Besides the inability to take a deep breath, my visit to Great American Ballpark was also cursed with the oh-so-familiar patron -- The Big Mouth. You can pretty much guarantee that at every game there will be one person, usually a guy, who talks frequently and, naturally, at a volume five levels higher than everyone else. Last night The Big Mouth was sitting right behind me with his wife and two other folks. This particular Big Mouth had a Kentucky accent as thick as sausage gravy and he was the expert on all things baseball. Just to add to his pontificating was his amusement in himself. Most of his comments were punctuated with a loud guffaw that came out something like "hue-HUH" and sounded for the world like laughter I heard on an old cartoon with hillbilly bears. Besides his nonstop commentary on everything from the game itself to the ballplayers' ages to Brandon Phillips' teeth, he munched peanuts and in flicking the empty shells managed to hit me in the back of the neck several dozen times. Whenever Sasquatch and his pals went for their smoke break, the other gentleman in Big Mouth's entourage draped his feet over the empty seats in front of him and I got to sit with dirty boots caked with mud and peanut shells a foot away from my face. There's a deal with a local pizzeria chain that if the Reds' pitchers strikeout 11 during a game, everyone with a ticket gets a free small pizza. That was reason enough for Big Mouth to give us, with each hitter, an update on the pizza quest. "Eight more strikeouts for pizza, hue-HUH!" "Only need five more for pizza, hue-HUH!"
In all fairness to Big Mouth, I will say he was the baseball expert within his group of four, as I have never heard so many idiotic things said at one ball game in my life. Those of you who don't like baseball and know little about it can maybe forgive them their ignorance. For someone like me they were fingernails on the blackboard of my soul. The best lines of the evening:
Jon Lester, Cubs pitcher, came up to bat. Like many pitchers, he has yet to get a hit early in this season and thus has no batting average, hits, RBI, or OPS.
Friend of Big Mouth: What's with all them zeroes on that guy?
Mrs. Big Mouth: Are all the bases the same distance apart?
Mr. Big Mouth: Yup.
Mrs. Big Mouth: Huh. It always looks a lot shorter from second to third.
With Reds runner on third:
Mrs. Big Mouth (shouting): Steal home!
Big Mouth: Naw, he don't wanna do that now.
Friend of Big Mouth: Is he ALLOWED to steal home?!?
Big Mouth: Yeah, he can steal home.
Friend of Big Mouth: Can he steal from first to second?
The runner was on third as a result of a single followed by two stolen bases.
During the sixth inning:
Friend of Big Mouth: Do they have half time?
Big Mouth: No, there ain't no half time. They got the seventh inning stretch.
Friend of Big Mouth: Do they switch players?
Big Mouth: They got guys on the bench they can bring into play if they want.
Friend of Big Mouth: What do they do when they ain't playing?
Big Mouth: They watch the game.
My children often hurt my heart with their lack of interest in baseball and some of their questions make me cry. I now console myself that I could be mother to these folks. And I leave Friend of Big Mouth with this parting shot, my favorite Foghorn Leghorn moment. Hue-HUH!