There is perhaps no more intimate relationship we can achieve through the medium of television than that we find in the company of fans featured in frequently recurring camera angles in baseball games. The three "money angles," of course, are behind home plate, behind right-handed hitter, and behind left-handed hitter.
We see the people (un)fortunate enough to find themselves in these seats so often during the course of a baseball game that we come to know them as our friends. My junior year of high school, a girl I had a crush on found herself in one of the "money seats" at a Phillies game. Watching that game was the most intimate we ever got. #YoungLove.
There is probably no more famous money seat celebrity than the ubiquitous Marlins fan who decks himself out in Marlins merchandise to attend games in premium seats that his favorite team isn't even contesting.
The money seats are the places where legends are born and dreams come true. They are where awkward teenage males achieve a level of intimacy with the fine ladies of their attraction that can only be surpassed by person-to-person interaction, and they are where senior citizens who don't give a f*** about who is playing become internet sensations.
Yesterday afternoon, I felt that I was witnessing the birth of another legendary money seat performance. Sitting behind the Phillies dugout, in the camera angle utilized between nearly every pitch thrown to a right-handed batter, was a gaggle of high-schoolers most likely living the dream that is legalized marijuana in the state of Colorado.
They were kind enough to say hello at the outset:
The first question that we must ask is: "are they stoned?" Let's examine the evidence. On the far left of our screen, we have Big Grin Rockies Hat Kid with his right arm elbow deep into a pool of ketchup-lathered fries. Next to him, we have the group's muscle chewing contemplatively on what is likely the most delicious item of food he has ever consumed. To his left, the ring-leader, dumb sunglass guy, talks haughtily to no one in particular about mundane matters. Then there's the waving guy. Lastly, there's Trying-Too-Hard-Face-Paint-Kid. He has a backwards cap, sunglasses, eyeblack, and a soul-patch.
We come back to them in the bottom of the first. Score: 0-0. With Troy Tulowitzki at bat, our ring-leader has had enough. One inning of Jorge De La Rosa and two outs of Jerome Williams were enough to break his high.
Luckily, in the third inning, Trying-Too-Hard managed to procure a joint to keep the party going. The Ring-Leader nearly sit-tackles waving kid to wrest his life-blood from the iron grip of our Duke-hoody-clad friend. Always eager to please the Ring-Leader, though, he surrenders the joint, source of future amusement, to his superior.
Within a couple minutes, the high has clearly kicked in. Our Ring Leader, now with dumb eye black of his own, hears a beautiful melody. Is it Beethoven? Bach? Or maybe something more experimental like Messiaen? Whatever it is, it speaks to us through Eye Blacked Ring Leader as he leads the universe through this inspired harmony.
Later in the third inning, Trying Too Hard Kid somehow decided that too hard wasn't hard enough. Evidently, in the middle of the inning, he took a field trip to the parking lot to grab a traffic cone to rest upon his head. You can see that he is satisfied with his new addition as he gets his groove on with some joyous head-shaking. He will win the favor of his friends yet, under the power of his traffic cone hat.
It's unclear what has gotten our gaggle of hoodlums fired up, but they are sure into the game now. Maybe they've been noticed by Charlie Blackmon (the guy on third base), maybe they're taunting Maikel Franco in some strange Coloradan tongue. Either way, they're straight up jazzed about life and baseball right now.
Last time we checked in with Trying Too Hard, we concluded he achieved a level of satisfaction with his appearance. We must now revise our conclusion as, in the intervening time, he has adorned his head with yet another hat and revealed to the world a hand-drawn, most likely, forearm tattoo. To paraphrase Social Distortion, you can try all your life, but not go anywhere.
Although this game was relatively high-scoring, Jerome Williams and, especially, Jorge De La Rosa made the action borderline unwatchable. As my attention waned, our teenaged friends slipped into a blaze-induced daze. Yet, even in their compromised state, they still delivered some fan service. For instance, observe the following GIF:
Look at that no look point! How did he know we were here? And that up-nod! What's up, my man? Nice eye black. Looks like you and your friends are really bringing it back. Well, you and Troy Tulowitzki, but mostly you.
The boredom got to be too much for our protagonists. Sometime in the middle of the 4th inning, they left. Would they ever return or would we be stuck with both an entirely uncompelling game and uncompelling fans?
Well, it looks like they just went back to the concessions to spend some of daddy and mommy's monies on some ice cream. Boy, is ice cream ever good on a 53 degree day! The munchies know nothing of temperature. That's just a human construct, man. Food brings life; what has weather ever brought us? Long live ice cream and may we ever eat it, regardless of temperature.
Nevertheless, all good things must end. Just as peak Roy Halladay and Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins and Cliff Lee and Shane Victorino couldn't last forever, neither can ice cream cones and drug-induced euphoria. As the innings dragged on and long after the ice cream was devoured, our young acquaintances came to long for sleep in a nice, warm bed. Maybe they desired to retire to the tender embrace of a lover, but, in all likelihood, such an embrace was unavailable to them at this particular moment in their histories.
Behold the yawn of Trying Too Hard for it is the yawn of us all. We were forced to endure 100+ pitches of Jorge De La Rosa, 4 entire innings of Jorge De La Rosa, and 5 entire innings of Jerome Williams. Sure, maybe we should bemoan the fact that the Phillies lost, but that seems irrelevant at this point. Water under the bridge. We all lost in watching this game. What did we ever expect when we saw Jerome Williams v. Jorge De La Rosa, shit team v. crap team? We lost when we tuned in.
But, for a brief moment of third-inning drug-influenced glee, these five, maybe six, high schoolers showed us how life might be if we were free from worldly concerns like "will my team win?" or "why don't they let that kid Chase Asche play?" or "I spent HOW MUCH on stadium concessions today?"
These young, probably irresponsible, whippersnappers allowed us into their world for 200 minutes yesterday afternoon. The game and our experience of it were more enjoyable as a result.
FanGraph of the inverse of coming down from a high: