Monday, August 6, 2012


I'm not a luxury box kind of guy because, well, I don't have the money to afford that lifestyle. Even if I did, I think you'd still find me down among the bleacher-creatures at the local yard, chewing a dog and keeping score.

I experienced how the other half lives, or at least watches, Tampa Bay Rays baseball after winning two $125 tickets to the Hancock Bank Club at Tropicana Field for Friday's game against the Orioles.

Instead of walking up steps and ramps, the other half reaches their section by elevator. Instead of bellying up to the concession stand, you side up to carving and dessert stations. Instead of throwing away trash or waiting in lines for drinks, waiters do your legwork and dirty work. You reach and reach for more food and drink but never your wallet. That was certainly cool.

There was more leather in here than on the field. I didn't know if I was at a ballgame or a private party in a closed club. The only thing missing were velvet ropes and a Kardashian sighting.

At one point my wife Charmain said, wide-eyed: "I feel like Cameron Diaz.''

And then she shoved a beef slider into my mouth as the JumboTron zoomed in.

About then I remembered why we were there: baseball. So, when the game was about to start, I was among the few who left the cushy club scene to take my field seat, and things began to feel more normal. I had my scorecard, filled in the starting lineups and Matt Moore finished his warm-up. It was time for the first pitch. 

That's when Char came back with two ballpark staples: Bananas Foster and peanut butter cake. 

Apparently, they don't have seat-side Bananas Foster service. Deduct one star for that.

The other half watches the game pretty much like everyone else; which is to say, the game is reduced to muzak. While I'm keeping score and debating strategy in my head, others are chatting about various subjects like wine and the tragedy of NBC's Olympics spoilers.

Years from now while I might forget who won the game (the Rays did, 2-0), I'll never forget playing big shot for a night at the ballpark. I like how the other half lives, but the game's the same no matter where you sit.

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