Cinco De Mayo Fuzzy Memories
I have to admit that I am not of Latin heritage, or even have any substance of Hispanic bloodline within my body that I know of right now. But the Cinco De Mayo celebration has always had a special meaning to me. It is not because my second favorite beer seems to be Corona, but because of the nature of the celebration being so close to my birthday. I use it as a substitute to have a reason to go out and have a wild day/night because of the 9 day grace period in my mind to celebrate my birthday.
And combine that with the fact that my ex-employer seemed to be more tolerant of me celebrating on that day, then on my birthday, it makes a perfect reason to have a few Dos Equixs and a smattering of Patron shots. But this season the celebration also took part during the Rays home stand and featured an afternoon contest against the Baltimore Orioles. So I got there as usual and proceeded up to the Power Alley Deck to begin my birthday/Cinco celebration. The Rays had just concluded their Batting Practice and were jogging off the field as I came out of the Batter’s Eye Restaurant in centerfield at Tropicana field and descended into the Power Decks party atmosphere.
The only problem at that moment is that I was the first thirsty soul to glide out onto the deck and was the guy who got to tap the Dos Equix keg that day. I am not usually a huge drinker during the game, I have been of the mind to do my partying after the game at other locations and not let drinking interfere with my baseball. But today I made an exception to the rule and bought my first 20 ounce beer for a mild 3 dollars. Considering that the stadium beers were going for about 9 dollars a pop, the elixir was golden down my throat today. Here I could have three beers for that same price, and also have a trio of strumming singers surrounding me in Cinco excellence.
So I went down to the lower level of the Deck and yelled out to a friend, Danys Baez who played for the Orioles. Here I was about 200 feet above the playing surface and we chatted a bit about his family and how he was doing. You know, the usual bar/ballpark banter. About that time the second patron of the day came down with a frothy beverage and we had the makings of a great party. I only stayed up there until after the Orioles B P because I wanted to take in the game in my usual seat. I made sure to stop by the Tortilla Junction concession stand and get a massive plate load of nachos that was a good 2 feet above the plate with Guacamole, Sour Cream and a huge avalanche of cheese, both in cold and hot form.
I was in heaven as I started down the aisle to my seat. But wouldn’t you know it, some fool banged into my arm and I almost lost the plate. But I popped it into a seat back to keep 95 percent of the food of the gods on the plate. Unfortunately the Jalapenos and a top level of cheese were dropped to the floor in a salute to my amigos. But hey, that happens in a ballpark. Oh, I forgot to tell you, I also brought with me a cup of that ambrosia of beer to help bring an authentic flavor to the nacho meal.
So there I was eating my nachos and preparing myself for the game when Scott Cursi, the Rays Bullpen Catcher came over and was laughing at the extreme nacho invasion on my plate. He remarked “It must be good to know people in the food courts.” I have to agree with him. I am not saying they do it, but I have seen a bit of different food portions towards my selections in recent years, but I just tacked that up to me being here every night and they just needed to fatten me up a bit.
So as the game went on, and the nachos and beer seem to glide into oblivion, I was amazed at the level of celebration being shown in the stands. We had all cultures taking to the Mexican celebration today, and even had a blue-haired participant in the daily events. But it was not until after the game that the party really seemed to jump into hyper space. you see I rambled on over to the Budweiser Brewhouse in Centerfield Street and was getting ready to listen to Rich Herrera do his post-game show when a beautiful blond in a slinky outfit gave me another fine Dos Equix product for my palate.
Now I am far from the type of guy to ever refuse beer or even food from a cute woman, so I thanked her and began to listen to Rich do his post game show. As I stood there I again had a feisty Asian woman thrust another cool beverage my way, and being the celebration kind of guy I am, I took to full revel mode. As I was standing there Rich also called for “Beers for all my friends” and another round somehow found itself into my mitts.
Now I am not a huge drinker at all anymore. I was in my college Fraternity Days (Theta Chi), but now I am one of those pedestrian beer-drinkers who stop at two or three and head home before the end of the night, or show. But today I stayed to the last moment and got rewarded with gifts ( bottle openers, t-shirts and a serving tray) by the Beer vendor. I also got to cheer Happy Birthday to one of the Rays 10+ year employees on his birthday. Mike Yodis was in the house, and I can tell you he was certainly celebrating with the rest of us.
It was a great day at the ballpark. We had another Rays win in the bag, plus I had multiple beverages handed to me by beautiful woman who were not behind a huge mahogany bar (plus they were free). I have to make a mention that I was eating all during this time, and that I was not driving to the ballpark today. I enlisted a friend to be the Designated Driver and kept him full of soda and munchies the entire day. I will be his Designated Driver at another time. I felt compelled to mention this so it doesn’t seem like I want to take an irresponsible stand with the celebrations.
It was an awesome afternoon at the ballpark, and coupled with the meets and greets of some old friend I have not seen in a while, and the new friends that day, it was a rousing success for Cinco De Mayo for me. the picture might not be the best in the world, but it is visual celebration and the festive aura of the event that appeals to me. Oh, and Rich Herrera mentioned that Sean, the Intern never gets any press or will featured in a newspaper article for fixing the speakers so the crowd could enjoy Rich’s post game show. Well, Rich, I am more than willing to give the ex-Gator student a plug, and if you ever need to give him some more attention, feel free to let me know!