Monday, August 3, 2009

Cleveland Rocks Your Party Host

Warning: The following contains very little about baseball.

Our story begins last Tuesday night. Yours truly was blitzed out of his mind and received at call around 2:30am from my friend, Rose. Rose claims to somehow be related to Pete Rose, though the only traits I know of them to share are a love of gambling and the ability to almost always make the wrong decisions. Anyhoo, Rose says he has tickets to the Tigers/Indians game on Saturday night. He, a disgusting Racist Logo fan, and I, your party host, usually go to one or two games a year at the Jake, oops, The Prog in Cleveland. I had vowed not to do so again since these trips usually end up with Rose doing something to piss me off, but being in the condition I was in at 2:30am on Tuesday, I could probably have been talked into anything. Plus, he said that his mom, her husband (Crazy Eddie), and his stepsister would be going. That would force him to behave himself, wouldn't it?

So, Saturday morning at 11:00am sharp (as we agreed), I pull up to Rose's house. Rose already has a beer in his hand and says that his family will be there any minute. Then, right out of All in the Family or Married With Children, I hear a toilet flush upstairs. Rose tells me that House is up there taking a dump. Uh oh. House, called so due to his immense size, is a lovable enough guy, but when drinking, can often get a crazy look in his eye that makes you think a 9-1-1 call will be placed by whomever is closest to his rage. House slowly makes his way downstairs with a crutch supporting his right side, apparently due to a recent accident breaking his leg. At this point, Rose lets House know that he is driving, an apparent surprise to the big guy. So, I sit there getting impatient as the time ticks by with no family in sight. Rose tells us that his younger stepsister is going through a divorce and we shouldn't mention anything about it. Whatever...I'll be good, I say. They finally arrive close to an hour and a half late and we hit the road.

Twenty minutes into the trip, I'm already annoyed by my drunken friend and make him switch cars and ride with his family at a rest stop because naturally, the females in the car need a pee break already. I'm not trying to be sexist here, it's just how it always happens. At this point, I finally see Sister for the first time in about two years and she looks like she went to a pillow fight and the other person brought a stick. She explains that she took a Xanax and is quite tired. Whatever. I'm on my best behavior. We agree to follow since Rose knows what hotel we're staying at. We spend the next hour and a half trying to keep up with Crazy Eddie whose idea of leading seems to be driving like Jeff Gordon weaving into and out of traffic at 90 mph. Finally, we arrive in Cleveland in one piece. House looks like he's about to explode.

We get into the hotel at 3:10pm (I check the time constantly) and our rooms aren't ready. The Hampton lobby is full of angry people that can't get into their rooms for some reason. House, still stressed out from following "Crazy Eddie the Indycar Driver" for 100 miles keeps muttering that he needs a drink over and over with that goofy look he gets in his eyes. Heather, now wide awake and realizing that she looks like a homeless woman, is berating the poor hotel desk employee about needing to get to her room to change and put makeup on. No wonder she's getting a divorce, I say to House. Rose must have began to sober up because he decides that we should leave the family there and we should hit the closest bar. Twist my arm, why don't ya?

It takes House forever to waddle a city block with his bad wheel, but we finally make it to Panini's, a sandwich specialty sports bar. Just as we arrive, Rose gets a call from the family that they need help getting into their room. He leaves while I track down a couple 24oz beers for House and myself. He immediately begins to calm down but then lays this one on me. "Did you know that we're all staying in the same room? Rose just told me while you were getting beers." No...I did not know this. Six of us in the same room? What am I, an 18 year old girl on Spring Break?

I chug the beer and we order two more and some shots. I'm almost done with my third when Rose and the family arrive wanting to go to the Thirsty Parrot, right by the field. Sister, at this point, has fixed her face and donned a Justin Verlander jersey, suddenly making her look much better. Any girl wearing a Tigers jersey immediately becomes ten times hotter, unless it's an Inge jersey. That means she has herpes. I'm happy that there's at least one more Tiger fan in the group, so we finish up and head to the Parrot.

That's me and Sister on the patio at the Thirsty Parrot. She has a few sips of beer and starts unloading on me about the divorce. Deciding that it will be quicker than luring her into an alley and killing her, I can see that she's going to let this affect her all day and decide to be a nice guy and give her advice. "You know, your life sucks right now, but try not to let it affect your day, okay? You came all this way to Cleveland, you can deal with your personal stuff the rest of the week, month, year, whatever. Just try to have fun today, okay?" She seems happy with that and I pound three more beers in victory. Sister has one and decides she's in love with some clown in a skin tight Affliction shirt. I conclude that she hasn't learned anything and decide not to speak to her the rest of the day. And I don't. Rose wants to see Sandy Alomar Jr get inducted into the Cleveland Hall of Fame, so we head to the field.

On the way, Rose and his mom met who I can only assume to be the mayor of Cleveland, pictured here. Now, Rose tells me that we've got "pretty good" seats and that we have bracelets that entitle us to "all we can eat" privelages. House especially seems to enjoy this bit of news. So, we walk...and walk...and walk (House hobbles) and finally get to our seats.

