66er Home Opener 4/10


Expanded beer gardens — things are getting serious this year.

Winter has been hard for The Faithful – -their feet are reaching for the grave. This looks to be Body Count season — every game will be a count to see if they’ve lost anybody. One sees me, gets the groups’ attention, and in unison, they glare at me. God, I have missed these people.

Bring back The Bug! I scream as Bernie makes his first appearance. An old woman in the Jello Brigade shoots me the finger (the Jello Brigade is a group of senior citizens that sit together and ll have missing or rotten teeth). God, I have missed these people.

There is a 350 lb white man wearing a Homestead Greys jersey. I will never understand jersey culture.

A tweaker from the High Desert just walked by with a hitch in his step. Red Ribbon Week didn’t take with this guy.

My wife is busting my balls ever so slightly for bring Whiskey Jack to the game, Scorpion, Frog, Sweetie.

The new 66ers jersey are tits. Phoebe Cates in Fast Times type tits.

Quiet Riot’s “Cum on Feel The Noize” starts the game.

Jabari Henry leads off for the Mavericks – he has 2 HRs already, but is only batting .156. ISOLATED POWER. Leadoff walk.

The ushers wear blue instead of red this year. The Crypts are happy; the Bloods are pissed.

Pathetic Opening Night crowd. Whiskey Jack estimates less than a thousand people here. Times are a tough in Berdoo, I believe WJ I incorrect though – there are at least 2500 people here; WJ has been drinking al lday.

New graphics on the Jumbotron are just amazing . The 66ers have the best scoreboard in the minors.

Sherman Johnson, last night’s hero, opens the bottom of the first with a hit. And promptly is thrown out trying to steal.

Whiskey Jack tells Mr. Grumpy to dive for a foul ball. Mr. Grumpy, a senior citizen (a theme is developing here), mumbles incoherently about trajectory, then shoots Jack the bird. God, I have missed these people.

Lights just went off. This better not affect beer sales.

Billy Idol during the delay. It’s a nice day to start again.

Power is back on — everyone is doing the Carleton. God, I have missed these people.

Wrecking Ball! Is Miley pregnant or not? Who is the father?

Running of the Cows — adult in cow suits, racing. Moo and Brew Steakhouse, a place with delusions of grandeur. It used to be the Rotten Oak, a great dive bar, then they tried to make it respectable, but all hey did was pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

Barefoot Refresh – Wine on Ice! What an exciting time we live in!

OmniTrans! Why walk when you can ride – for $1.35 you can go all the way to Chino!

Sound the Horn! Sound that beautiful Horn!

Homestead Grey is my new homie, but he might eat himself to death by the end of the game.

Mrs. Bads purchases the Belgian Waffle!

BULLSHIT! The fifth inning fly by had not image of a jet! Just the Hangar 24 logo. HORSESHIT! Audio doesn’t cut it, you rat bastards! You fuckers just lost your exclusive beer sponsorship of my book.

6th inning perhaps the greatest minor league promotion/contest called “Cake or Pie”, sponsored by a local bakery. The gist is this—parent and kid get on dugout, 66er promo dude pimps the bakery, then gives the kids a choice of cake or pie. If he chooses pie, he gets to smash his parent with the pie. If he chooses cake, the 66er staff ambushes the parent with the pie. Guess who get to play? My son smashes a whipped cream pie into my face while we are on the third base dugout because I take the whipped cream from my face and rub it in his hair that is the way we roll in my family.

I just realized I have been drinking my dinner tonight. Fun for all! Time to find a bacon wrapped hot dog or two. Or six.

The 66ers acknowledge my wedding anniversary on the Jumbotron. So you have been getting my emails, but are just telling me your email is down because you cannot accommodate my outrageous requests. Any more duplicity, and I will switch my allegiances to the Quakes. Wait, they have Crazy J. Fuck that guy. But thanks for putting the anniversary thing up on the Jumbotron. Maybe Mrs. Bads will want to come back tomorrow night for Super Hero Night.

