I've heard all the hype about how much more fun Astros games are to attend since the team decided to go "baseball botox" and at least try to look younger, shipping out Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman in consecutive days last month. Friends of mine talk about how much more watchable this team is than the one that started out 0-8 to begin the season.
I get all that. Hell, I agree.
But when your team is in actuality no good, the baseball gods have a funny way of putting you in your place, of reminding you that "hey, let's not forget....you're still the Astros."
The newest method of "irrelevancy reminder" that the baseball gods came up with in their staff meeting this week involves the story of a brave young lady with very poor choice in men, a baseball, and a dude with a "flavor saver."
In Yankee Stadium, my guess is a foul ball hitting an unsuspecting girlfriend doesn't warrant an interview with the team's "sideline reporter." At Minute Maid Park, on the other hand, it's easily still the most exciting, newsworthy thing going on.
Behold....the magic of Bo...
No, not this Bo...
I've been to hundreds of baseball games in my lifetime. The dream of any true baseball fan is to catch a foul ball during a game. In fact, a good litmus test for a guy who's a sports fan to ensure girlfriend compatibility is to see if she understands the importance of catching a foul ball during a major league game. If she does, keep her (longer than you normally would, at least). If she doesn't, cash out (or depending on looks, squeeze one meaningless romp in the hay out of her, and then cash out.) And yes, sentences you'll never see me type: "My book on relationship advice! In bookstores NOW!"
So here we have Bo, in all of his douchecap-wearing, chach-beard-sporting glory -- moment of truth arrives, Astro third baseman Chris Johnson hits a screamer down the line, you have plenty of time to react to it. How do you handle it? If you're the average fan, you give best effort to come up with it barehanded. If you catch it, you catch it. But make the effort.
If you're Bo, how do you handle it? Naturally, you get out of the way at the last minute, let the ball peg your girlfriend, blame the error on "losing the ball in the lights," and then keep the ball for yourself after you pick it up off the ground. "Thanks for knocking that line drive down with your rib cage, BABE! FINALLY, I caught a ball at a game!"
The immediate reaction to this fiasco -- on Twitter, in texts I got, even a voicemail from one female friend -- was "chivalry is dead!" Uh yeah, whatever. Chivalry died of natural causes many, many eons ago. One day out of the year, we celebrate its memorial. It's called Valentine's Day.
Forgive me if I'm not ultra sympathetic to the plight of Sarah, the girlfriend (who based on her soundbites may or may not be Les Miles' niece). Honestly, dating a dude with a flat-billed chachcap tipped deep to the right at a 45-degree angle and then complaining about him bailing on a foul ball that beans you is a little like having unprotected sex with Paris Hilton and then complaining about the burning sensation the next morning. Red flags everywhere, Sarah. Common sense warned you. You chose not to listen.
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SHOW ME HOW
Instead, I'm here to speak up as the unofficial scorekeeper for "unwritten fan rules at Major League Baseball games, up to and including all jersey laws and foul ball etiquette," and I am calling E-7 on Bo. If any of you readers are friends with him and he chooses to count this as a foul ball "caught" at a game, it's your civic duty to call bullshit on him.
And if you are friends with Bo and you DON'T buy him a pink baseball glove for his next birthday, then you are no friend of mine.
Chivalry died a long time ago, but we still have Bo's self-esteem and manhood to kick around. Let's do this.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.