By Nate Odenkirk | Staff Writer
Last Wednesday, the Chicago White Sox decided to leave midway through the seventh inning in their game against the Kansas City Royals to beat the crowd. “The game wasn’t fun anymore,” said outfielder French Squanders. “We were losing 1-4, and at that point, I know I’m not gonna pull it out. Plus, it’s always good to get ahead of the fans because they cause most of the traffic. No offense.”
The decision to leave started when catcher for the Sox, Fred Kippler, signaled to pitcher Eams Marzoni that he was getting cold and tired from all the crouching. That led Marzoni to call for a time out, at which point they realized that all the umpires, and most of the spectators, had already gone home. Only the teams, coaches, and one mega-fan in the bleachers who appeared to be absorbed in a conference call remained.
For some team members, the choice to leave could not have come soon enough. “Baseball is fun, I actually watch it occasionally with the sound off,” said first baseman Ron Sweep. “Since we play in the game, they give us ten percent off Dipping Dots ice cream at the concession stand, so that’s cool too. But once I get my Dipping Dots, I’m ready to head home.” Most of the other players expressed similar convictions.
The Kansas City Royals were disappointed that the game ended, if only for the fact that it meant they had to return to Kansas City. But they said they “100 percent” understood the Sox’s position and would have done the same. “We should get going,” said Royals coach Ronald Questheimer, noting that his players had reservations at Papa John’s in 30 minutes. “My boys need pizza and soda.”
Analysis of recent baseball statistics show that Wednesday’s match is hardly an anomaly. Contrary to popular belief, baseball actually has eleven innings, but everyone gets so sick of it by inning nine that one or both teams simply forfeit even if they are winning. The “forfeit” time for spectators appears to be getting earlier as well. “Yeah, this thing starts to become a ghost town right after the national anthem,” said Vim Saladano, owner of the premium concession stand Steak Me Out to the Ball Game.
For all the planning, the strategy appears to have backfired. Since everyone in the stadium decided to leave early, the White Sox got stuck in the traffic. If they had stayed through the final innings, there would have been absolutely no wait. ♦
*Editor’s note: Sox player Ron Sweep misidentified Dippin’ Dots as Dipping Dots. It is not important enough for us to go back and change it but we thought you should know.