Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Best of Cheers, The Worst of Cheers
By Blogger

I had a dream last night.

I was in the left field bleachers at the ballpark in San Francisco during an afternoon game. The sun was out, there were a few thin strands of white clouds meandering by. 40,000 fans looked down on the empty field, grass devoid of patterns, as it should be, dirt freshly raked, and a baseball nestled against the rubber.

In the first inning, the crowd made a low rumble as the Giants took the field. Barry Bonds jogged out to his position in left field, but we bleacher fans sat on our hands. Though we didn't clap, we were smiling. We talked about our team and compared them to the Cardinals, our opponents today. I got into an argument with a stranger about Tony LaRussa. Apparently, I despise him even in my dreams.

The game went on. We chanted at and heckled their guys. We clapped and yelled for our guys. Durham? Sure. He got applause. Pedro Feliz? We hate him, because he's a hacker, but he's our hacker. Mike Matheny? Saver of countless runs from behind the dish, loser of countless potential runs in the batter's box. We clapped for him. Barry Bonds came to the plate, and the ballpark noise lowered to a murmur. He swung. He connected. The ball rocketed off the brick wall in right center. Bonds jogged into second base. Murmur.

In the bottom of the eighth, LaRussa decided to make a double switch, removing Mulder. In his place, and going out to left, #49 came jogging out onto the field.

I stood up. I exhorted my fellow bleacher fans to rise and applaud for the Cardinals' substitute outfielder. I called upon my compatriots to cheer and let Rick Ankiel know that we appreciated his accomplishment, his return to Major League Baseball from the most humiliating two weeks a ballplayer has experienced in recent memory.

A group a few rows ahead of me stood to clap, and another group to my right. Yet another group in the section to my left. We cheered. And cheered. Ankiel tipped his cap, then we sat.

Just as in the final scene of Dead Poets Society, some people choose to stand, and others choose to remain sitting.

True story. My dream last night.


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