What Panda Hat? Have Another Burger.

It’s always fun going to see the Giants play.  Especially when my son is taking me for my birthday.  On our way to the game, we planned to finally go to HRD Coffee Shop and check out the modern Korean fusion food (as seen on Triple D, of course.)  I had been lead to believe the place would be packed.  I was thrilled to find out it wasn’t (which I was told was unusual).  The owner, whom I recognized from television) figured out we were new and pointed us to the Mongolian Cheese Steak Sandwich for our first trip.  I must say, the Mongolian Cheese Steaks were delicious.  Restaurants get extra points for setting up patrons for an exceptional experience in my book.

As we ate a long communal bar-cum-table, I noticed the women to my left.  One had a BBQ pork scramble that I must try at some point; the other a kimchi burrito.    A few different guys in line asked what we were eating and the monkey and I both heartily endorsed our meal.  After about 2o minutes, I realized Miss Burrito had never stopped talking.  Somewhere in her monologue, she had , however, paused a few microseconds to take two sparrow like bites and announced, “this doesn’t taste like kimchi.”  I’m sure everyone in the place was thrilled for her pronouncement.  Me, I bonded with the other patrons as we relished in the simple joy of great food.  Oh yes, we are going back.

After our food (I’ve noticed that the monkey rarely finishes his fries — what’s up with that?), we continued our stroll down to AT&T park.  My eldest son had requested a new Giants hat, so we stopped a stand to get him one.  As I evaluated the many non-traditional hats available to consumers, the monkey decided we needed panda hats.  Two issues here.  First, its warm and the hats are furry.  Second, we are both over 10.  I looked at him with a stank eye he missed  and shrugged.  He works now. If this is how he wants to spend his paycheck he will.  To my dismay, he did.  He already had a hat on and it was Giants’ Fedora day, the best $0.99 hats China could send us.  Suddenly, and abundance of hats was in sight.

A while later, and by a while I mean  a beer, batting practice and stroll around the entire park, we were seated and waiting for the game to begin.  As the crowd filled in around us,  I took note of the people around us.  Who was I going to high-five when the Giants scored?  Who would I casually chat with besides the monkey (who inevitably be texting his girlfriend)?   We had empty seats on both our left and right.  As the game started I realized we had two morons sitting behind us.

We weren’t in the season ticket section, so I always expect casual fans. Like the six twenty-somethings directly behind us.  The three girls were dressed to be seen and discussed make up techniques for an hour.  I never heard the men in the group.  But directly to the left were two huge baseball fans who went on for the entire game.  For you baseball fans, I’d like to share some of their wisdom  I never knew I so little about baseball.

At one point, there was an easy bouncer to Crawford at shortstop for an easy pick up and throw to first for the out.  Baseball Scientist #1 announced loudly, “that was a can of corn!”  Let’s just go to Wikipedia shall we?

Can of Corn:  A high, easy-to-catch, fly ball hit to the outfield. The phrase is said to have originated in the nineteenth-century and relates to an old-time grocer’s method of getting canned goods down from a high shelf. Using a stick with a hook on the end, a grocer could tip a can so that it would fall for an easy catch into his apron. One theory for use of corn as the canned good in the phrase is that a can of corn was considered the easiest “catch” as corn was the best selling vegetable in the store and so was heavily stocked on the lowest shelves. Another theory is that the corn refers to the practice in the very early days of baseball of calling the outfield the “corn field,” especially in early amateur baseball where the outfield may have been a farm field. Frequently used by Chicago White Sox broadcaster Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson.

I have worked hard to educate Lambchop on exactly what a can of corn is.  She knows explicitly you don’t run to catch the can and it does not involve grounders!  Morons.  But the best was yet to come.  I don’t know who they were talking about, but he was “the perfect #2 hitter.”  Or, as Baseball Scientist #2 noted, “the perfect #5 hitter — he is both.”  I was floored. Clearly, these guys know something I didn’t. I couldn’t wait to learn how this could be.  To my thinking, the prototypical number 2 hitter, is a contact hitter, patient so the lead off hitter can steal, able to move runners by hitting the right side and fast so that he can score ahead of the big boys at #3 or #4.  The #5 hitter is a big bopper. His job is to drive in runs – doubles, homers and flies when men are on third.  Often slower than the guys in front of him.  Yeah these guys are just the same.  I was disappointed that these baseball scholars didn’t elaborate.  I wanted to revoke their SABR memberships.  To quote Bobby from Supernatural, “Idjits!”

In the second inning and older couple  came to sit on our left.  There were 2 open seats, but I was had misread my ticket and was sitting in her seat.  The monkey and I moved one seat right – there were still 4 empty seats there.  I guess as she sat next to me, I guess she decided I was in the way — she had a to the right like an old tree living too long in a windy pass — and was refused to sit still.  So she climbed over her husband to sit 3 seats over.  He must not have wanted to sit next to her either, so he moved next to me. Luckily he sat up straight and was nice enough, but his orange pants should be burned, Giants game or no.

A little later Miss Lean remarked in surprise, “don’t they usually do him second?”  I had failed to recognize this was a porno.  Where else do you do people? Maybe this was a salon, but it was really large and disorganized waiting area.  Do him second?  I’m surprised  didn’t call the catcher a goal keeper.  More people should say less, don’t you think? Whatever. I had this really cool fedora.  Simple pleasures and all that.

Fast forward a few hours.  Despite the  mouth-breathers we sat near, it was great day and I’m exhausted, glad to relax on BART trip home.  As walked to my car, the monkey announced he wanted to drive and I could relax.  Ok.  As we got near home, he produced the panda hats and told me we should wear them.  It would make Lambchop laugh.  Tired, I acquiesced.  It’s always good to see her smile and I’m sure she’d laugh.  As we approached, there was  crowd near the church.  Maybe the Jesus singers had a performance tonight.  It didn’t look like the snake handlers across the street.  Wait.  That’s past the church. That’s my house.   There were 40 of my closest friends on my lawn and banner that said something about turning 50.  OMG.  Seriously?  And the 510 Burger Truck in my driveway?  Good thing he was driving, I’d have been to shocked to park.  I might have been shaking.  I’m choking up again just writing this.  I cry at Hallmark movies too. That’s why I don’t watch the Hallmark Channel.  And the programming sucks. But it still makes me tear up.

What panda hat? oh yeah, I had this silly orange panda hat on.  It didn’t matter.   I was somewhere else.  My feet didn’t touch the ground when I stepped out of the car. Too many faces. An overload of emotion.  I can’t believe what Lambchop and the monkey did. I still can’t.  There were laughs. Toasts.  A drunk, fully clothed JenJen in the pool.  Cacti and a solution to the basil shortage of 2012. Burgers, with and without Eggs and Bacon. And much love.  And for once, I’m speechless.