Dear Darren Pitra [Director of Marketing; Quad City River Bandits]:
I am not sure my River Bandits’ hat fits properly. What is your organization’s return policy?
I kid. I kid. While the River Bandits’ hat does not fit as well as my ‘Pecker hat, it feels pretty good, especially since I took the cardboard out. It is a little snug, and at first I thought you sent me a youth hat because it is much smaller than my ‘Pecker hat. I have a big head though.
I will not be returning the hat, but probably will be looking to buy a better fitting one when I pass through town this summer – and a shirt in my size. I hope you sell polo shirts because they look official, almost as if I work for the team. When I wear my 66ers polo on the road, quite often the front office of the teams I am visiting think I am an official employee of the 66ers and are much more open to baseball discussions.
Once in Billings, Montana, some dude who was large and in charge pulled me into an office and procured a bottle of Wild Turkey from a desk drawer. We had a couple of shots and shared tales of the road. Normally, I am a bourbon snob, but at 10:30 in the morning as a guest in Pioneer League ballpark, you take what is offered and like it. He was wearing a polo shirt too.
Now sometimes wearing a polo shirt can give someone an inflated sense of worth that can lead to trouble, like the security guard at Southwest University Park in El Paso, Texas. I will admit I was uncharacteristically short with this person. Perhaps it was the two shots of tequila I had with breakfast. Perhaps it was the fact that this baseball stadium’s corporate sponsor doesn’t even have an athletic program. Perhaps it was the memories of the incredible amount of flies in the bathroom of the University of Alabama’s student center a couple of days before. Perhaps it was the inflated beer prices of the California League weighing heavily on my mind. Most likely though, it was the fact that the little pissant security guard was a dick, drunk on his imaginary power, and his polo was and frumpy.
Little Bads85 and I had been hanging out in the team store before the gates opened, sharing some ORAL TRADITION with the employees when he had a bathroom emergency. One of the employees let us into the concourse to use the restroom, holding our desired merchandise. Above the urinals, there was a large sign that said, “Those with short bats please stand closer to home plate.” “If you are worried about bat size, you got no game at all,” was my response. We had not purchased tickets yet, but we were going to when the wife and daughter met us.
In the meantime, all we wanted was a picture of the inside of the stadium. In the digital age, that is not an outlandish request. We thought a picture of the beautiful park, sent via text, would speed up the women folk in our party. As we went to snap one, some young twenty something wearing a wrinkled polo shirt that was way too large for his scrawny body began yelling at us.
Security Guard: You don’t belong in here! You need to leave immediately!
Me: Calm down, Killer. We just went to the bathroom and are going to take a picture –—
SG—Bathroom? Who let you in? I will have their ass!
Me: Just calm down. We are buying tickets —.
SG: So what? The park isn’t open yet. You are trespassing.
Me: Arrest me then.
Me: Arrest me, Law Dawg. Pull your piece and be done with it.
SG: I don’t have a weapon, but I will call the cops.
Me (very irritated at this point): That is right call, the REAL COPS. Have them come down here to arrest me so we can all laugh at your exuberance.
SG: I don’t like your tone.
Me: I don’t care, Law Dawg. Make the call. Let’s have at it.
SG: I just need you to leave and for you to tell me who let you in.
Me: Water board us.
Me: Torture us. We have secrets. We are enemies of the state. (pointing to LB) Do you know how many overdue library books this kid has?
SG: Are you being a smart ass?
Me: (to LB) Let’s go.
SG: YOU CAN”T WALK AWAY FROM ME!
Me: We already have.
The Security Guard followed us back to the team shop, making all sorts of ridiculous threats, which we ignored. When we arrived, he began yelling at the employees in the team shop.
SG (to employees): I am going to have all of you fired!
Me: No, you aren’t. Shut your mouth.
Head Cashier: Don’t mind him. He is like this all the time.
Me: Really? Call your supervisor and get him her here.
Supervisor (with incredibly large breasts): I am already here.
Me: Look, my family would have probably dropped at least two hundred bucks here today. We will never come back because of that dickhead. Pass that along to the appropriate people.
Head Cashier (handing me a bag with our merchandise): Don’t forget your stuff.
Me: Are we square?
Head Cashier: Most definitely.
And out the door we went.
LB: I saw what you did there.
Me: What are you talking about?
LB: We never paid for our shirts. You stuck it to THE MAN!
Me: They let us have them because that guy was such a jerk.
LB: Sure thing, Dad.
Me: We need to get going. We have a game in San Bernardino and miles to go before we sleep.
Anyway, if one wears the polo, one should respect the polo. I am sure you understand that, Darren.
Your friend in baseball,
PS: Can you believe all the silly outrage over Bohemian Rhapsody and the Oscars, mostly from chucklefucks who grew up on The Offspring?