The Quiet Section

From: loyal fan
Subject: The Quiet Section
Date: April 1, 2015. 9:47:18 a.m.
To: Management

Dear Management,

With the season about to start, I read in the paper that you are planning to establish a “quiet section.” Great idea, but …

The last time I was at the ballpark was Old Timers’ Day, 1987. My daughter, eight, was with me, and, although we had pretty good seats, even before the first pitch, things went south. A bunch of yahoos in the row behind us started screaming non-stop expletives, spilling beer on us, and blowing big clouds of pot over our heads.

After an inning of this, I complained to an usher, who directed me to the Executive Offices. They were kind enough to move us to seats in the third row, right behind home plate. To add to our luck, we were seated next to a childhood hero of mine, Duke Snider. Although, by 1987, the “Duke of Flatbush” had grown quite stout, I could still picture his beautiful, looping swing.

I had never sat behind the plate before. The pitches looked completely unhittable, late-breaking dazzlers that seemed to come in at 200 mph. (I forget if there were radar guns in ‘87.) But, then, Pedro Guerrero hit a pea that looked poised to prematurely end the pitcher’s sex life. To my astonishment, however, the ball whizzed past the hurler’s head and kept right on going, maybe eight or ten feet above the ground, until it wound up in … the bleachers! What a shot! (Or was the “shot” just an early example of steroid use?) Anyway, we completely enjoyed ourselves. My daughter ate three or four hot dogs, and I had one, myself, perhaps with a beer (which, if memory serves, cost $1.75). I forget who won, but that was a ball game!

Now for the “but”…

Ever since that day, I have noticed that fan behavior is growing worse and worse. By now, half the yahoos are probably deaf from rock concerts, and I can tell from listening to games on radio that you guys have amped up the decibels. So, dreading another bad experience, I have stayed away for twenty-eight years. Call me stubborn, but my own hearing is bad enough already.

This brings us back to the quiet section. My first reaction to the news was very positive. Now that I’m into my golden years, I was excited by the prospect of a “comeback.” This time, I would bring my grandson, who just happens to be eight. But, before I “boot up” and buy a couple of online tickets, I have a few questions.

—By “quiet,” do you mean quiet for 2015, or 1987? Please indicate approximate decibel levels, and provide examples (e.g. of noise level when ump makes a bad call against the home team, or when they play that electronic applause to juice a sluggish crowd).

—How do you plan to keep out the noise from the rest of the ballpark? Watching a game from behind glass would make “the quiet section” seem like a jail or a locked ward in a mental hospital.

—What would you do to a yahoo (like my upstairs neighbor) who snuck into the quiet section and ruined it? Something awful, I hope, like letting the players take batting practice with his head.

—Suppose something really exciting happened –grand slam? steal of home plate?- and the fans in the “quiet” section made a little noise. Would we get kicked out?

Well, those are my questions. If your answers are satisfactory, instead of continuing to listen to the games on radio, turning the sound down during the ever more numerous and obnoxious commercials (“The 69th pitch of the game is brought to you by Acme Sex Toys”), I will return to the ballpark, and you will have reclaimed an old, long-lost customer and knowledgeable fan. But, if I were a betting man, I’d say the odds of this happening are at least as long as Pedro’s blast. Still, anxiously awaiting your reply, I remain,

Your long-time, die-hard fan,

….

***

From: Management
Subject: The Quiet Section
Date: April 2, 2015. 9:47:18 a.m.
To: loyal fan

Dear Mr. …

Thank you for your e-mail yesterday. Since the “quiet section” is a new idea, we have not yet worked out the details. But your thoughtful questions certainly point us in the right direction.

Nevertheless, it sounds as if, after a quarter of a century in “the wilderness,” the bottom line is that you are eager to return to “the fold.” With this in mind, I enclose a subscription form for the 2015 season. Under “Type of Seats Preferred,” please check “Other,” and pencil in “Quiet Section.” After the first game or two, if you are not completely satisfied that the seats fulfill your expectations, you may send a registered letter to my personal attention, requesting a full refund, and I promise to look into the matter.

Once again, we appreciate your interest and concern.

Your fellow fan,

… Public Relations intern

***

From: former fan
Subject: The Quiet Section
Date: April 2, 2015. 9:47:18 a.m.
To: Management

Dear Ms. …

And thank you for your concern. Instead of going back and forth on this, may I be permitted to tell an old joke?

Two lifelong fans, Joey and Bob, make a pact. Whoever dies first will return to tell the other one if there is baseball in heaven. A few days after Joey dies, Bob hears a voice:

“Bob? It’s me, Joey! Guess what? Good news and bad news. Yes, they have baseball here! Not only that, we get to play!”

“Wow, that’s great, Joey! So what’s the bad news?

“You’re the starting pitcher next Tuesday.”

That should give you some idea of when you can expect to see me back at the ball park. (Never.)

Yrs (sort-of),


About Ron Singer

Satire by Ron Singer (www.ronsinger.net) has appeared in publications including The Brooklyn Rail, defenestration, diagram, Evergreen Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, The Higgs-Weldon, The Journal of Microliterature, Mad Hatter’s Review, and Word Riot. His eighth book, Uhuru Revisited: Interviews with Pro-Democracy Leaders (Africa World Press/Red Sea Press) was issued February 1st, 2015 and is now available at about a hundred college and university libraries.

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