What was for the most part one of the greatest days ever for me, turned into a nightmare as a buddy and I were leaving the stadium after The Derby last night.
A season ticket holder friend called around 3 pm and offered me her seats in 422 for $75 a piece. I'd been saying that if I could get in the door for that price I would pull the trigger, so it was a no-brainer (face value was $180). We left FanFest (and the ridiculously long line for Goose Gossage's signature) and hustled down to Mission Viejo to pick them up and then hauled ass back to The Big A for the show.
I wasn't particularly drawn to the lineup for this year's Derby, but was real eager to see a ball reach areas of The Big A that I'd never seen, and in that regards, they didn't disappoint. And of course booing Swisher and Papi was just icing on the cake (that cake was then stomped all over when Papi won. Boo.).
At some point during the first round, I wandered out to the concourse for a smoke and ran into the Hud Dog buying a soda for his boy. Told him that he was missed in the booth and he gave me a "World Series Champion ring" fist bump and a hug. Cool guy.
Now, I've met a few of you on here, and have even taken in a few games with a couple of you, so I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I drank 47 beers and was running my mouth and being an obnoxious a-hole, to which I respond, not this time!
What I'm about to describe won't come as a surprise, but should serve as a friendly reminder to keep your wits about you when attending a game at our stadium, regardless of the opponent.
As my friend and I made our way out of the stadium, both in Angels gear, a dude and his accomplice, both decked out in Dodgers gear, approached me looking for a fight, asking ME what MY problem is, telling me that I have a big mouth, and saying other things meant to incite me into throwing a punch. This was all very confusing because 1.) I'd never seen these dudes before in my life, and 2.) I was relatively sober and knew that I hadn't been mouthing off in the seats so I couldn't have said anything from afar that may have offended someone, and 3.) I definitely hadn't said anything about the Dodgers, any Dodger player, or Dodgers fans.
I'm sure I squirmed for a few moments before I finally tried to end this mini-altercation by simply turning my back on the thugs, but they weren't through with us yet. It took everything in me not to escalate this seemingly random act of aggression, but I kept envisioning my body lying on the ground in a pool of blood, gutted, in what I was convinced at this point was a gang initiation ritual. You could say I was feeling quite threatened. Had I been 47 beers deep, I know I wouldn't have been able to maintain composure, and probably wouldn't be sitting here typing this journal entry that's become way too long already.
I turned around one more time and looked the dude square in the eye and said as matter-of-factly and as intimidating as a 5'11" beer-bellied, long-haired, white dude can be, "You have the wrong guy".
Next thing I know, Thug A grabs my buddy by the throat and choke slams him up against the wall - all 5'9", 120 pounds of him. Real cool, tough guy.
At this point, the yellow-shirts moved in and the thugs took off.
Maybe I over-exaggerated the thread title - neither of the perps actually laid a hand on me - but it was a near-jumping. We didn't hang around to see what became of the situation because, frankly, I was certain that the thugs who approached us had associates waiting in the wings, prepared to throw down at any moment.
Anyway, moral of the story is it's now been proven that you can't expect to be able to enjoy even the Home Run Derby, a seemingly neutral team sports event, without fear of altercation with blue-clad thugs.
Be careful out there, fans.