A beige poodle groans at me while I’m paying for my vanilla vegan ice cream minutes before taking the train to the Yankee stadium with a buddy of mine. It’s a long ride but worth the wait for my first ever major league baseball game. On the way we meet a girlfriend (down from Chicago) who’s coming to watch the game with us. She’s quite drunk already as we hop on the tube.
I was expecting super-hot cheerleaders in skimpy Yankee gear getting ready to do cartwheels for the team. And after the somersaults, they’d shake colourful pom poms in everybody’s faces and go back to standing on each other shoulders in pyramid formations singing the hot cheerleader song.
Though I didn’t quite catch a glimpse of that, I did see hordes of girls repping their team sporting the Yankee logo from head to toe. It was a pretty sight. I wasn’t sure if they actually enjoyed baseball or were there just to get brownie points with their boyfriends.
Opening scene: a mob of fans queue up at the stadium entrance, with more metal detectors than the Whitehouse. I am always suspect, with my thick beard and twirled moustache, but not this time. We walk in easy.
Entrance to the stadium
I head straight to the drink counter and ask for one big beer.
“That’ll be 12.50$ please” she says feigning a smile.
“Hold on, let me just call my granny for my inheritance money in advance so I can pay for this”, I reply smirking.
“Haha. Sorry it’s the yankee stadium. Beer is expensive.” she says laughing.
I took the beer. Of course I did. In the beer’s defense, it tasted earthy. Which I found to be a good thing, considering it wasn’t my first drink of the day and I need variation.
Note to self: Let me sip it slow filling my mouth with some, every half hour so it lasts me atleast 2.2 hours. We were far from rested though: the past week had been one of an unprecedented profligate lifestyle with very little sleep and many hardbound nights.
Our view at the grandstand level
There was excitement all around as the game started. 50,000 people, 18 players on 2 teams plus enough beer and hotdogs to choke New York. Do the math. The game got better by the pitch. The basic rules of cricket apply, whichever team scores higher runs wins. And the Yankees were smashing the Tampa Bay Rays.
Observations I gathered from ongoing rule commentary and banter from fellow spectators:
- Never buy a hot dog unless you’re buying 3.
- Beer is not meant to be sipped like wine. It’s meant be finished in big gulps.
- Cheer with everybody because that’s cordial.
- Wear atleast one piece of yankee clothing to pretend to fit in.
- Don’t ask the same person what the score is, twice in the same minute.
- Even though it’s a 5 hour game, it doesn’t feel that long if you do 1 strange thing every 10 minutes. Like asking the girl next to you “If she’s ever done it on the baseball ground after everyone leaves”. “Yeah twice” she says.
At some point, I start chatting with the dude on my right who has a face like Frodo. He happens to be here with his girlfriend and a few of their girls from Cali who are down for the weekend. 3 girls from the group are so excited that they bring out what seems to be brown toilet paper and start wrapping their waists and tatas with it.
Girls wear their fave: brown toilet paper
While everybody keeps switching from watching the game to chit chatting and drinking, I figure that a Yankee game is synonymous with social watching as opposed to a basketball game which is much more of an intensive closer-to-the-court experience.
After an animated conversation with the large group next to me about world travel, bacon pretzels and life in Egypt, I decide to walk off to explore the stadium. But not before a girl in the group excitedly asks me:
“What are the rules in Zebra baseball?” she blurts out resulting in everyone staring at her weirdly.
“No hyenas allowed?” I say fairly confused.
“No. Three stripes and you’re out” and she bursts out laughing with everyone joining in one by one as they get it.
The group next to us with their best hats on.
I walk up a few flights of stairs to the main section to find some fun people.
Also might I add here that I am a huge fan of matching people up and navigating situations in ways that lead to the desired ending, which can sometimes be messy. Always expect surprises.
As I keep strolling, I walk into 2 girls and one dude who is trying his best to chat up one of the girls. The girl’s sister keeps telling him to fuck off. I have to jump in. It’s time for a rescue mission. To facilitate a romantic connection using my experience in social dynamics.
“Hey guys…whats going on here?” I say assertively in a tone similar to how their dad would talk to them.
Will (the dude being hated on) sheepishly whispers to me “I’m talking to the girl I like and her sister is being such a bitch. Wtf”
Even if the girl wants to hook up with Will, she won’t take any initiative if the sister doesn’t approve of the guy. So the plan is to split them up and get the girl and Will alone.
I split up the group by taking the sister to grab some ice cream. She gives me the entire recap on the “invasive dude” including every single emotion she’s feeling. Typical.
In the meantime I signal to Will to walk his girl somewhere, who by now was getting restless and shifty twirling her hair, because he wasn’t saying much to her. Once isolated from her sister, the girl is more likely to do what she wants without any fear of being judged.
I look back to see how Will is doing and see the girl laughing and hitting his arm teasingly. Bravo. While my girl (sister) starts eating ice cream, she starts asking me who I am. I tell her I’m a Siberian secret service agent and I’m there to find out if she’s been bad.
“Haha. That dude was being douchy. I think my sister likes him though”
“Ok enough about that already and tell me about your life.”
“Well I’m Kirsten and I want to be a Siberian princess!”
“I knew it. You’d become a liability though like the kidnapped love interest in a James Bond movie.”
She hits me hard on my arm and grabs my phone and puts her number in there. She must like secret service agents.
As I turn back to see what Will is upto, I see him and his girl passionately kissing with smiles in between. And so the rescue mission came to fruition. Mission Accomplished, Roger out.
Tip 1: Be confident but not oblivious. If somebody in the environment seems to be an obstacle, disarm them with ease. That displays social skill to the girl too. Stay sharp.
Tip 2: Know your strengths and wear it on your sleeve. If you’re passionate about something nerdy, talk about it while not creeping her out and she will feel you’re congruent and one with yourself. In short the real deal.
Good action trumps great ideas.
Until next time.
By Roshmin Mehandru