12 May 2008
Early in the baseball season, when that foolish, naive hope that the Reds might actually play competent baseball this year still burns, the Reds front office kindly donates game tickets to Tender Mercies. On a brisk Sunday in April, Ray and several residents walked to the ballpark to see the Reds host the Philadelphia Phillies. Most of the residents going to the game were guys, seven or eight of them, along with two ladies, Katie and Delia. When the group arrived at the park and found their seats, Delia surprised everybody with a pregame ritual all her own. Delia lowered herself into her seat, but sat on the edge, her spine at military attention, her hands on her knees, and her eyes, curiously, closed. Her nostrils flared as she breathed in deeply and out again. Then she slowly extended her arms outward, palms up, and tilted her head back. It was not looking like a sellout crowd. There were many scattered empty seats. And a few of the fans in our section eyed Delia, then began to look around for other seats. Delia breathed deeply. She was humming, although it was barely audible. Ray felt a tap on the shoulder. "Is she on camera or something?" a guy behind Ray inquired. "No, she's checking the vibes," Ray explained. "You gotta have proper vibes." "The vibes. Right, I gotcha." At last Delia was satisfied. She lowered her arms and got comfortable in her seat. There was positive energy all around her. None of her fellow Tender Mercies residents, including Ray, had any idea what the hell energy she was talking about, but if Delia was satisfied, they were satisfied. The Reds took the field, the crowd of about 20 thousand cheered, and the umpire instructed the teams to play ball. The guy behind Ray leaned forward with another question. "So, what's the verdict?" "Please?" "What'd she decide? 'Bout them vibes, dude!" "The vibes are outstanding. Lot's of positive energy. She believes this bodes well for the home team." The guy behind Ray turned to his girlfriend, and they exchanged high fives. "Positive energy!" they enthused. "Cooool!" But in the first innning, Delia expressed great irritation over the fact that both teams wore red caps. How can you tell who's who? These Phillies should wear some other color! Ray tried explaining how the visitors often wore grey, while the home team was usually in whites. And he mentioned how the scoreboard showed who was at bat, and from that one could determine which team was which. All of which was far too baroque for Delia, who didn't make it past the third inning. When she left she must have taken the vibes with her, or perhaps it had simply been a flare up of sunspots, because the Reds lost 8-2. The guy behind Ray summed it all up: "Dude. They should trade those (expletive) vibes for a left-handed middle reliever."
Posted by David Carney at 13:04