May 26, 2022

Simple Solutions to Your Problems, Part II

The subject line could have been "Dude Hasn't Played Softball in 27 Years, What Up?" but I wanted to continue the theme I started here:

The good guys don't have to lose.

In my 20s, I met girls on the recreational-softball field. Since I'm in the girls-meeting business again, I joined a local "sport and social" league similar to the one where I captained a team in Dallas.

Nice people on my brand-new, co-ed team this time. Of course, the women are 30-, but they have friends, and maybe their moms are on the market. (Divorce can broaden horizons in ways you never imagined.)

First game, we won. I played first base and had the pleasure of a couple of force-outs, snapping up well-thrown balls from the infield. Didn't get a decent hit, despite an hour's practice at the batting cage.

Second game, the umpire took exception to my "Official Softball" wood bat, and then things started going downhill. 

The same ump had placed a battery-powered Bluetooth speaker behind home plate to broadcast ghetto rap throughout the game. Players, and anyone else within earshot at the public park, enjoyed a steady stream of N-words along with references to female genitalia that would make a porn star blush.

Players don't argue with officials, so on returning home, I e-mailed the league.

It's entirely possible the response came from the same umpire, because he promised to accommodate me with "PG-rated" music from that point on.

That's when I saw red.

I know when I'm being mocked, and as a paying customer, I don't take it.

Next game, the ump's audio assault continued (through all the day's games, in fact) and my follow-up complaint was answered with another empty promise and a refund offer. Seeing no improvement, I took the money. Kept the uniform shirt because they didn't ask for it back.

But something kept nagging me. Since when does the public space belong to those who pollute it?

The next Sunday, I returned to cheer my former team in the playoffs. From the stands, I had a clear view of home plate, the bench, and Ghetto Ump as he dialed in his Bluetooth connection and showered the surroundings with the same gutter jabber as before.

So when he yelled, "Play ball!" I threw a switch on a device concealed in the pocket of my cargo shorts.

Knocked Ghetto Ump's Bluetooth link out instantly. Blissful silence, other than my teammates' up-talk and the occasional ring of bat against ball. I leaned back to enjoy the game.

Between batters, Ghetto Ump puzzled over his Samsung as if it were reading out in Yiddish. He delayed at least six pitches while trying to reconnect. At one point, his buddy offered his own mobile sewage library, and briefly succeeded by laying his phone directly atop the speaker. I crossed my legs the other way for cleaner line-of-sight and resumed overpowering the signal.

After an hour of mirth, I left the field with Ghetto Ump muttering, "I'm gonna take this speaker back to Best Buy." Icing on the cake for me, if he actually makes the trip.

My team lost the game. But the good guys won.

Posted by: Michael Rittenhouse at 10:24 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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