards game on Star Wars Night. While I've never had any interest in sports, my love for kitsch reeled me in.
But even Peter Mayhew and posing Stormtroopers couldn't keep me from leaving before the first pitch. As I sat in the bleachers, two dudes in front of me whipped out some peanuts, my personal kryptonite. All was well until the breeze lifted the shells and their evil protein particles in my general direction. I ducked into my shirt while my roommate heaved his body in front of mine as if he was saving me from some slow-motion drive-by shooting.
Needless to say, you can't buy me some peanuts and Crackerjack, 'cause I seriously doubt that I'll ever get back.
I had baseball-obsessed guests this past weekend hell-bent on seeing a game in every stadium possible, and that included Miller Park. "Yeah, I am totally down to see the Bruins!" I wrote them in an email. (I am clearly an ESPN junky.) It was me against the peanuts. Game on!
That's how I found myself in the middle of my own personal game. Object: how to attend a baseball game without dying from anaphylaxis.
Rules: Go to a Brewers game and have a good time while maintaining a pulse. Gear: Epi-pen, cell phone, baby wipes, close-toed shoes, folks who could soberly assist me in a time of need. Optional: surgical mask.
After sitting in an hour of traffic, due primarily to two cars who just had to stop in the middle of the freeway, we finally got a parking spot and were on our way to Miller Park. Because it was raining, the futuristic-looking, retractable roof was closed -- wind would not foil my sports-watching plans this time!
Our seats were sweet, squarely situated behind the pitcher's mound. I tip-toed around the piles of peanut shells and death refuse that littered the ground, and wiped my seat before planting my hiney. The big screen on the wall displayed, along with other advertisements, the phone number for an ambulance service. How accommodating.
We had a perfect view of the action -- including the cracking of the nonlethal nuts of the catcher. Some of the hijinks were expected: The booing of Barry Bonds when he was at bat. The token outfielder intermittently scratching his junk. The lack of foodstuffs to appease my guests' Coastie desires. (You can't get sausage and peppers here? This ain't no Shea Stadium!)
Other things blew expectations out of the park: There was the weird-ass mascot, who slid down the kiddie slide amid fireworks and cheers after a home run. The meat product dash run by men dressed in 10-foot sausage outfits, including a polish sausage, a brat and the winner of the race, le hot dog. And the fans, who were not overtly drunk, loud, crass or likely to punch out cars and then pass out on stoops on their way home. (Take that, Boston!)
All these glorious things unfolded before my slightly itchy eyes and masked face. I got some looks like I was good friends with that TB scare guy, but at least I am still alive. If socialites can go gallivanting about without panties, I can wear a damn surgical mask; I'm bringing sexy back -- to the days of influenza!
Seeing the Bruins, the Braves, the Brewers, whatever, at Miller Park was definitely more than just a baseball game. It was a fun experience that you, too, can survive. Score!