Saturday, January 19, 2008

Too Cold to Hold

Finding myself mired in a three day bender, hemorrhaging my two scarcest commodities (brain cells and money) like a gutshot hemophiliac, the mere thought of composing something worthwhile or humorous causes me physical pain. Instead I'll fall back on an old story. A famous story. A myth-making story. The Raul Mondesi story.

Allow me to set the scene. El Leal and I decided on a sunny Sunday in June of 2002 to head from our suburban nightmare to the (once and future) Skydome for an interleague battle between the Jays and their sworn blood enemy, the Colorado Rockies. We acquired tickets from an amateur/freelance ticketing agent (ahem) and entered the building with a mission: Sit behind the bullpen and give the visiting team numerous pieces of our collective mind. Understand this was at the tail end of a self-imposed five year hiatus from the drink, so my actions were neither fueled by nor thanks to alcohol. (The hiatus would end about month later, finding me unconscious in a Seoul NoraeBong) Leal was under no such restrictions, as he needs to maintain a 50/50 plasma-alcohol split to live.

We settled into our seats three rows behind the bullpen, set for an afternoon of full-throated leather-lungery. Much to the chagrin of the three rows of blue-haired day trippers between us and the bullpen. We quickly realized that a National League bullpen is full of faceless nobodies (and Justin Speier!), all of whom have been told they suck a thousand different ways. They were indifferent to our hollow mockery, and the vigorous headshaking from senior circuit below told us it was time for a change of scenery. We chose a largely empty section in the right field corner, which featured young children beating each other with inflatable bats. It was perfect.

We sauntered down to our new spot in the sun, and chose seats a few rows from the field. We wondered loudly what Rockies right fielder Todd Hollandsworth had done for us lately (turns out nothing except deprive us the chance to watch Larry Walker) and went about our business. The starting right fielder for the Blue Jays that day was Raul Mondesi.

Raul, like Hollandsworth, had been named rookie of the year as a Dodger. Unlike Todd he actually strung together several solid seasons. He came to Toronto in exchange for Ghostrunner favorite and son of Abraham Shawn Green. He had two reasonable seasons in Toronto but before 2002 he made an executive decision to suck. Badly. Mendoza Line-type shit. Our latent Shawn Green resentment, his current batting average of .212, and the belief that Raul spoke no english caused me to lash out at the burly fielder, alerting him of his inability to hit his own weight. This got Raul's attention. All of it.

His head swung around in a way that would make Linda Blair jealous. He refocused on the game but continued to peer into our section, causing a gentleman a few seats over to comment "looks like you've made a friend." I needed to know if this was true, so I asked Raul if he did want to be my friend boyfriend, and if he would like my phone number. Much mirth and shouts of MUY CALIENTE followed, until the Jays made a pitching change.

Raul started shuffling towards the fence, causing me to think "that's cool, he comes and hangs out near the fans during a pitching change." He leaned against the blue padded wall, looked past the father-daughter in the first row, stared directly at me and said: You got a fuckin problem mengh? I almost choked, but it continued.
Me (flabbergasted): Pardon????
Millionare baseball player: Why don't you say that shit to my face?
Skinny white guy(me again!): Ummm, you're a professional, go back and play your position.
Angry Dominican outfielder: Say that shit to my face, I'll kick your fucking ass right now mengh
Baffled paying customer (still me): Ummmmmmm seriously, go back to the field man.

Raul mumbled something about his face again, spoke quickly with the security guard seated along the wall and jogged back to the field. It was at this moment that I decided to have a heart attack. "What the fuck just happened??? That was fucking crazy!!!" The entire section was buzzing. Within moments, a very elderly security guy arrived and attempted to ascertain what had gone down. A man in the adjacent section immediately shouted "They were harassing him!" to which a man in our section said "No way! He threated them!" The two bystanders argued back and forth, which sent old man river scurrying off trying to calm then down.

I was still sitting there, unsure of what had just happened. The supporter from my section turned around and reassured me "no way are you getting kicked out man, I'm a season ticket holder and he threatened you!" As the security supervisor told me that this was Raul's first ever complaint about fans, I presented my argument that if this was New York or Philly, we'd be throwing batteries. He understood, listened to the impassioned support from within our section, and promptly bounced us back to our proper seats.

We watched the rest of the game in various states of giggling shock. Raul was traded to the vile Yankees about two weeks later, bounced around both leagues for a few years before leaving the game forever. I really wish he had hit me, but I'll take solace in knowing that no matter what happens, I'll never end up stealing electricity.
Thanks to the serendipitous Mondesi's House for the link


  1. Check out the boxscore of the game, 20 thousand paid on a saturday in june. Uncle Ted, you've been kind.

  2. I can't read that story about Rijo getting fined for stealing electricity without thinking "67,000 pesos can't be THAT bad! It must be, like, sixty bucks."


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