5:40 PM - My BBQ pork (sorry, Mathan) sandwich arrives with a side of Cajun chips and an interminable conversation with the lady behind the counter. One of the greatest things about being Black is the sense of familial community that we can occasionally share with strangers. The worst thing about being Black is finding a faux family member who won't shut the fu…
5:45 PM - The sandwich is stone cold and absolutely saturated under two quarts of sauce. Meanwhile, the chips have been seasoned with the same peppers that are used to make those novelty super hot sauces. Y'know, the kind you buy and use once before realizing that something cleverly called "Satan's Chipotle Acid" shouldn't be ingested.
6:00 PM - We're in our seats, watching the end of the A's batting practice and getting dive-bombed by these neon-green gnats. They're flippin' everywhere. Remember that episode of G.I. Joe where some of the B-Team Joes get blown into a parallel universe? It's the one where someone gets bit by one of Destro's mutated insects on his "proving ground". Yeah, it's kind of like that. Well, I guess it's not. The bugs here are more "extremely annoying" than "mutated and lethal".
6:10 PM - I've been swatting these bugs for 10 straight minutes. They're landing in my beer.
6:15 PM - No sooner do I remark on the abject absence of hotness, than a middle-aged groupie with a fresh-out-the-box boob job sits in the seat immediately in front of us. Seriously, I'd guess the face to be 45 years old and the breasts to be 5 minutes ago.
6:20 PM - Baseball Annie has spent the last five minutes telling us all of the Oakland A's she "knows" and, completely unsolicited (for a change), she offers to get Nick Swisher's autograph for us. Isn't this the textbook child molester modus operandi?
6:25 PM - Sure enough, A's OF Nick Swisher pops out of the dugout and starts signing for the assemblage of adults still lame enough to lug Sharpies, gloves and card sheets to games. Our groupie gets up and moves in Nick's general direction, stopping to sit about 50 feet from him.
6:35 PM - Swisher (kinda not pictured, behind rent-a-cop) signs for just about everyone except the whore (bottom left, surrounded by empty seats), who then returns to let us know that, "Nick said he'll sign after the game." Never mind that none of us could avert our eyes away from this car wreck of silicone and lies and at no point did ol' Nick even acknowledge her. Wow…if you can't believe in bitches…
7:30 PM - There are only about 10,000 people here, but the fans are just as passionate, if not as plentiful, as Cardinals' fans. Very underrated stadium, too, with the outfield fountains and wide open architecture. Worth the drive? Ask me again, if we win.
8:30 PM - We went in knowing that we couldn't stay for the whole game. Two hours or seven innings, whichever came first, was our limit. And, look…here come thunder and lightning to make my decision even easier.
8:45 PM - With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the sixth, the heavens open up. From what I remember in watching CNN during the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, this appears to be a storm of similar strength and intensity. I don't really do rain, so I'm not certain.
8:50 PM - It's starting to look like the climactic scene in that awful Wesley Snipes/Robert DeNiro movie The Fan. Did I just see a funnel cloud? Someone tell my wife and son that I…hey, it stopped raining.
9:00 PM - The Royals go down in the sixth inning and, with the score tied 2-2 and a full day of work/travel in front of us, we opt out early. It'll be the Royals radio team the rest of the way.
9:10 PM - We finally find the freeway and are about five miles down the road, when the radio feed starts to fade. Did the hamster pull a hamstring while running the generator wheel?
9:15 PM - The original plan was for me to drive to Kansas City and the other two to split the drive back to St. Louis. Three guesses who was behind the wheel on our road east. And, under the circumstances, I'd been polite long enough. I went straight to the iPod car stereo adapter, baby. Please let one of them say something about it.
9:45 PM - The Game, Redman, Crooked I, Xzibit and Mobb Deep have come n' gone. They either know I'm purposely annoying them with music they'd never willingly listen to or…
9:46 PM - …they're pretending to be asleep.
11:00 PM - I figure I'll need to gas up, both to ensure we get back to our hotel and so I can drive to work and the airport tomorrow. I pull off the freeway and find a gas station about a ½ mile down the road.
11:02 PM - You know the routine: pop the gas cap, insert ATM card, etc. Except in this instance, nothing happened when I tried to pump the gas.
11:04 PM - The pump accepts my ATM card/PIN number for the second time and directs me to "begin fueling", again. And, again, nothing.
11:06 PM - On the third try, one of the sleeping fools opens the door and says, "Dude, they're closed." How the hell is a gas station closed? Y'all know I never play the "California" card, but in California this kind of small-town Podunk bullsh*t is inconceivable. Even if the cashier has been gunned down in one of our all-too-rare robbery/homicides, the ATM access for gas is never turned off.
11:10 PM - I find an open gas station another mile down the road. Unbelievable.
12:30 AM - We reach our hotel and it's all I can do to trudge upstairs in anticipation of a whole five hours of sleep.
12:35 AM - I'm on the phone with Mrs. Bootleg, still trudging towards my room, when a door opens down the hallway. My Program Manager emerges in sweats and a wife-beater with an empty ice container. He sees me and quickly retreats, which can only mean he's hosting a hooker. I assume she enticed him with the promise of Nick Swisher's autograph.
1:00 AM - Good night, everyone!
1:10 AM - I just realized that I still don't know if the A's had won the game. The bottom line on ESPNews tells me… Ah, f*ck. Screw you, Mike Sweeney. It was still worth it.
1:12 AM - Good night, everyone!