"Pretty good" isn't what is used to be, I guess.

So, Sandy get inducted, looking pretty fit for a guy his age. I immediately decide that Detroit should sign him to back up Gerald Laird. I taunt the few Indians fans I can find (the crowd seemed to be 75% Tigers fans) with my Victor Martinez bobblehead and we get underway. You know this part. We can't score. Porcello pitches a gem. Leyland puts Rodney in there for the 9th, even though Dreamboat Rick is just over 90 pitches. I start yelling from my seat two miles away from the field. I debate with a Tribe fan about who is worse among Rodney, Wood, Jonesey, and Joe Borowski. Rodney blows the lead proving my point.

Sister, at some point around the 8th inning, decided to leave. A combination of alcohol and the fact that she wasn't getting attention from anyone, methinks. In the 11th inning, Rose decides that we need to leave and make sure she's okay. Somehow, this triggers in my head a large amount of rage over the hotel room, the seats, and the fact that our "all you can eat" hot dogs were most likely left over from the last time Cleveland was in the playoffs, by their taste. I say we are definately not leaving. He has the hotel room key and is leaving. We must follow. House, the poor guy, takes an eternity to make it down to ground level. I spend this time watching the game and plotting Rose's demise, until everyone arrives. We take a cab back to the hotel where Sister is sound asleep. I tell Rose to go eff himself. I switch on the TV and sure enough, we can't get the game in our room. The front desk confirms this. I flip to ESPN and watch the ticker at the bottom of the screen with the intensity of an OCD nut lining up his shoes. My friend Derek texts me that the Tigers won and I decide it's time to leave the room, which sure enough, only has two beds.

Rose suggests that we all go to the House of Blues. This immediately amuses me since myself, I feel like I can fit in anywhere, but Rose, his parents, and House are probably the four whitest people on the planet. We take a cab there to find out that of all people, 80's hair band Ratt is playing. Rose, a child of the 80's like myself, flips out wanting to plop down his $26 to see Ratt sing "Round and Round". The rest of us? Not so much. Ratt just may have been the one hair band I was NOT into while growing up. Everyone else balks, but Rose talks me into it by saying that he'll pay for my ticket.

Yup...there's Ratt. We walk in and they're on stage. I ignore them and hit the bar. A drunken Rose accidently knocks my beer out of my hand and I finally let him have it...the room, leaving the game, everything. He gets upset and says fine, I don't owe him anything for the tickets or hotel. I call his bluff and say fine, I'm not paying. Ratt sings "Way Cool Junior" and whatever else they sing. The lead singer says they first played here 25 years ago and he might be the father of some of the people in the audience. I find this very funny in my drunken state. He then says that they're working on a new album. I find this to be funnier, and possibly the funniest thing I've heard all day.

We leave Ratt and head to the bowling alley/bar next door. I chug another couple beers (served in bottles shaped like bowling pins) and look over at Rose. His mouth is hanging open and he looks like Ray Fosse must have when Uncle Pete ran him over in the All Star Game. He says we need to leave and I walk him back to the hotel. Sister's passed out in one bed, parents in the other. House has located a pull-out couch and is passed out in the middle of it. I become angry again, snatch the hotel keycard from Rose, and tell him "seeya". Back to the bowling alley, since it's the only location that I know at this point.

So, I'm back over there where a wedding party has shown up. I try chatting up a bridesmaid at the bar no doubt sounding like Frank The Tank talking to his girlfriend when caught streaking in "Old School". She is nice enough not to mace me, but still leaves pretty quickly. I do another beer and shot and head to the bathroom where I apparently took this picture of myself.

Classy, no? According to my phone, that was taken at 2:14am. I wobble my way back to the hotel where Rose is passed out face down on the floor. I kick him in the ribs for fun and briefly consider crawling in bed with Sister...not in THAT way, you perverts. I just want somewhere comfortable to sleep. Even in this state, I realize that I don't need any charges pressed against me, so I curl up on the pull out next to House. He quietly chuckles to himself as I understand what a prison inmate must feel like on his first night in jail. Luckily, I pass out quickly and if House violates me in any way, I slept through it. My thanks to him for being gentle.

Other than waking up in the middle of the night with chattering teeth and the shakes (the family had the A/C set on Arctic) with no blanket, nothing else memorable happened. I insisted on paying the toll and giving money for gas to House because I felt bad for the big guy. He was a trooper. It wasn't until getting home that I found out that Detroit had won on a balk call, hardly an exciting finish. But at least I was there for the only victory of the series. Tomorrow night, I take the Rogo Show to Detroit where Luke Scott will hopefully hit less than 3 homeruns in the game. I think I'm driving this time, and I'm going with Derek, he of the text I received, so there won't be any long winded drinking story to go with it. (You're welcome.)

But anyways, thank you, Cleveland. It was fun. Hopefully we won't do it again.

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