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A Prelude To a Storm (4/9)


It is still 86 degrees outside. What I would give for a snow squall right now. The rotting flesh in Berdoo is going to be rank tomorrow. Tempers could flare; the city might burn – not a good setting for the 66ers home opener tomorrow. What is worse is the 66ers could be riding a six game losing streak into that game, meaning all good will from the Cal League will be Gone, Daddy, Gone. The Locals are likely to rend limbs from the new players to satisfy their need for flesh.

Perhaps the best thing that could have to the Locals is a sustained fire in San Bernardino – a glorious blaze from which the firefighters just walk away, leaving Berdoo to the mercy of the winds and heat. After all, there isn’t a great deal of talent on the current group of 66ers – the core of this team sucked in Burlington last year. Throw in some Repeat Offender (a player who is not good enough to advance after a season) from the 66ers last year, and you have a recipe for misery. A terrible fire could spare the Locals from the upcoming anguish and perhaps purge the city from blight.

In Berdoo with enough brain cells to possess long term memory like to look to the glory years of the past and dream of a return to splendor – the Cleveland of the West! Like Cleveland, those glory years are a myth – when the city was vibrant the air was green from the Los Angeles smog trapped by the mountains. When steel and rail are your muscle, the acrid smell of doom greets you every morning when you awake. Smelt could even be found in the orange groves back then – if you slept with your window open on a chilly night, you’d awake with oily ash on your cheeks. The Good Old Days indeed.

San Bernardino has spent so much time looking back that it forgot how to get ahead. Somewhere not that long ago, existing replaced living. This really isn’t a story about Old Berdoo though – the city is just a backdrop. The 66ers don’t instill civic pride in a rapidly dying city; many of their fans come from surrounding communities who kiss their kids on the forehead at night, and thank the stars above they don’t live there.

 

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Quakes’ Home Opener


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Bring Out Your Dead!

Late game start because of the PAGENTRY of Opening Day, which in Rancho Cucamonga, consists of corrupt city fat cats being wheeled on the field. Can you say federal penitentiary?

Just a bit over half of the stadium is full, which is sort of disappointing for Opening Night. Maybe if the cheap seats hadn’t been jacked up to nine bucks this season, more people would be here. Supply and Demand, People! Or maybe the rest of the fan base is busy short selling their homes.

And the opposition leads off with a hot shot. It could be a long year in Rancho.

There is an annoying, incessant electric buzz coming over the sound system. It is the 21st century; how can this happen? Call the Geek Squad at Best Buy! And upgrade your Jumbotron while you are at it.

Crazy J is making the scene, shaking hands with the Longtimers. Hey Crazy J, you putting on some pounds, Dude. If you don’t watch it, your neck will start eating your face.

3-0 San Jose – Starter Chris Anderson is struggling — three hits, three runs, and two walks. Welcome to the CARNAGE of High A, ball Chris. If you don’t improve quickly, you will be road kill. And there is the third consecutive walk, loading the bases, and the Quick Hook! Jesus, Skip, it is Game One. Let the kid find himself rather than teach him a lesson.

And a foul ball just smack into a skull of a fan not paying attention. The baseball gods are hungry!

Every time a Quakes pitches strikes out a batter, some charity gets five bucks. I bet it is a lawyer fund for the mortgage writers.

Fun fact — all three of my children have been chased by stadium security at one point in their lives. This stadium is the first place the Eldest was chased. She was about eight and ran into a dead end – a harbinger of her young adult life.

The first inning took over 30 minutes to play.

Crazy J is on the dugout with the Massage Envy people. Did we learn nothing from Auschwitz? Put a stop to the crimes against humanity!

This is one subdued Opening Night crowd. In fact, I won’t be surprised Snyder’s Funeral Home is asked to TONE IT DOWN.

Crazy J just gave the losers in the mid inning contest a prize also. Crazy J is going to pimp Obamacare next inning.

The Youngsters behind me are talking about their fantasy baseball stats. They are arguing the merits of ERA. I hope I wasn’t like that when I was young, but I am sure I was. Wait, now they are getting boners over small samples sizes. Little Bads is setting them straight, handling my light work.

