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It was like a futuristic spiritual rite that called for an electronic device held high above heads. People subjugated themselves to their phones, all for the sake of recording a moment that would be recorded by professionals who were very good at that kind of stuff and who had much better equipment. No doubt these people used their own devices so they could blast their social media accounts with their own, raw images of the moment. And look, that's kind of sad, right? And yes, here I am doing the same thing, I guess.
That kind of thing is contagious, I think, and nearly impossible to ignore: The need to record and share a momentous event, such as watching a team win the pennant, graduating from college, getting married, or cooking yourself a dinner that includes vegetables.
But the glory was real, I think. The fans were genuinely exuberant when Holland and the Royals got that final out. They went nuts. The roar was deafening. The high fives were spread liberally, shared by men, women, men with ponytails, men without ponytails, women who knew about sports, women who didn't know about sports, men who wanted other people to think they knew a lot about sports, and men who thought home runs only happened after a third date before yesterday. Everybody smiled, everybody cheered, and everybody was happy-ish–except the Orioles of course.
It was, I think, like most other pennant-clinching games in a home stadium. Yes, Kansas City had waited quite a while to get there, but I'm sure other pennant-clinching stadiums of the past shook with equal amounts of yelling and rumbled with as many high fives. Which is neat, when you think about it, that that magnitudinous moment happens in other places every year.
And I'm grateful to have been there.
Also, I'm excited to see if the masses act the same when they win the World Series, because apparently there's no if about it. (A lot of fans, upon hearing me say that I hope the Royals win it all, say that they don't waste their time with hope, they know they're going to win. They say it with such conviction that I can't help but believe they believe it's irrevocably true. Maybe I should put some money on it or something.)
*A caveat: I, also, spent time taking pictures with my phone's crappy camera. But I couldn't see the damn field so I thought my time would be best spent getting some grainy images of fans for a blog.
Yesterday at Kauffman, I hurriedly delivered very expensive 5 x 7 photos that I'd taken throughout the game. It proved to be a pennant-clinching game for a team that hadn't even been in the playoffs since before I was born. The stadium was electric, the vendors were all smiles, and the fans were shelling out twenty-dollar bills for a single 5 x 7 photo like it was one of Alex Gordon's gloves.
Before every sale I make, I silently urge my mighty Contemplating Customer, "Don't buy it, don't buy it, don't buy it. It's not worth it." Unfortunately for them, a lot of them bought it, which meant I had to make a lot of deliveries.
Luckily, I finished just in time to catch the ninth inning. If memory serves, Greg Holland–he of shaggy-beard and pre-delivery ball-mitt-tap fame, walked the first batter he faced. Next up was Nelson Cruz, who apparently hit a lot of homers this year or something.
It was somewhat dramatic, I remember thinking.
But big, bad Nelson Cruz hit a weak grounder, forcing somebody out at second (it was hard to see because I was submerged in a sea of blue-clad folks). At that point, with one out and the Orioles's best power hitter walking back to the dugout as a pinch runner took his place, it was as if everyone in the stadium was suddenly struck by the significance and inevitability of the moment. They all knew what was coming. They could smell it, and they were salivating (like my childhood dog, Prairie Dog, used to do when she smelled sheep shit).
They were ready to rock and roll (like my childhood dog, Prairie Dog, used to do when she found sheep shit).
And then, like a single-minded mass, they all thrust their phones aloft, stretching their arms to give their cameras the best possible view of the field. I looked behind me, and a swarming mass of adoring fans, fans who've waited years and years for this particular moment (or, you know, bandwagon fans who'd waited a few hours) couldn't take their eyes off their phones.*
My next big purchase, I've promised myself, will be a camera. Because, let's be honest, these pictures are not great.