That Empty Feeling

Baseball: An unoccupied bleacher seat says it all. Something's missing at Camden Yards.

April 27, 1999|By Arthur Hirsch | Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF

Sun: Say, sorry to seem disappointed but we were expecting to talk to an actual person in Seat 14, Row N, Section 96 at Camden Yards this evening. You know, this slice of life thing we're doing? A little glimpse of what's on the mind of Joe Spectator in the bleachers, get the feel of the moment.

Empty Seat: You want the feel of the moment, buddy, here it is.

Sun: You're saying ...?

Empty Seat: What's to say? You read the papers, no?

Sun: Yes, but let's not read too much into this. It's a chilly Friday night, it's windy, the game against Oakland was delayed by a little rain, conditions are not --

Empty Seat: So you're also in denial. Look at me. Are you looking? Listen, what sound is that? Is that the breeze blowing through the slats of an empty chair? It's not a happy sound. Most ballparks, they hear a lot of that. Whole sections full of guys like me, soaking up the atmosphere, not spending a dime, whistling in the wind. You're spoiled here with Camden Yards, Sellout City. You gotta love this place even if you don't love baseball. That's a good thing, let me tell you. You seen this team?

Sun: You're saying the Camden Yards magic can't last?

Empty Seat: I'm saying this bleacher seat costs $9, a 12-ounce beer is $4, the Orioles payroll is in the jet stream, the team looks like they're mailing it in. There's an emptiness about the whole exercise lately, is what I'm saying. A void. In the Buddhist concept, the Void contains all. That's a profound and beautiful idea. But you know, this is baseball, not Buddhism.

Sun: You're quite the philosopher.

Empty Seat: You sit out here one breezy night after another, you get to thinking. OK, pal, can we wrap this thing up? You got what you need?

Sun: Now you're acting like a ballplayer.

Empty Seat: For heaven's sake, somebody should.

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