Brickhouse! And the whitebread, Brady Bunch crowd does not even move. Hey Marsha, urban legend says your sister was a porn star!

Opening Night concession line woes. It is best not to throttle the help this early in the season, but my Dodger Dog is half cooked. I don’t think it is a real Dodger Dog anyway.

Crazy J is introducing a new game called “Hot or Cold!” The contestant wears a blindfold and searches for the prize while the crowd yells, “Hot “or “Cold” to direct him. Can you feel the excitement? You should – the prize is $50 at Baker’s Drive Thru. $50 of Baker’s could kill the strongest of men though. The game did not go that well – the kid with the blindfold could see through the blindfold and pounced on that 50 bucks. If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t trying!

Chris Jacobs goes yard for the Quakes! Monster shot over the pines. Suddenly the crowd is ALIVE. This is Jacobs’ third year at Rancho — give up the dream, dude.

Kid’s race across the outfield. Who Let The Dogs Out!

Pass the hat for the homerun, a Cal League tradition. Home guy hits a HR, the locals collect money so the hitter can buy himself a nice dinner.

Little Bads is talking about SHOWGIRLS. He’s only ten, but he is hung like a 15 year old.

Crazy J is singing is a falsetto, giving away BW3’s. I will never eat at that establishment again. To be fair, that has nothing to do with Crazy J.

Scouts now videotaping with cellphones. We live in an amazing time!

Tug o War with Tremor – -Tremor is going against a toddler. Tremor is beating the little kid’s ass, then is attacked by four other kids, and the tyke wins. I smell a fix!

Time to shut this down for the night.

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The Quakes: An Opening Salvo


So people ask me all the time, “Hey Bads85, how come you are 66er season ticket holder instead of a Quakes’ season ticket holder? You abhor the Angels; why do you follow their farm team? My response never varies:

Me: Excuse me, do I know you?

Them: Blah. Blah. Blah.

Me: Well, you see, I am not about chasing the laundry. I am about hometown roots.

Them: San Bernardino is a shithole that you left a long time ago. Rancho Cucamonga is a vibrant town with a distinct history —

Me: Excuse me. Rancho is a giant Cheesecake Factory. Its history was forsaken for outdoor shopping and restaurant chains. Besides, have you seen the Quakes’ promotional schedule? It sucks. Massage Envy Fireworks Night? The hell with that noise. I guarantee you there are no happy endings at that place. In Berdoo, a massage ends with a tug.

Them: That is disgusting.

Me: It’s real though, man – not some string of department store façades like you find in Rancho these days. Rancho even has a Toby Keith bar. Seriously, downtown is a mall built ten years ago, and they call it a lifestyle center these days.

Them: But Rancho has a Mr. Hat, the greatest hamburger stand left.

Me: And that is the only reason that God has not unleashed hellfire from the skies on Rancho. Meanwhile, the Quakes have Crazy J, a bitter young man who is realizing that his career in sports management has stalled. All the good stadium entertainers move up the ranks, but not Crazy J – he is stuck in Rancho, looking all like Nick Swisher. It is just a matter of time before that dude snaps and stabs a bunch of little kids with popsicle sticks he sharpened with his own teeth. Somebody should put him down. I could go for a pastrami burger right now at Mr. Hat’s though.

If You See This Sicko, Shoot Him Before He Harms The Children.

If You See This Sicko, Shoot Him Before He Harms The Children.

Them: Crazy J gets the crowd rockin’!

Me: Bullshit! The city’s noise ordinance won’t allow it. Besides, the fans don’t want to spill their herbal tea, so they sit on their hands. The only time the crowd makes more noise than a funeral parlor is when the dinosaur mascot lets loose with a wet fart, then all the Orange County wannabees  let loose with a collective groan because they are afraid dinosaur poo is going to get on their khakis. Not only do those people have no souls, but they drive Mazdas and act like their cars are Mercedes.

Them: Look at all the losers that go to San Manuel Stadium!

Me: Those aren’t losers. Those are characters!

