6.10.2007

Fuck you, Game On. I'm taking your exclamation point away

I was walking to the Registry of Motor vehicles the other day. There are a couple of obvious things about that statement, but that's not where I'm going with this.

I stepped out in front of a pickup truck driven by a man dressed in red. He shouted obscenities. If you live in Massachusetts and a driver is shouting obscenities, you come to assume that you are the object of their aggression. He recognized that in me instantly and pulled up alongside.

"Schilling blew a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth!"

I love that you can shout that to a bystander and have a good chance that they're going to care. Common culture is a dying concept, and baseball in Boston is one of its last great bastions. Suddenly my destination lost its importance. At this moment I needed to be somewhere; edge my fingers closer to the pulse.

Which is the great thing about sports bars.

Beers are too damned expensive at the ballpark to have the same camaraderie that takes place in a sports bar. You may not be at the park, but the game is on and the fans are rowdy and the person sitting next with you is far more likely to sleep with you. I looked to my right. The man in the truck hadn't followed. Perhaps for the best. But instead I saw my doppelganger. It was as if I was looking into a funhouse mirror, which rather than stretching my body converting my features into those of a blond, hip, gay man from California. It's time like these that you hope that your friends were just busting your balls when they accused you of narcissism. I braced myself for the ninth most awkward moment in recorded history.

Luckily I was saved by a call and didn't have to deal with him.

It was an old friend, who soon joined me along with his former roommate -- a film major who bears a striking resemblance to about seven other film majors I've met -- and his former roommate's current roommate. The night took a turn, shifted gears, and then decided to screw with me and leave me in the dust. Somehow I found myself walking by that same establishment on the way to the AMC Fenway. On the screen, David Ortiz hit one of his shots that comes off the bat looking like a pop fly but nonetheless damn near leaves the park. Two hours and change of Kevin Costner, William Hurt, Dane Cook, and Demi Moore later it was the only place on the block still open.

For some reason there's been a trend where sports bars are concerned to give them the same aesthetic as the newsroom of a 24-hour sports network. Fox Sports, which is to sports what Fox News is to news, took it a step further and added their logo as well to an airport bar chain. Just what SportsCenter has to do with drinking the booze is beyond me. Behind the bar were a man with a nice haircut, a woman with a nice rack, and a man who, I don't know. I guess he was a nice guy.

This is the extent to which I will complement them. They treated the tap like it was the soda fountain at McDonald's. My Irish blood boiled at their desecration of Guinness. Behind them were various bottles shelved on a backlit wall. The obligatory seven flavors of Absolut to qualify it as a "classy" joint, sitting and waiting to not be worth the money. Various rums, whiskeys, tequilas... was that a half empty Corona?

The tall glasses of summer ale arrived at the pace that one would have expected if the full gametime crowd was in. Luckily ruining Sam Adams is a task that's beyond their considerable skill.

There are some people who play a game where if someone catches them holding their drink in their dominant hand, they have to finish it on the spot. I have a game where if I see my double coming through the front door of the bar again, I drain my beer and head off to the restroom. Irritatingly, none of the people who laughed at me for even planning for such a scenario were there to see it put into action. It wasn't until after I closed the door that I realized that I'd run the risk of sending mixed signals, but either he hadn't noticed me or hadn't felt the need to follow.

When I emerged, my compatriots were finished. We took the time to notice that Beckett had extended his perfect record to 9-0, and toss a few high-fives around the bar that the others seemed to think came a bit late, before we left for greener pastures. Which is to say, we left and went to a place that wasn't there.

11 comments:

  1. Not being a frequent patron of Sports Bars I can't get the feeling in so much as you are able to give to me through this - which is pretty damn good I imagine.

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  2. Well, the closest I have been to that feeling was in my younger days with a group of girls drooling over Barcelona's (the soccer team) then Portuguese goal keeper... unless I am playing it, sports doesn't do much to hold my attention though I will sit next to you and have a drink!

    Hope all is forgiven! ;-P

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  3. The Red Sox/Boston connection is so right! Having been in NY a few weeks, finding a Yankee fan comparable to a Red Sox fan is difficult. It seems everybody here is varying degrees of real baseball fans.

    In Boston, you can walk into a bar anytime between April & October and ask 'The boys win tonight?' and 9 out of 10 times, they'll know you're talking about the Sox. They're the only team that can dominate the back page of the Herald all year round!

    That's probably what I miss the most, the Red Sox fever. That and the 'Howaahya' greeting

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  4. I don't like Sports bars, there's way too much SPORTS goin on in there. ;)

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  5. cooper: Well I hope there was something for you here today.

    Miz B: I think the lesson I learned is that just about any damn bar is going to have the game on so there's no reason not to go to one where they know how to make the drinks. Cheers, my friend. There was never anything to forgive. But you know that.

    Mick: If they put the back page on display in the boxes as opposed to the front page which almost ALWAYS has a blatantly editorialized headline they might sell more papers.

    Steph. Well I'll be sure to keep that in mind if I ever try to get everyone together at the bar.

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  6. Oh here is always something here for me. ;0

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  7. I do... and I meant about not being into sports to watch... but I'll have a drink with you and you can watch sports and I'll people watch... that can keep me entertained for ever FO SHO!

    ;-)

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  8. Cooper: I'm glad

    Miz B: If I was at a bar with you I'd want to be people watching as well I think.

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  9. You made me miss Boston. Was the first place, practically, I regularly went to bars. Like everybody else in Boston and though they didn't have sports bars, it was Boston so the topic was....

    I once sold a coat to Phil Rizzuto, I think was his name, a hockey player for his girlfriend as opposed to his wife

    My boss wouldn't let anybody clean the counter for a week

    But what about the department of vehicles?

    Great post--very filled with slices of life

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  10. Pia: Well it's still there =P

    That was back when the Bruins cared about winning and there was a reason to follow hockey in Boston.

    the trip to the registry was a wash and so I didn't say much about it.

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  11. Oh, it was the Bruins. Always say that and think I'm making a mistake

    God did people follow hockey. Forget who owned Zelda's a very popular disco then

    When I came back to NY I actually sought out Ranger's and Islander's fans. People thought I was sick because we didn't follow sports except for baseball, and ice hockey is so violent. But beautiful

    Miss Cambridge :)

    Answered your comment in my post since I don't moderate comments as you know

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