Thursday, July 5, 2007

Why do I hate fireworks?

There was a time when I loved fireworks. This time has passed.

Fourth of July, our nation's day of independence, is synonymous with fireworks. As a kid, I remember gathering at my grandmother's house, eating a lot of food, and then shooting off some fireworks. I loved the sparklers, the smoke bombs and the screaming bottle rockets--anything that made noise I loved.

Minor league baseball, though, has made me hate fireworks. Like a lot of things, this wasn't a sudden but a gradual change, culminating in the events of last night.

One of my first days in pro. ball in Spokane, Wa. there were fireworks after the game, and I remembered thinking that, "Wow, this is kind of cool." Later I realized that I would be hearing fireworks (or fuegos artificiales for the latinos) almost every week. They'll shoot off fireworks for any reason possible in the minor leagues--the mayor's nephew's bar mitzvah, the town's semi-birthday party, or the birth of a new cow. The "this is kind of cool" feeling was replaced by the "this is really annoying" feeling.

For the past two years, the only special thing about fireworks is that we get more fans attending our games. This in itself is kind of annoying because it signifies that people would rather come to see fireworks than actually see us play. It also means that there's more post-game traffic, which means I have to inhale my food, sprint out the door, and battle the superfans before the fireworks end.

Last night, though, was the tipping point. After an already incredibly long day consisting of a six hour bus ride and two hours of rain delays, fireworks started going off in the middle of the game. About five feet behind us.

Sadowski is starting an inning for us, and it sounds like we're caught in the middle of a Civil War re-enactment. I thought perhaps that there was rain at nearby Gettysburg, and so they moved the battlefield to Harrisburg. Then I remembered that it was the 4th of July and the entire city of Harrisburg had gathered on the other side of the river in order to see the fireworks being shot on the famous City Island, which just so happens to be the site of the Senator's stadium.

My seat was shaking with each explosion. I could barely write with my pen so forceful and deafening was each detonation. And Ryan was supposed to pitch through this?

This went on for more than twenty minutes in the middle of the game. For this reason, fireworks are no longer just an inconvenient annoyance. I now hate fireworks.