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A Prelude To a Storm


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The View From My Seat

Some days, when the sun hits the smog just right, San Bernardino looks like the burgh in My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to The Black Parade “ video –with the Broken, Beaten, and the Damned looking to spend their EBT cards. Today isn’t one of those days as the skies are blue for the Inland Empire 66ers Season Ticket Holder Breakfast at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino, California this morning — season ticket holders show up, obtain their tickets, buy stuff at the team shop, check out their seat locations, and shoot the shit with other fans. No one but the employees speak to me because I am HIM.

I don’t run in these people social circles, which is fine by me. These people drive in a different lane on the freeways as me, and I don’t have a problem with that. It was not always thus, but this isn’t a time or place for forgiveness — this is a city in its death clutches, writhing like a hobo who decided to end it by humping the third rail. There is no saving the hobo, but he ain’t dead yet, and right now the electricity is FLOWING through that substance ridden body, making it do the Herky Jerky until the heart mercifully stop beating.

First person I encounter today is Sergeant First Class of the Wheelchair Brigade. I would bet the 66ers lead professional baseball in season ticket holders in wheel chairs because when the bullets start flying in Berdoo, they often hit spinal cords. I don’t know if SFC was shot, or he was in some sort of industrial accident, but he has been coming to the games for years, and he talks a rather mean game. This morning, he is charming the team store cashiers with a story from his days of distributing vengeance. The cashier girls are eating up SFC’s story –– whether out of politeness or the fascination of batshit crazy, I am not sure.

SFC: I hate the Quakes.

Cashier #1: You know, we are having a promotion where we are giving away Quakes’ toilet paper.

SFC: I wouldn’t even wipe my ass with that. I had to slash the owner’s car a few years ago.

Cashier #2: You slashed the tires of the Quakes owner’s car?

SFC: Yep. With my knife. That dude wronged me.

Cashier #1 (laughing nervously) What did he do?

SFC: He had me tossed from my handicapped seat.

Cashier #2: Why?

SFC: Because I wasn’t a season ticket holder.

Me (to the cashiers): Excuse me, do you have any shot glasses?

Cashier#2: I am sorry. No.

Me: That needs to be rectified immediately. Who can I talk to about that? (nods at SFC). How’s it going?

SFC: (silent glare as I amble off to talk to those in charge about shot glasses)

I don’t doubt that SFC slashed a tire over there, but I doubt it was the owner’s – SFC was probably tossed from the game, then just looked for a nice car in the parking lot and WENT TO WORK.

There is not a great deal of beautiful people here today at the ballpark (another reason why I am ostracized) because meth sucks the beauty of people real quick.  A normal looking family finds their seats a couple of sections from us – they must be from a neighboring community as the 66ers draw from population centers another than Old Berdoo, Newbies.

After the ballpark, we will be off to the Railroad Museum at the Santa Fe Depot. Once upon a time, San Bernardino won the rail wars with the local towns, and the locomotive gods awarded great prosperity. Governor “Old Honesty” Waterman and Sheriff  Burkhart stared down Virgil Earp and his railroad goons in Colton, the good old Fred T. Perris found a route to build railroad tracks through the Cajon Pass, and that became Berdoo’s trump card in the Transcontinental Railroad struggles.

This history reverberates with the 66ers — every time the local nine scores a run, a railroad whistle blows. “Sound The Horn” is plastered throughout the stadium and has become the rallying cry of the fans. Santa Fe pulled out of San Bernardino a long time ago though, leaving behind an enormous smokestack and museum that is often overrun with model train enthusiasts, who are truly sick fucks more co-dependent on oral tradition than even baseball fans.

Irony alert – Madman Ricky Lee Fowler , a convicted sodomizer, would start one of the most destructive wildfires in San Bernardino history in Waterman Canyon. Fowler, who was reportedly bombed out of his skull, had demanded meth money from a relative, and lit a fire near the relative’s house in retaliation for being denied. This fire was the last straw for many of the city’s wealthy, who abandoned Berdoo, setting the stage for RAPID URBAN DECAY.

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66er Green Hat For Chavez Pack The Park Night


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Here is my new baby — an effort to get kids to a ballgame.

