This week's work schedule was tailor-made for easing back into the swing of work after a long weekend. Tuesday and Thursday are full, normal, long, and painful workdays at the office. Friday, like all others between Memorial Day and Labor day, is a half-day because of summer hours, and today's agenda included a work-sponsored Twins game. After three hours of
While I love baseball, I mainly appreciate the sport as a symbol of summer and welcome it as relaxing background noise on a lazy Saturday afternoon. When it comes to attending games in person, baseball isn't anywhere near the top of my list of favorite activities. Stadiums are full of loud and annoying children, the seats are cramped, the food is prohibitively expensive, and baseball is a very slow sport to play, let alone watch. But when attending an outdoor game is matched up against an afternoon in the office, baseball wins in a landslide.
Today's game was hardly a match-up of powerhouses, with the American League's worst team (the Twins) taking on the American League's fourth-worst team (the A's). And, as you can see, the seats weren't what I've become accustomed to when receiving free corporate tickets. Normally I'm so close that I can smell the scent of Joe Mauer, but I was a few feet farther from home plate today:
But given the corporate admin challenge, free anything comes a pleasant surprise. And the ticket itself sweetened the deal even more:
To the untrained eye, this looks like any other ticket to the nosebleed section at Target Field. But I learned yesterday that this ticket also had $10 pre-loaded on it to be used at any of the stadium's concession stands, which meant that I didn't have to spend the seventh inning stretch eating a melted protein bar that I snuck into the stadium in the crotch of my underwear on this warm summer afternoon.
And it also meant that I ate ballpark food for the first time in my life--normally, I refuse to pay the exorbitant prices--out of principle if not out of pure thriftiness. After eating some wildly expensive (but free-to-me) chicken strips, a few of us I rustled up some unused tickets from co-workers and used the paltry balances remaining on our tickets to nab some late-game, wildly overpriced (but free-to-me) ice cream. This drew some stares and comments from fellow co-workers who have never seen my eat anything other than boiled chicken and vegetables.
Aside from my personal ballpark food milestone, it was a game of firsts (and seconds) in a number of other ways. This was Francisco Liriano's first start after returning from a stint in the bullpen, it was the Twins' first home series sweep of the season (a testament to their craptacularity), and it was just their second shutout of the season (again, the craptacularity). Unfortunately, I narrowly missed the return of Manny Ramirez from his second 50-game suspension for violating the MLB's drug policy...his first game back is coming shortly.
The game itself was efficient if not underwhelming in excitement, finishing in a little over two hours. And a short game meant an early end to this already easy workday. I took full advantage, arriving at the gym a good two hours earlier than normal. As if the day hadn't already been kind enough to me, I received an unexpected compliment shortly after starting my workout.
After watching me bench press, a guy standing nearby asked how much I weigh. When I told him I weigh around 190lbs, he was impressed and asked if I take Creatine. I told him no, and he complimented my strength and lean muscle mass and said that's what he's trying to achieve. And this wasn't one of those senior citizens who's awed by anyone who can lift a 25lb dumbbell without using both hands--this guy was in decent shape and couldn't have been more than about 30 years old.
That was an unexpected compliment...and I must say, "lean muscle mass" has a much nicer ring to it than "scrawny beanpole," which is a "compliment" that I've received on a much more regular basis. Could the day get any better? I really doubt it...at this point, my best bet is to go to sleep while I'm still ahead. And I better rest up for that grueling eight hour day back in the office tomorrow...I don't need to pull a brain muscle at this critical juncture in the fiscal year.