Thursday, April 10, 2014

More Fun From The Booth

Leon and Paul - Tag Team Champs of the Booth

There was always something going on in the booth. Besides the announcer and scoreboard operator, there were always visitors. Players that had played earlier, players waiting to play, random Finney’s West employees, and general friends of the booth. And, like I wrote earlier, many of them were characters. That’s why we had so much fun up in the booth. Well, most of us had fun. Let me share with you an example.

Remember when I said that the booth was a clubhouse, locker room, saloon, and comedy club all rolled into one. This was never more evident one particular night. On this night hilarity ensued. It was a laughfest. Except for Jason.

At the time, Jason was primarily a scoreboard operator. He was also an aspiring announcer. He was learning the ropes by doing an occasional 2-game stint on the back diamond. The back diamond was smaller, had no lights and had a small shed complete with a bar stool to announce from. Needless to say, it had nowhere near the prestige that the main diamond with “The Booth” had.

On this evening, I was announcing on the main diamond with Jason operating the scoreboard. Also in attendance were the owner/operator Leon, Cardo and Kool Papa. With this group, it was inevitable that some sort of nonsense would take place. And it did.

With a couple of games under our belt, popcorn, hot dogs and adult beverages were being consumed. The hot dogs at Finney’s West were excellent and I had just finished noshing one between innings. Kool Papa was enjoying a bag of liberally buttered popcorn. Leon decided that it was time for another round of drinks.

With a used lineup card and pen in hand, Leon announced, “What’ll you have?” After writing down the order, he turned to Jason and asked if he felt like going downstairs.

He didn’t have to ask twice.

You need to know that Jason fancied himself somewhat of a ladies man. He thought he was hot stuff. So when Leon asked him to go down to the concession stand to get the drinks, he jumped at the opportunity. In Jason’s mind this served two purposes. One he could act like a big shot and pretend he was buying the drinks. Secondly, he could make an appearance to the females congregating around the concession stand.

Armed with the drink order and Leon’s money, Jason decided he looked hotter without his glasses and took them off. He left them next to the scoreboard. Hey, he had to look good for the ladies. However, this proved to be a big mistake.

As soon as Jason left the booth, Kool Papa reached over and grabbed Jason’s spectacles. Keep in mind that Kool Papa was enjoying buttered popcorn and his fingers were greasy. They were very greasy. He then proceeded to rub his slimy fingers all over Jason’s eyeglasses. By the time he was done there was a thick translucent film coating both the inside and out side of the lenses.

I told you Jason had made a big mistake.

Upon returning to the booth, Jason put his glasses back on. I’m surprised they didn’t slide off of his head. I’m not sure if he was aware of the snickering going on. He was too busy trying to get his glasses clean enough to see through. Our snickering had turned into full-blown laughter. Jason just muttered, “What the f*ck!”

I know. What a bunch of mean pricks. But it was fun. And we weren’t done. Now it was my turn.

Evidently Jason hadn’t learned his lesson. After the jocularity surrounding his buttered glasses died down, he did it again. Jason announced loudly to the occupants of the booth, “I get to go visit my dad in jail tomorrow.” Apparently Jason’s father was a bit of a ne'er-do-well and had run afoul of the law and was doing some time in lockup.

Not being a total jerk, I feigned concern and asked Jason how long he was in for. Jason said that he had been in for a while and was looking at another couple of months. He then used language spiced with an expletive deleted here and there to describe how much of a hassle it had been to get regular visits set up.

This is when I stopped acting like I was concerned. It was time for some more fun.

“Wow, Jason, that really sucks!” I then added, “You can’t let those people push you around like that. You have rights.” Jason replied, “F*ck ya, they ain’t pushing me around no more! I have rights”

Noting his emotional enthusiasm, I went for the jugular. “That’s right, Jason, you have rights. Are they allowing you conjugal visits?” Honest. I said that.

He said, “No they didn’t! What’s that?”
Doing my best to keep a straight face, I shot back, “Never mind what it is, it’s your right! You tell them you want a conjugal visit”
Jason was now steaming. “Hell ya! If it’s my right and I want it! Tomorrow I’m demanding a conjugal visit with my dad!”

To their credit, the other guys in the booth didn’t let on. Sure there was a lot of smirks and heads shaking, but Jason was none the wiser. Man, that’s an understatement. We might have been a bunch of rotten scoundrels, but we sure did have a lot of fun in that booth.

Until next time…from the booth.

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