And now for a story about throwing popcorn at strangers, verbal altercations with off-duty NYPD cops, and getting kicked out of baseball’s most tradition-rich stadium, all of which would make my mama shake her head …
I did not throw the popcorn first. I imagine I would start there if I were in a court of law retelling this story. I am civilized. I don’t waste popcorn. Hell, I don’t buy popcorn at ballgames.
I arrived at my first game at Yankee Stadium three innings late. The women I attended the game with pre-gamed and then during-gamed off-site. I did not consume alcohol before or during the game.
By the time we arrived in the Bronx, the game had no chance of being anything but a buzzkill for them. Blurry eyes, full hearts, can’t get drunker at Yankees Stadium – not unless you wanna throw your wallet in the Hudson at the end of the night.
So, I’ll skip ahead a few innings – past the part where my ladyfriend Kerry and I wandered around like exiles looking for a program, watched Alex Rodriguez strike out with the bases loaded (score!), and then found said program in the bowels of the stadium. We returned to our right field seats around the seventh inning, and even though the Yankees were losing to the Tampa Bay Rays everyone seemed in good spirits.
The chain of events that occurred next surprised me, excited me, confused me, and, above all, amused me. Who gets kicked out of Yankee Stadium on their first visit? This guy, apparently.
I did not see the initial spark that set off the explosion in our section of the right field bleachers. I just saw popcorn in my lap and on my shirt and at my feet. And I heard a blonde, thirtysomething woman next to me screaming, “You wanna play with my kid’s popcorn?”
I observed the tub of popcorn down by my right foot earlier in the game. It was full and unmolested. Apparently, one of my team of pre-gamers reached in it to throw popcorn at someone else as a joke.
The popcorn hurling incident set off a volley of bitch this and bitch that reminiscent of a French Open rally minus the rackets. I watched and listened for about 20 seconds before realizing I did not travel 3,000 miles to get popcorn thrown on me by a stranger at a Yankees game.
I grabbed a handful of the greasy shit that passed for popcorn and hurled it at the woman’s face. Her husband, a tan-looking runt with a crew cut, asked me, “What the fuck did you do that for?”
I politely informed him, “That bitch threw popcorn on me.” (I had adopted the ladies’ classy term for his wife. More on classy language in a moment.)
He replied, “Fuck you. Go take a bath.”
This infuriated me. I live in a city filled with hippies. I am not a hippie. I don’t look like a hippie. Not to mention I showered before the game. I kept my cool though.
“Weak putdown, bro,” I laughed and then smiled in a manner that told him to “eat shit and die,” as my old baseball coach Milton Hock once yelled at opposing fans.
The woman who played with the popcorn moved up a row to sit next to me. “I don’t want to turn my back on that bitch,” she boomed so the blonde popcorn thrower could hear her.
The top of the eighth inning concluded and the popcorn thrower and her henpecked, ignoramus of a husband got up to leave. Finally, I thought.
“Move,” the bitch said to my new friend, receiving a “fuck you” in the process. The mother then boohooed about us talking to her in a disrespectful tone in front of her child.
Kerry’s friend Maggie, a diehard Yankees fan, lobbed a “Fuckin’ whore” at the woman as she walked away. It was like the final grenade tossed into the final bunker to win the war.
Except the story doesn’t quite end there.
I spotted the buzzcut bozo talking to an usher and became irate. His wife had thrown popcorn on me, after all. Now, he was spinning the situation, making his family look like victims.
I stood on my toes like a dog picking up a scent. Sometimes you have to take a stand. Sometimes you have to tell a stranger to “go fuck yourself”, as an usher looks on.
I ran up the steps and confronted this greaseball nitwit. He pointed at me and told the usher, “That’s the guy.” I replied with blue language that would be at home on the movie The Aristocrats.
He pulled out his wallet, flashed his NYPD badge, and notified me in an entitled voice, “I told you to stop talking to me like that. I could have you thrown out of here.”
“I don’t give a fuck,” I casually informed him in a manner I learned years ago on the bayou. By this point, the Strokes’ “New York City Cops”, with its chorus of “New York City cops they ain’t too smart,” was playing in my head.
My team of pre-gamers and I did not see the ninth inning from inside Yankees Stadium. We received a grand escort from a short Latin man whose demeanor said, “I’m not getting paid enough to deal with this shit.” I was unfazed. The Yankees were on their way to a loss. That’s all that mattered.