 

 

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Another Old Story: The Raider Fan’s Funeral


So I believe I am decompressed enough to tell this story from today. If not, I will be sedated enough by a healthy combination of of beer and hard liquor by time I get to the really hairy parts to finish it.

I attended a funeral today—- some old dude I barely knew on Mrs. Bads maternal side of the family left this mortal world this week, which pretty much fucked up my Saturday. I was supposed to go to the Stanford/USC game with Li’l Bobby today, those plans were NIXED. My wife’s mother was one of twelve kids of immigrant parents, and many of her siblings didn’t turn out to be law abiding citizens. In fact, many of them think the Mexican gang bangers in Training Day were complete pussies for not capping Ethan Hawke in the bathtub. The dude that died wasn’t like that, but he hung with these people because they were FAMILY. I didn’t even remember who this dude was until we showed up at the funeral because my wife only sees these people when somebody gets hitched or croaks. I would have sat through the entire service without knowing who he was if not for a picture that was in the photo slide show of the church. I was sitting there trying to follow football action on my lousy phone when a picture of a much younger me drinking Budweiser and SHOTS! with the recently deceased at his house appeared on the screen—- that party was about twenty years ago.

I must say it was a hell of a bash—I was the only white person there, and initially, I wasn’t really welcome. They started warming up to me after I returned from a beer run with a keg of Bud, started pouring shots of tequila, and challenging their manhood to drink with me. By the end of the night, they wanted the CRAZY WHITE BOY to do crimes with them. That was the last I saw of a lot of them because those guys were sent to prison by THE MAN. But I digress; this is a story about TODAY. I must say I was a bit moved that a picture of me made this guy’s life highlight reel (and I did look damn good in the picture).

I knew this was not a normal Catholic funeral when I saw men wearing Raiders’ jerseys in the church. I know the new Pope is supposed to be liberal, but I don’t think he would approve of Howie Long jerseys at a Mass. I have never really been able to put my head around the Jersey Culture, but wearing your best jersey isn’t even California Casual attire. However, there in front of me was “Long”, “McFadden”, “Pryor”, “Kaufmann”, “Stabler”, and “Allen”. The one that blew my mind was the “Gannon” jersey though—Jesus Janikowski Christ—- the dude threw five pics in one Super Bowl game, three run back for touchdowns—I don’t care if he won an MVP with the Raiders; that is some bad ju-ju. In all, I counted NINETEEN Raiders’ jerseys, including the guy who lost his eye in a street fight.

After the sacrament of Holy Eucharist, the priest turned the mike over to family members to say their last respects. For the next seventy-eight minutes, I listened to all sorts of tales of despair and woe, and how the deceased helped turned these destitute lives around. Sure, they were strong testaments to the deceased’s life, but I wasn’t getting any updates on the Georgia/Auburn game, so I started to get antsy. McFadden, prison tats and all, got up and told Raider stories, and finished by letting the congregation know that the deceased was buried in his Raiders’ jersey. Look, I know football fans are tribal and have different rites and rituals, but that is MESSED UP RELIGION. When I die, I will finally be free of lousy Cleveland sports teams, and I sure as hell don’t want to take the chance of them following me to the afterlife because one of my family members draped a Browns’ jersey over my corpse. The service finally ended, and we were off to the grave site service where seventy-one Raiders’ balloons (one for each year of his life) were released into the sky.

Have I ever told the Lounge how much I despise the Raiders? If Bill Laimbeer were in a gunfight with any Raider, I’d root for Laimbeer. These feelings would come into play later in the afternoon at the reception, which just happened to be at San Manuel Casino because that was the deceased’s dude’s favorite place.

I am going to pause now for a SHOT! and some further reflection.

 

So the San Manuel Indians are not just in the casino business — they are into the RECEPTION BUSINESS and have built a giant ass reception hall right next to their giant ass sports bar. My day took a sudden turn for the worse when we arrived and was told there would be no alcohol served at the reception. Being the GREAT IMPROVISER that I am, I made a hasty beeline to the sports bar to wash down the bitter Raider aftertaste left over from the service. Already at the bar was the Raider Contingent, drinking Jack SHOTS! and Heineken as chasers. Gannon was there, and my curiosity caused me to make a TACTICAL ERROR. I purchased a Hot Mexican Hooker (The Sam Manuel Sports Bar is nothing but class) and a Pabst Blue Ribbon and made my way towards them, knowing full well that my literary allegory would not be appreciated by this crowd.

