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Teahouse of the 2 Run Homer

by Cheryl of the WSI message boards

I met up with my old pal Wally Sheboygan at the Rainbo the other day.  He had some work that took him to Ukrainian Village, and I figured he could find that bar from where he was working.  He looked nervous, but he always does when he has to go north of Madison.  We got a couple of beers from Kenny the bartender before he told me why he called me. 

“So I’ve been reading that White Sox Interactive, like you told me to. Those guys are trying to ruin the ballpark.” 

“How so?” I asked him. 

“They want attendance to go up.  And that’s just wrong.”  Then he complained about the price of the beer.

 “That’s a $3 pint.  I don’t know how things are in Mt Greenwood, but for around here that’s not bad.”  I said. “Anyway, what’s wrong with filling up that sea of blue seats?”

 It’s a sore point with him, and I knew it.  “Don’t get me started on those blue seats.  Nobody but the Dodgers or that other team here should have blue seats in their ballparks.   I helped paint the seats in the old ballpark one year.  Painted them green, like God meant for ballpark seats to be.”

Then he said, “I like the ballpark the way it is, except for those seats.  I like not having to stand in line for anything.  Especially the bathroom.  It’s bad enough they didn’t put troughs in the new ones, you miss too much of the game standing in line to use a urinal.”  He leaned over and whispered into my ear, “And besides, we don’t need a certain element invading our park.  Look what they did to that other ballpark.”

Ah, the casual fan.  The bandwagoneer. I could see his point.  Hordes of  thirtyish commodity brokers in matching navy blue polo shirts getting in the way, complaining about the brand of lite beer sold at Comiskey, talking on cell phones to people they grew up with in a Dakota: people who, until that moment, weren’t aware Chicago had a team in the American League.

“Okay,” I said. “But Reinsdorf says we don’t get a good team until the place is full.”

Wally looked…pensive.  Almost.  As pensive as I’ve ever seen him anyway.  Maybe it was the lighting.  He ordered another round.  “Mr. Reinsdorf is a smart man. Don’t look at me like that, he’s smart.  If he really thought about it, he could find another way to make some money for the team. “  He sits up a little straighter.  “If he was smart, he’d hire a bunch of women to go to the games.”

“What?”  I said.

“Women.  Women you could hire to sit and watch the game with you,” he said.

I was confused.  “Hookers?”

I got a dirty look from him.  “Not hookers.  Young ladies who know about baseball.  Someone to talk to during the game.  That’s it.   You hire them when you get there.”

“Geishas?”  I asked.

“I thought geishas were like call girls,” he said.  “That’s not what I’m talking about.

“You need to brush up on your Japanese culture.  Geishas just pour sake and pretend the men can sing when it’s karaoke night in the teahouse, “ I said.

He ignores me. “ Look, there’s all those new homes being built around 35th Street, and I have a bunch of jobs lined up around there.  Gonna take me all summer.  I’ll probably be knocking off work just about time to get there when the gates open.  I want to be able to hire someone to sit and watch the game with me, have a few beers and a hotdog and some intelligent conversation.  That’s all I want.  Mr. Reinsdorf could hire some young women for let’s say $10 an hour and charge me $50 for the night.  He’d end up with $25 a head extra.  And someone would be sitting in those blue seats so that Giangreco guy couldn’t say nothing about attendance no more.”

“Who pays for their beer and hotdogs?”  I asked.

“I do.  I end up spending maybe a hundred dollars on a ballgame.  Just like I was a fan of that other team or something.”  Wally laughs at his own joke.  “Mr. Reinsdorf gets $100 instead of the $40 I usually spend, and there’s people at the ballpark.  He spends it on a stud pitcher.  The young ladies have a good job for the summer, between going to college or something.  Everybody’s happy.  You know, you could a done that for a summer job when you was in college.  Twenty years ago, you were a babe, and you know your baseball.”

I returned his dirty look.

 “Not that you couldn’t do it now, just now you’re busy scaring college students instead of being one.”  He looked toward Kenny, who must have heard part of this, as he was pointedly ignoring us.

“Do these college kids have to be women?”  I ask.  “Maybe I’d want to rent a buff little stathead some time to sit with me.”

“You’d hire some guy young enough to be your son to watch a baseball game?  You’re a sick woman.” Wally said, and then he got us another round.


Editor's Note:  Cheryl Powell is a librarian at a Big 10 school in Chicago.  Now which one could that possibly be?

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