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Dugout Seat
By Thomas Quirk

He showed up with his beautiful blond girlfriend in the fifth inning, saying, "Hey, you're in my seat. These are my season tickets, so I know I'm sitting here." He was a stocky fellow, perhaps twenty-five years old, with curly black hair.

"But I have a ticket here too," I said, showing him my ticket. The security guard who was scrunched next to me had no clue about seats and sections.

"These are my season tickets," the other guy said confidently.

"Yeah, these are our season tickets," repeated the blond, who was in her mid-twenties and sporting a blue jean skirt that revealed her lovely legs.

"Sit down," yelled a group of men from the rows behind us. The Cardinals had men on base. The new Red Sox pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim had breezed through the first few innings, but now he was out of gas. The Red Sox's two-run lead was down to one.

"It was a good seat while you had it; now go back to where you belong," said the man sitting behind me.

I stood up, but his words burned my ears. I shelled out $250 for this seat, and I have as much right as you to be here, I thought. "Hey, I paid to be here like everybody else," I said, sounding more desperate than angry.

"Down in front."

"Kneel down; you're in the way."

The crowd behind us was getting ornery. I was furious about being put in this position. All of a sudden I felt like a crusader city-state during the Third Crusade; I was surrounded by people who just wanted me out. I acquiesced and went looking for an usher, feeling that this was the guy who put me in the wrong seat to begin with. I found him standing by an entrance behind home plate.

He looked at my ticket and brought me right back to where I had been sitting. After a moment of bending over to talk to the stocky guy and his blond, the usher pointed to two seats down the aisle. I had seen a guy in the second row sit his kids there in the first inning. They promptly moved back.

"Sorry," said the blond. She had light blue eyes and wore just a hint of eye shadow. Her perfume briefly replaced the smell of processed meat and beer that had been permeating the air—even here in the pricey dug-out section.

"It's okay." I was glad to have my seat back but still flushed and hurt by the brief ordeal. Then J. D. Drew jacked a three-run homer off Kim and the Red Sox's lead was gone.

"You've ruined the karma," yelled a man from three rows back. It was the same guy who had been telling us all to sit down.

"He should let the blond sit on your lap," yelled the man next to him.

Everybody laughed.



THOMAS QUIRK is a teacher at Lexington High School in Lexington, Massachusetts. He has been a Red Sox season ticket holder (in the grandstand) since 1997.

© 2004 Thomas Quirk


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