This is a picture of some tickets for a baseball game. The game was a Mariners game. Specifically, it was yesterday's Mariners game, the one where Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game.
You might notice that those tickets are unused, that's because they were not used at the time of the picture and remain unused as you read this. You might notice that those tickets are lying on a wooden surface. That wooden surface is a coffee table. I know that is a coffee table because it is my coffee table and (hold for the big reveal)… those are my unused tickets to Felix Hernandez's perfect game.
How could someone such as myself, a man who eats, breathes and sleeps baseball? All it took is five simple steps.
1. Have an unreliable friend
The reason I even had those tickets in the first place is because one of my oldest friends was coming to visit me in Seattle. I am a die hard Angels fan, he is a devoted Red Sox fan. Neither of us cares about the Mariners or the Rays, but hey, baseball is awesome and he had never been to Safeco before. So purchase the tickets I did, way back in March. Neither of us could have possibly known what would have been in store for us had we attended the game, which we did not. The main reason he did not was because my friend is unreliable. He was supposed to come to town Tuesday night, but he got pulled into some work thing and couldn't finish it in time to make his flight. Me though, I soldiered on.
2. Have responsible friends
Though my old friend was not going to make it, I wasn't about to let some perfectly good tickets go to waste, especially once I realized the pitching match-up was King Felix against Jeremy Hellickson. So, on short notice I started asking around to see if any of my Seattle friends wanted to take his ticket and join me at the game. Unfortunately, the game started at 12:40 pm local time. This is a bad time to ask someone to go to a baseball game when all your friends are gainfully employed. Alas, none of them were willing to blow off work. Clearly I need to make friends with some ne'er do wells with spotty employment histories.
3. Be a sucker for puppy dog eyes
Even with nobody able to take the second ticket, I fully intended to go to the game when I woke up on Wednesday morning. I am more than comfortable enough with my own social awkwardness to ride solo at a ballgame. Alas, my three-year old daughter had other plans in mind. She had a school field trip to the zoo that day and she really, really, really, really, really, really wanted her daddy to go with her as one of the parent chaperones. How could I say no to that? Well, it would be physically easy to say "no" but it would've broken her little heart, or at least made here a cranky for morning drop-off and my wife would've given me a lot of grief for that, so I said yes, but did so as I slipped my tickets into my shorts pocket. With the field trip scheduled to return not later than 1 PM, I figured that I could still high tail it over to Safeco and only miss the first two or three innings. It is less than ideal, but like I said, baseball is awesome. Also, it is sunny and warm and Seattle, that happens like three times a year, one must take advantage of such opportunities.
4. Be a good father
The zoo was fun. We saw penguins. Penguins are awesome. We also saw snakes. Snakes are scary and evil and not awesome. But still, the zoo was awesome… right up until the part where my daughter started whining about her tummy hurting. She wasn't throwing up or anything, just complaining as three-year olds are want to do. I very easily could've just left her at school and let her teachers deal with her. That would've been the easy thing to do. That would've been the lazy thing to do. That would've been the American thing to do. I, however, am one-quarter Canadian. I am fully lazy, but apparently the Canadian part kicked in at this one moment. So, like a good day, I grabbed my little girl and shuttled her on home for a nap, there would be no game for me today.
5. Be habitually unlucky
My luck mostly stinks when it comes to live sporting events. Growing up, my dad got LA Kings tickets pretty regularly, the seats were right behind the Kings bench, which is very fortunate, but they were in a spot where we had an obstructed view of the net at the far end of the ice. There was one season where we went to eight or so games and in those eight games every single goal was scored at the end of the ice where we couldn't see the net.
It has also long been on my baseball bucket list to witness a no-hitter live, as I am sure it is for most baseball fans. I came close to seeing a no-hitter once. It was back in 2008 when I saw Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo of my beloved Angels throw a no-hitter and lose to the hated Dodgers. Not only was that excruciating to watch, it was only eight innings of no-hit ball since the Angels were the away team. As a result, this game is not technically a no-hitter.
So, part of my desire to attend this game was to not potentially miss a no-hitter. Now, that may sound like revisionist history, but I always assume I could see a no-hitter before every baseball game I have attended in my adult life. Well, except for late last season when I saw an Angels-Mariners game started by Jerome Williams and Charlie Furbush, because, come on, it was Jerome Williams and Charlie Furbush. Ironically, Williams threw a one-hitter through eight innings that game. But I digress. The point is that I had an inkling in my mind that history was possible and because I thought that and because I am unlucky that it almost became pre-ordained that a perfect game would take place in my absence.
The worst part was the realization of what was unfolding. By the time I got my daughter home and to sleep, the game was well underway. Eventually, I turned on the TV to see what I was missing out on. Almost instantly I knew something was amiss. Dave Sims was screaming like an even bigger insufferable homer than he normally is and the Mariner fans were going nuts, which is nuts because they usually do not care, much less show up to the game. Sure enough, Hernandez would fan Sean Rodriguez to end the top of the sixth and Sims loudly informed me what I was missing out on.
All I could do was mutter to myself over the fate I had damned myself too. That quickly gave way to the moral dilemma of whether or not I should root for the perfect game because they are so rare or if I should be a selfish prick and root against Felix simply because I didn't want to know I could've been witness to something amazing and passed it up. Ultimately, I opted for the former, which I am sure King Felix was relieved to learn.
What really brought me out of my doldrums as Hernandez mowed through Tampa's lineup was that my unreliable friend is also a well-paid friend and he had vowed to reimburse me for the wasted tickets once he knew he could not make the trip. When he said that, I am sure he just thought he would be covering the $30 face value of the tickets. However, the tickets now have a higher value due to their historical significance, but more importantly, they have a massive karmic price since his work emergency was the first domino that started this whole convoluted chain of events that caused me to miss the game. As of right now, I'm thinking of charging him $200 for the tickets and making him wear a dress to his job for the next calendar year.
So, let this be a lesson to you all when you buy your next set of baseball tickets. Do not invite an unreliable friend. Do have a reliable fallback plan. Don't go on your child's field trip and maybe just don't have children at all. You should probably also not get married, just to be safe.