It should be noted at this juncture that I didn’t recall knowing any of these guys.

Me: Hail The Raiders! (slams shot, downs half the PBR to keep that nasty shit down)

Kaufmman: Who the fuck are you?

Me: Family of [the deceased] (SILENCE) Obviously by marriage. He will be greatly missed.

Long#1: You don’t look like a Raiders’ fan.

Me: I’m not! I hate them, Dude. I am a Browns’ fan. Red Right 88. But (get ready for a BIG LIE) I respect Raider fans. You guys are hardcore. (Bottles clink; toast)

Allen: What the fuck stinks?

Me (pointing at the reside in the shot glass): Tuna juice and tequila. Tastes like shit, but it’s great for the morning dooker. At my age, you have to worry about things like that.

Long#2: You put tuna juice in tequila?

Me: They won’t serve pussy juice. (pointing to Gannon) What’s up with you wearing that jersey?

Gannon: Huh?

Me: Rich Fucking Gannon. Super Bowl Goat. Why not Plunkett or Stabler? I understand everyone else (pointing to Allen). Marcus Allen — he wasn’t no Jim FUCKING Brown, but he was great. (pointing to McFadden) Lot’s of potential. The hope of the future. So far he ain’t even Eric Metcalf, but there is still TIME. (pointing to Stabler) The Snake! (pointing to Kaufmman( Frist name Napoleon. That is bad ass! But Gannon? Why wear the pain?

Gannon: I’ve had this since I was a kid. Plus, we eat pain.

Me: That is got to hurt! Hardcore! I still have a Brian Sipe jersey, Dude, so I think I know where you are coming from. Red Right 88. He gave you guys a Super Bowl, and I still have his jersey. I’m too fat to wear it anymore though.

McFadden (vein in forehead starting to noticeably pulse) Are you trying to fuck with us?

Me: A little. (another big lie coming) But you guys seem cool. I hope you beat Houston this week, like 57-54. I’ve got Keenum in one of my money leagues, and I really need the points. I really don’t understand the Gannon thing though. That would be like me wearing a Kosar Jersey.

Gannon: Kosar was a puss!

Me: No shit, dude. He lost 3 AFC Championship games. If he doesn’t throw in interception in the Red Zone in the first half, there is no DRIVE. If I had his jersey, I wouldn’t even wipe my ass with it because I’d be afraid I would get crotch rot on my taint.

Gannon: What the fuck is your taint?

Me: The skin between your nutsack and your asshole. Taint much, but you’d be in a world of shit without it.

McFadden (vein now pulsating): Only chicks have taints, Dickfuck. Men have gooches.

Me: Wow. I didn’t know that. Don’t I feel foolish.

Things might have rapidly deteriorated from there because I was ill equipped to argue the nuances taints and gooches with Radiers’ fans, but Little Bads and Kat showed up.

LB: Mom says you need to get back NOW! Grandpa isn’t feeling well. (guffaws from Raiders’ fans)

McFadden: Grandpa just saved your ass.

Me: Yeah, [FIL's name] does that a lot.

McFadden: Wait, you’re [FIL's name] son-in-law?

Me: Yeah.

McFadden: I remember you! You brought a keg to [the deceased]‘s Halloween party that year! (bear hugs me) Go make sure [FIL] is okay, and get your ass back in here.

Had I just gone back and kept my head down, the stuff that unfolded later probably wouldn’t have gone down. However, I grew THIRSTY so I went back.

Before I go any further, I will have you know I have pondered the question why I decided to screw with Raiders’ fan at a funeral reception. I mean, these guys obviously were in mourning, and here I was, some smart ass dill weed needling them. Just what type of dick am I? The answer, as far as  can determine with self reflection, can be found in the parable about the scorpion and the frog. It all boils down to NATURAL BEHAVIOR, plus I was still intrigued by the Gannon jersey thing.

