Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stan And Me

(Warning: this all-about-me entry represents the worst of blogging)

I creeped out Stan Kasten tonight.

I was running late to the game, so I just ducked my head at the top of the 300 section behind the plate so I wouldn't miss any of the game. If you've sat there, the press box looms in front of you, hanging from the upper deck. It has two levels of doors, connected by stairs and catwalks.

After Jerome Williams put the Nats behind 3-0 (and the "ready to go?" refrain I always give my friend), the scurrying on the catwalks became a far more fascinating pastime.

Don Sutton sure went out of his way to shake the owner's hand! Looks like Todd Jacobson is going to get a hotdog! Is that beer in Dave Jageler's cup? Hey, look, Charlie Slowes is going to the can! In a city where spying Jeb Hensarling in a restaurant is exciting, this was DC's red carpet.

Mark Lerner strode to and fro, looking like a (cheap) Darth Vader in a long, black coat. More often than not, there was an attendant with him, ensuring that he wouldn't have to dirty his hands on those foul, foul door knobs.

But the busiest of the bees was Kasten himself, running from one office to the other. From one door to the next. Always looking around, always smiling. And looking down into the few rows of crowd he could see on this, the non-field side. One of the times he looked down, he caught a friendly face, smiling and waiving to someone who would, on one of Kasten's later passes, get his attention and point out his daughter.

All the while, my friend and I, stared at Kasten as our feeble pea-brains struggled to come up with something witty (read: sarcastic and insulting) about "The PLAN!" Needless to say, we came up as empty as Ryan Zimmerman with runners on. (Bang! Zooom!)

By about the 15th pass, I got the feeling that he felt that he was being watched. He's a sharp guy after all. When they had the guess the attendance late in the game, my friend shouted out loudly, "9,000!" and I could swear that got a flinch from Stan, but given the 40 degree weather, there's a much more likely reason.

I do know he saw us, although he wouldn't know who the hell I was anyway. There weren't more than 50 people or so in the immediate area in front of him, and with my wild mane of hair -- picture a chinchilla that's crawled up on someone's head and died -- I likely stuck out amidst a sea of empty seats and Braves fans. (One could make an argument that the Braves fans' seats were empty, but that's a philosophical debate for another time.)

After the final outs of the game, we walked back to our car. Since, like Uncle Teddy, I'm frugal with my money, it's a significant walk back to Lincoln Square. By the time we got back to 395, it was about 30 minutes after the game. We passed a silver Mercedes, and both instinctively looked right. The driver in the other car looked left, sorta did a double take, then focused his gaze back to the lane.

I looked at my friend. He looked at me. Was that Kasten?! It sure looked like him -- same dark suit, same yellow tie (admittedly, that disqualifies only about 3% of the DC population) He definitely gave us a look of confused (creeped out?) recognition. My friend slowed down a bit to get another look just to verify that we weren't crazy, but Kasten wisely (perhaps fearing for his life) peeled off and turned, heading off an exit.

So either I saw Kasten, and creeped the bejeesus out of him -- a reaction I typically only get from the ladies.

Or I've got visions of the plan dancing around and around in my head so deeply that I'm fantasizing (get your mind out of the gutters) about team executives.

Either way, it's really a plea for help!

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