When a friend called and asked if I would like to accompany him to a Phillies-Washington Nationals game at Citizens Park in one of those all-you-can-eat-and drink VIP suites, I OK’d the deal despite the fact that I’m not really a sports fan.
I like the Phillies from a distance, the same way that somebody might like to look at the ocean without necessarily wanting to swim in it.
It is true however that once you’ve watched a baseball game in a VIP suite at Citizens Park, it’s nearly impossible to go back to sitting in the stands where there’s no protection from the sun and where the food is not free. My suite, for instance, came equipped with cheese steaks, sauerkraut hot dogs, chips, popcorn, all manner of drink plus brownies and untold varieties of ice cream; the kind of food that makes people happy and fat.
The hot dogs were the best. As Humphrey Bogart once said, “A hot dog at the game beats roast beef at the Ritz.” This despite the fact that hot dogs contain pigs lips, ears, snouts, intestines and spleens.
Who doesn’t have an opinion about hot dogs? “I need a little sugar in my bowl and a little hot dog in my roll,” Bessie Smith once quipped. Bill Maher, in a slightly dirtier frame of mind, once offered, “Meat is dirty. I wouldn’t touch a hot dog without a condom on it.”
About midway through the game, I decided to move from the interior of the suite to the outer section where there was a balcony seat. The dimming of the sun and the moving in of dark multi layered cumulus clouds with a decidedly El Greco cast turned me into a sky watcher, especially as the feint rumblings of thunder promised a coming downpour.
That’s when I heard what sounded like a military style wake up call, the musical equivalent of “Charge!”
A queer little mobile cannon done up like a hot dog in a roll came roaring into the field. People cheered, there was a shooting sound, and before I knew it something was flying high over the field and headed towards me in a furious downward arc. It fell from the sky into the nest of my inner left thigh, hitting with a loud thump and a sensation I can only describe as stinging. The object then bounced off my body and landed under my chair. A man sitting to my right in a separate suite had jumped up and reached over in a futile attempt to intercept the fall.
The direct hit was nothing other than a Hot Dog Knighthood.
“Do you know,” the man to my right said, “that only last week a woman was hit in the eye by one of these hot dogs.”
But these hot dogs aren’t just any hot dog. They are triple mummy wrapped in a high tech “refrigerated” material and then excessively duct taped over additional internal layers of tin foil and conventional sandwich wrap. Unwrapping one of these things can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes (you’ll need a pair of scissors). The wrapping alone gives it the force field of a small bomb when it hits you from the sky.
The stricken woman, Kathy McVay, had been sitting behind home plate had suffered a hematoma when the dog from the launcher hit her in the right eye. McVay, who became a media darling for fifteen minutes because of the incident, told a reporter, "It just came out of nowhere. And hard. And then the next thing I know he shot it in our direction, and bam! It hit me like a ton of bricks. My glasses flew."
It does happen that quickly, and it does land that hard.
Luckily my glasses didn’t fly—I only suffered a few white wine spots on my summer kakhais -- but I had to wonder: why me? Later, a Facebook friend joked that the Phillie Phanatic had targeted me because the Phanatic was a Left Progressive and I was a former Left Progressive who walked away from a movement that I no longer recognize.
Whatever your politics, these flying hot dogs are dangerous. I looked up McVay’s picture on various online news reports and was shocked to see the extent of the bruising on her face. I was disappointed when I read that the Phillies only offered her a simple apology and a free ticket to a game. McVay deserved something far better, like a week in Iceland or a check for 2500. Had she decided to sue the Phillies she would have walked away with a small fortune.
If I can make a prediction, let me say that I think the duct tape hot dog launcher’s days are numbered and that soon you’ll read that the cannon has been put into mothballs.
This won’t prevent other things from falling from the sky. A Google search, for instance, revealed that in 2007 a family’s house was bombarded with 15 pounds of sausage that fell from the sky.
In an English town it once rained Starlings, and in Argentina in 2007 it once rained spiders. In 2007 in Washington State, a grazing cow apparently stumbled and fell off a cliff and onto the roof of a car, almost killing the occupants.
In another United Kingdom incident from 2001, student soccer fans were hit with dozens of earthworms that rained down on their heads. Investigators said they had no clue where the worms came from because it was a sunny day with no planes or buildings nearby.
Perhaps the strangest sky incident occurred in 2008 in Columbia when blood rained down on the residents there. When a parish priest was consulted he said that the blood was a sign from God that people needed to change their ways.
This of course reminds me of my Facebook friend’s statement that the Phillie Phanatic was gunning for me because I had the Left Progressive fold.
In a way, I’d say this fits right in with the current Maxine Waters political playbook.