Our story continues with me really regretting having that gross SHOT! after eating some carne asada tacos. Perhaps it was the tacos that caused the displeasure, but my FIL ate them, and he was fine. In fact they greatly improved his condition to the point that I could return to the sports bar. I can say though, with almost absolute certainty, that had I not returned to the sports bar, the night would not have ended at Applebee’s with me talking to the Po-Po.

Fucking Applebee’s, man — the last refuge for derelicts trying to pretend they are normal — something right out of a HST acid trip. No one in there right mind goes there unless they are separated from their family and have been forced to leave other establishments because things went south. By time I was at Applebee’s, Mrs. Bads had left me in the hands of the Beloved Nephew, who couldn’t drink because of oral surgery (an excuse he has been milking for MONTHS, and as a result, is facing STIFF FINES in the League). I will argue that nothing really bad happened in the sports bar — just good natured, really foul mouthed trash talking between passionate football fans. However, it seems that is frowned upon in that establishment, and like the E-trade Baby, we were put on a time out. Instead of a crib, we were banished to another drinking establishment, and since Applebee’s can sniff trouble, there was one just down the block.

Only about half the Raiders’ entourage made it to Applebee’s because the sense to go home. Let it be known that a group of Raiders’ fans had more sense than me today. Not since I spat a hotdog on an ASU student after a Browns/Cardinals’ game have I questioned how my fanhood is unhealthy, but that is a story for another time. However, McFadden and Gannon made it to Applebee’s, and their pride had been WOUNDED by our dismissal from the sports bar. In retrospect, giving them FIREBALL! to assuage that wounded pride was not my smartest idea, but now we are back to the scorpion and the frog. Had I known the trouble to follow, perhaps I would have left. I mean, I knew trouble was coming; I just thought I could handle it, plus I was determined to get to the bottom of the Gannon thing.

Me: I still don’t get it. Rich Gannon, dude. I don’t think I can respect you anymore as long as you are wearing that. Turn it inside out, man. People are going to think I am drinking next to a guy who buys his clothes at Goodwill.

Gannon (looking all sad with puppy dog eyes (rottweiler puppy, but still): C’mon, man. I like this jersey. It reminds me of watching games with [the deceased].

Me: Well, I can respect that (glasses clink), but the general public just isn’t ready for that. I’m looking out for you, man.

Beloved Nephew: Yeah, man, that is li–

All of us (in unison): Fuck you, Chiefs’ fan!

Me (to Gannon): Tell me, did you get that jersey before or after the Super Bowl?

Gannon: BEFORE!

Me: Well, have you ever thought about buying a new one?

Gannon: I did this summer!

Me: Which one?

Gannon (head down in shame): Flynn.

McFadden: You moron!

Kauffman (slurring dangerously, raising his glass): To Christensen! (glasses clink)

Long#1: That is like the 34th time you’ve done that. I loved Todd, man, but stop.

Kauffman: long string of expletives, knocks over glass, spills beer, glass bounces on floor, but doesn’t break.

Bartender: He’s done. No more.

Raiders’ fans (in unison) WTF!!!!!

Bartender: He’s done. Period.

Me: Why didn’t that glass break?

Bartender: What?

Me: Seriously, what type of glasses are your serving this beer in? It bounced like a bottle of Canadian whiskey. A real glass would break.

Bartender: We have special floors.

Me: Bullshit! Your glasses are bunk! I got some really cool pint glasses this week — never mind, your glasses are horseshit!

Bartender” No, really, its the floor.

Me (tactical error #2 — or 213, who was counting at this point?) So if we were to throw the glass against the wall it would break?

Bartender: It would shatter. (Pryor, who I thought was the mellow one — another gross miscalculation, hurls his empty glass at the wall, and… drum roll…. it shatters!)

Me: Special floors, huh? What will they think of next? SHOTS!

Kaufmann: To Christensen!

