Life Rule #1947: For It's One....Two....Three Strikes You're SOLD!
I happen to know plenty of folks who don't put much stock into watching America's past time. The game is too long, it's boring, there is never enough action. Valid points. Usually that resistance surfaces when a game finds itself on the television. Now when you ask those same vacuums of fun to head to the diamond and catch some baseball they rarely put up a fight. Perhaps it's just a convenient excuse to work towards inebriation at a public venue other than their local watering hole. Perhaps it's the endless options of bowling alley food they have at their disposal: ballpark franks, cotton candy, dip n' dots, peanuts, cracker jacks (I actually care if I come back), chips and cheese? I ended that last bit with a question because is that tiny crater of goo paired with tortilla chips REALLY cheese? Shit, Velveeta would blush if she knew what baseball franchises were serving its patrons. I'd rather dip my chips into the excrement Slimer leaves behind while tormenting the Ghostbusters. Oh, and you bet your ass I'd wash any of the above down with an ice cold Ecto-Cooler. Ghost jizz. That's the only thing it could be, right? I don't care. Fork it over by the bucket. I'm sorry, we're getting off-track. We can discuss Hi-C flavors another day. Back to the task at hand! We were attempting to pinpoint why so many head for another room in the house when a baseball game flips on, yet have no issue accepting an invitation to the live action. We checked off junk food, accessibility to booze, perhaps that corny prize for the first 10,000 attendees (usually a mini bat or bobble head). The options are endless if you want to whip out a whiteboard and start a list. Personally, I'd like to think there's one reason and one alone: the mobile refreshment vendors.
Sweet sassy molassy. You're flat out lying to me if you tell me the hairs on the back of your neck do not stand up when you hear that deep lonesome bellow echo throughout the park. There you sit, baking in the midsummer sun, wondering why in the hell you even agreed to tag along to yet ANOTHER ball game, when out of the blue you hear the voice of God himself, beckoning you to his oasis of refreshments. ICE COLD BEER HERE! LEMON CHILL! PEANUTS HERE! GET YOUR DIABETES HERE! Why do they always feel it necessary to end their war cries with the word 'here'? We can see you pal, and we can certainly hear you. We know where the God damn products are because they're sittin' in your LAP! Perhaps I should withdraw that previous statement for I truly believe these sinister's of sound are onto something. Who doesn't get downright ecstatic when one of you finds yourself sitting directly in front of one of these human bullhorns? They damn near force you to purchase something. And is it really so bad? Maybe you're not even hungry, which I call bullshit on, because if you're at a baseball game there's a 98% chance you've been drinking at a respectable clip. Why not wash down that $9 Bud Light with some cotton candy or caramel corn or summer wiener (during or post game)? Sure, digestion and time will collaborate in the near future and make you pay for your decisions, but in the meantime? Enjoy yourself!
Do you know what else is remarkable? Typically, when you introduce alcohol, heat, and lack of nutrition, things tend to get a wee bit dicey. Tempers flare, fights break out, and we're almost always entertained by some form of white trash tom-foolery. Have you EVER seen a vendor get upset? Have you ever seen some overweight piece of shit attempt to pick a fight with that same vendor? My answer is no. They're like Santa Claus, except instead of forcing their way into your life via the chimney, they're blowing your mind via the staircase. Who needs a velvet sack, sleigh, and eight mangy reindeer to sell you the goods when all these slick wizards need are a plastic tray affixed to their torso, a few heat lamp cooked food groups, and a winning attitude? I'd buy the sweaty pubic hair from beneath their Cinta issued work pants with no questions asked. They're that good.
Hey, riddle me another. Why doesn't this enthusiasm and flare transfer over to other sporting events? Go on, think about it. How often have you found yourself at a basketball game or a football game when one of the home team's vendors waltzed over to your section peddling one of their products, only to find out they're announcing the treats which they carry with less audible volume than a church mouse's fart? I cannot compute the disconnect. My gut tells me that at the very least SOME of these vendors are the same folks I see stomping the stairs at a local baseball game, but do I dare insult the very integrity of the men and women I hold so high? Perhaps it's the pace of the game itself. I'd almost attribute it to a boxing match from the mid to late 90's versus a boxing match today. The action in a baseball game runs more parallel to a match pitting Mayweather against Pacquiao. Not quite as many body blows, lot more dancing around, lot more defense. Mid 90's action? Tyson v Holyfield. Two physical freaks of nature wailing on one another round after round. Think football, basketball, or hockey. The action is nonstop. The stop between plays is either nonexistent or shaved down to a much tighter time frame. Soccer? I thought we were talking about sports, no hobbies. We'll correlate futbol with figure skating on grass.
Soooo, do we have a brilliant marketing scheme at play here? Arguably one of the more "boring" sporting events paired with the most "exciting" food service vendors in the business? Or are we flirting with the prospect of looking into this too far? Maybe to scenario one. Hell no in respect to scenario two. Let's tackle the marketing angle. It makes sense. How do we add some tantalizing spices to a game that fans have already deemed as having too bland a flavor? Why not encourage the folks slinging our favorite treats to act like a pack of rabid wild canines? They've kept us on our toes for years, haven't they? The idea (which may or may not be fabricated) took hold and now it's an integral part of the overall experience when at the diamond.
Why don't we carry the analogies over to other aspects of our lives? We're here to have fun after all. Picture a wonderful evening out on the town with a few buddies. You've swallowed a few drinks, conquered a number of watering holes, and found a lovely companion worthy of extending the evening with. He/she/it asks you back to their place, and all of a sudden those darts you've been throwing all night are getting closer to the bull's eye. Keep winding up for the kill shot my friend. You're now back at their den, their sanctuary. The fact you've been granted access to an abode should get you a few smooches and even a solid over-the-pants handy barring you falling flat on your face. Take a deep breath and keep the wheels in motion well lubed; the motor's gotten you this far. Bring that aforementioned spice to the table. No one ever got anything of value Eeyore'ing their way through life. In other words, don't be a bump on a log. Rather, bump that log right into her wood chipper. Haha! Sorry, I'm getting a bit crude. There's a point to take away here; wow them with a Roman Candle, not a Sparkler. Excuse yourself to the restroom. As soon as you've rifled through their medicine cabinet (you creepy bastard) and talked yourself off a ledge, get it together and come bounding out yelling enthusiastically!
"Foreplay here! We've got fresh nuts here! Get them by the bag while they're still hot!"
Get absolutely silly with your delivery. If you commit to this tactic there is NO turning back, so you mine as well swing for the fences. Your antics we'll either be appreciated and met with a sexual curiosity, or you'll be ushered out the door faster than chick who turned into a blueberry at Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Don't BE the blueberry....EAT the blueberry. I don't even know what that means. It serves its purpose for how far off the rails we've careened in this article.
Let's circle back to brass tacks, or rather, salted peanuts. Baseball food vendors are one of life's little treasures. I'd like to think we've acknowledged that fact. If you haven't, then make sure to purchase some cotton candy from one of these breathtaking beauties of the ball diamond (how's THAT for alliteration?), shake their hand, and let them know that they're appreciated for their gusto.
Before that time, get in front of your mirror and practice your own spin on the delivery of those vendor style services. Nighty night.