Friday, May 22, 2009

Me and Rickey Henderson

There was another time plexiglass provided a nice barrier (if you read my previous entry you’d know what I’m talking about here).

Near as I can figure -- thanks to help from the best baseball site ever -- it was during the Twins' magical 1991 season, a game against their archrival during this period, the Oakland A’s. At the time Rickey Henderson patrolled left field for the A’s, as he was this night in the Metrodome, which used to have this ridiculous plexiglass wall about the regular wall to cut down on the home runs.

Rickey was arrogant. Rickey was annoying. Rickey was standing right in front of me for most of the game. I decided it would be fun to annoy Rickey for a change.

So as he jogged out to his position to start an inning, I noticed there was a Rickey Henderson fan club sitting in the section to my left. Rickey looked up to them and nodded. He then looked my way. I was standing on the stairs. I motioned as if I was going to tip my cap to him. But at the last second I saluted him the Johnny Cash way.

Rickey didn’t like that. Rickey began shouting at me, grabbing at his crotch. I couldn’t hear what Rickey was saying, but it sounded like something involving my mother.

To which I replied, “My mama? My mama? No, YO mama!” I did that while also grabbing my crotch. Did I mention I had been drinking? I’m not sure why I feel that’s an important detail to add here, but there it is.

Now Rickey was mad. Rickey motioned for me to come down on the field. Rickey must be dumber than what I’ve heard if he thought I was actually going down there. I’m fine behind this plexiglass, thank you. I appreciate the offer, though.

The game resumed, and I continued to ride Rickey. At one point he tried for one of his snatch grabs and botched it, allowing the Twins to score. Later he struck out swinging with runners in scoring position. When he returned to the outfield I mimed striking out. Rickey, again, didn’t like that. I wondered, why does Rickey keep looking at me if I’m pissing him off?

Somewhere in the night I had to make a pit stop at the Metrodome troughs. While standing in line, someone asked, “Are you the guy that’s got Henderson so pissed? What did you say to him?”

I told him what had happened. Soon people in the bathroom were patting me on the back and cheering. That can be uncomfortable considering the circumstances. Talk about stage fright.

Anyway, the game eventually ended. The Twins won in 12 innings. Rickey had stopped looking my way, so my fun was over, too. I didn’t have to meet Rickey on the field, or outside the stadium for further discussion.

I doubt Rickey thought too much about me or that night ever again. But I obviously have.

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