Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pittsburgh? Really?

What is going on? The Pirates in first place in July?

I'm watching the Taint Louis-New York game right now, root, root, rooting for the Mets team. Listened to the Reds defeat the Pirates today as I traveled from Ohio to Washington, DC, listening to the Pirates broadcast as I traveled through Pirates territory. Saw a lot of Pirates gear, too. Weird.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Parked Brains

I went to see U2 in Chicago last night. There are a couple marginally-baseball related things in this story.

It's a five and a half hour drive between the place I am in Ohio and Chicago. I left at 7am, as I had a floor ticket and I wanted to get close to the stage, hence the need to lineup around noon (I had the advantage of a one hour time difference.) The drive was great until about an hour away from Chicago, when the brake line on the car I was driving ruptured. I coasted to the side of the road after blowing through a red light (fortunately no cars were coming). There was just enough brake power to stop at 20mph if I pumped them, so I rolled a little down the road and found a mechanic about a half a mile away.

Fortunately, the mechanic was taking an extended vacation and was closed. I looked across the street, when lo and behold, there was an Enterprise car rental. I rolled over there and not only did they have a car left to rent, but they even called the Firestone where they take their cars and took me over there (I had to roll down the street a couple of blocks). The whole process took about an hour, and I was back on the road towards Chicago.

When I arrived at Soldier Field, not really in a panic, but having lost enough time that I wasn't going to park away from the stadium and walk, I was blindsided by the cost of parking at the stadium. $46


Yes, that's $4 short of $50, nearly the cost of my ticket.

Now, anyone who's even heard of basic economics knows there's such thing as inflation. But $46 is not inflation. $46 follows no law of economics at all. In fact, it's just another form of corporate oppression from which this country suffers. I had one of two choices - to find a garage somewhere downtown for probably $20 (also ridiculous), walk, and lose another half hour or more walking (which could mean the difference between getting in the inner circle near the stage and standing on the football field unable to see anything) or paying the $46.

Why do we put up with this? People, it's not "capitalism." So many in this country have not only been brainwashed into thinking this kind of behavior is the "free market" or "capitalism," but also glorify it as "freedom." It's not freedom. It's no different than a government tax, except its a private corporation imposing it. Free markets have laws that make economies work. When we go to a baseball game, we shouldn't have to pay the price of another ticket to park a vehicle, especially in this country where you have to use a car to get anywhere.

Frank McCourt, of Dodgers bankruptcy fame, made his fortune on parking lots. What an absolutely stupid thing it is to make someone a millionaire for allowing you to stop your car for a few hours.

Anyway, I paid my $46 and got in line at 1pm. It proved to be early enough, as I was right next to the stage when I finally got inside. There was a baseball moment during the show, when Bono told us that Larry Mullen Jr. had been to the White Sox game the night before, when they beat Kansas City.

The other baseball-related moment occurred before U2 came on stage. Interpol was the warmup band. I had a pretty good view of the stage, but this giant ugly guy with a Cardinals t-shirt kept shifting right until by the end of their set, I couldn't see anything anymore. I was NOT going to be blocked for U2, but the thing about U2 shows is that people for the most part respect each others places, so I was reluctant to change my place. But I thought, that guy is oblivious to those of us behind him who can't see, why shouldn't I step in front of him, where there's a big space? And then I thought, he's a freaking Taint Louis fan, why should I care, so I ducked under his arm to the space in front of him, where I had the best view of the stage as I've had in my entire two decades of being a U2 fan. Also, since the guy was a foot taller than me, he could see over me just fine.

But I felt animosity towards him from the very beginning because of that t-shirt. Talk about parked brains. :)