Needless to say, we weren’t served any SHOTS! Had we been smart, we would have left immediately — it wasn’t as if fucking Applebbe’s had let us run a tab. They took one look at the Raiders’ fans and said, CASH UPFRONT!* Instead, we tried to overtip our way out of this mess, but that only works in movies and in Scottsdale, Arizona. If I were I lifelong criminal, I would have been cognizant to the fact that since we were near a really big fucking casino with a recent history of its patrons getting robbed on their way home, there would be a large POLICE PRESENCE nearby. However, I am just a simple school teacher that hasn’t been convicted** of any crimes since my college roommate watched Cool Hand Luke and came home with two parking meters one night in 1988 (another story for another time), I didn’t think Johhny Law would get there as quick as they did. I tell you what though, the residents of San Bernardino County are getting bang for their buck with their sheriff department because those guys arrived en masse.

PRONTO! That is how fast those deputies were there. We might have been able to get out of there with just Pryor taking the fall — in retrospect, that felon was SHIFTY, but McFadden and Gannon, still stinging from the sports bar ejection, went apeshit when they saw the billy clubs, and just like that, I had three compatriots in the back of squad cars and was facing some hard stares from the deputies.

Me: Let’s be reasonable here.

Deputy#1: That went out the door when your buddy threw the glass.

Me: I will pay for the glass. We’ve had hard day. We were at the funeral of someone dear.

Deputy#2: Those guys weren’t at a funeral. They are wearing Raider’s jerseys! Who wears that to a funeral!

Me: My thoughts exactly. I was initially harsh with judgment also. Who wears Raiders’ jerseys to a funeral, especially a Gannon jersey?

Deputy #1: Gannon was an MVP, man! What is wrong with Gannon?

Me (sensing hope): Are you a Raiders’ fan?

Deputy#1: No! I am Niners’ fan, but Gannon was good, man. (hope DASHED)

Deputy#2. Gannon is not important here. You people through a glass at the TV!

Me: Oh, C’mon, the TV isn’t even near the wall. Let me just take them to their hotel.

Deputy#1: You are in no condition to drive, Sir.

Beloved Nephew: I am. I haven’t drank all day. I had oral surgery this week, and the doctor said the antibiotics wouldn’t work if I drank.

Me (in my head) You are getting so fined for that. (Aloud) It’s true. Think of the paperwork you are going to have to fill out. Is it worth it over a glass?

And back and forth it went, the sheriffs unyielding at first, but then starting to soften, especially after the bartender went on break. The Beloved Nephew passed a field sobriety test. Our story about the funeral reception at San Manuel checked out. The Raiders’ fans did indeed have rooms for the night. Just when I thought we had a chance, Kauffman started puking all over himself in the parking lot. I started imagining what the phone call from jail to my wife would be like. I wondered if I’d be released in time to watch the Battle of Ohio tomorrow. I hoped my fantasy rosters were set correctly. I was a beaten man. Then, in my moment of despair, the Beloved Nephew stepped to the plate and hit a GAME CHANGER.

Beloved Nephew: Do you want that smell in your car? Let me take them back to the hotel. We all go on with our lives. It’s been a long day, and you guys can go catch the real bad guys.

The deal went down pretty fast after that. The Applebee’s manger was cool with us paying damages — – $123.00 seemed like a lot for one glass, but one can’t put a price on FREEDOM. The deputies had already run background checks on us, and to my immense surprise, no one in the group had outstanding warrants, not even Pryor. The Raiders fans had to promise they were in their hotel for the night. We had to go straight home. The only hitch was we couldn’t fit everyone in the Beloved Nephew’s Audi, so I had to stay with the Po-Po and the GROUP LEFT BEHIND until after the return trip. Soon, the Beloved Nephew and I were on our way to Redlands, and upon our arrival, we lit one hell of a bonfire and fired up the jacuzzi to soak our taints. Or are they gooches?

Mrs. Bads: I was getting worried. Did it go alright?

Us (in unison): Fucking Raiders fans!

 

* They didn’t really say that; I am employing DRAMATIC EFFECT, but we all know they thought it.

** key word, convicted. Arrested doesn’t count if you beat the rap.

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