Sunday, August 7, 2011


Sunday was a breakthrough day of sorts in the household.
I took my wife to a baseball game, Cardinals-Marlins to be specific.
You may be asking what the big deal is since I reside only a forty-minute drive or so to the Marlins stadium, not to mention that lots of husbands take their wives to baseball games. Some wives even go voluntarily.
To understand why this was a breakthrough for us, a little history is in order.
Several years ago, probably four or five, the two oldest grandkids were visiting and we took them out to a ballgame. It wasn't raining when we left, but it was when we got there, which is a normal occurrence in South Florida, where it can be raining in one block with the sun shining in another.
Since we already tickets, we went into the park and waited for the rain to stop.
And waited.
And waited.
And waited.
Frankly, I was willing to wait for pretty much forever because I was pretty sure baseball was going to be played that night. Despite what those who live in other areas might think, the Marlins have had relatively very few games rained out in their history, but they have had plenty of games delayed or interrupted by rain.
But my wife was in no mood to wait. After two-plus hours, at her, uh, urging (constant urging, you might say), we gave up and left the park.
We had no more gotten to the car and turned on the radio when the broadcaster said, “Well, it looks like there will be baseball played here tonight after all.”
And there was.
But we had already exited, which meant we couldn’t go back in, and because the game was going to be played, our tickets were not good for rain checks either.
This, um, upset me. I told Virginia that from now on unless she was willing to wait out a rain delay, there would be no more Marlins games for her.
And there haven’t been, until today.
I have been a Cardinal fan since the 1960s and like to catch them when I visit St. Louis and when they visit Miami. I had intended to go out Friday, but my back was acting up and time got by me.
Late Saturday afternoon I was scouring for tickets to that night’s game and ran across one that seemed pretty good. But before I ordered it, I went in to check withVirginia to see if she was interested in going.
I debated leaving her alone for the evening, and then all of a sudden when I checked the website, the ticket was gone. In fact, they all were. I thought I probably could find one to buy outside the gate, but I hate to go through that hassle. I stayed home.
That left Sunday.
Virginia asked me in the morning if I was going to the game, so I decided to check stubhub again. There were a couple of singles available at a good price, but on a hunch, I decided to check with her first. This was Sunday after all, and I must admit I felt just a big guilty about the prospect of leaving her alone all afternoon.
I mentioned that when I was checking the night before I had seen a couple of good tickets on stubhub for only $19 each.
“Well, if you can get those, go ahead,” she said.
I went  back to the computer and typed in a request for two tickets instead of one and wouldn’t you know it, there were two infield box seats available for $11 each!
Wow. This was a good deal because these were normally $60 seats through the regular box office.
So I began the process of getting the tickets. This took a few minutes, and things got even better. In the process, a messaged flashed up saying the owner of the tickets was changing his price -- to $9!
I don’t know what your experience has been in this kind of thing, but mine is fairly standard. The price goes up, not down.
I typed in my credit card number and hit the submit button as fast as I could. I got the tickets!
Once the handling charges were figured in, I got two tickets for $28, or less than half what the regular cost of one is for that section.
What a perfect day, right?
Hmmmm, wrong.
Though there was a solid overcast for much of the county, that was good. It could keep the sun from baking us. And besides, not a drop of rain had fallen all morning. 
We were, at least I was, optimistic when we left for the game, and all was well until we got within a mile or two of the stadium. Then it began to rain.
I gave $10 to a rain-soaked parking lot attendant and found a place as close to the gate as I could. Then we sat.
Virginia was a very good sport about it. I told her no, the Marlins were not going to cancel the game.
“Do they play football in the rain?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Why don’t they play baseball in the rain?”
“Different sports. You could get hurt trying to control a baseball.”
We both tried to figure out which way the clouds were moving and how fast.
We listened to the radio and were encouraged when the announcer said that once this pocket of rain cleared, it looked good the rest of the afternoon.
At least I was encouraged, especially when the drops on the windshield quit. At 2 p.m., some 50 minutes after the scheduled game time, we went in and found our seats.
They were great. Eight rows up and halfway between home and third. The Cards’ Albert Pujols seemed close enough to touch, at least when I zoomed in with my Nikon.
But alas. The pregame report about how things looked good once the initial rain stopped was wrong.
The drops began to fall in the top of the fifth inning, and though it never rained hard enough to stop play, it was a steady drizzle.
We left in the middle of the sixth, Cards up 4-2. The old ponchos we had brought for protection acted more like sieves than a raincoat, and we were soaked.
Yes, I probably would have waited it out had I been alone or with my son, who won’t even leave if the score is 12-2 and it’s the last of the ninth.
But I was happy that my wife had stuck it out that long, and I thought the least I could do was get her out of the rain.
Besides, I figured we could listed to the broadcast on the way home and probably get there in time to catch the last inning or so on TV, and I was right. We did easily, and the Cards finished with an 8-4 win to sweep the series.
There aren’t that many more games left this season for further experiences like this one, though I am looking at the possibility of catching the Marlins-Braves this week. That way I can root for the Marlins with a clear conscience.
Next year, of course, the weather won’t be an issue for the Marlins. The team will move into its new stadium, which will have a moveable roof to ward off rain as well as provide air-conditioned comfort for afternoon games.
But I bet I’ll play hell getting two infield box seats for $28.
Albert Pujols' home run swing.

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