There’s a WHAT in the Shed?
Brooklyn Dodgers baseball star Jackie Robinson walks on the sidewalk across the street from Ebbets Field, the Dodgers’ home field. Robinson breaks the color barrier this season by becoming the first African American to play in the Major Leagues. © Bettmann/CORBIS. April 16, 1947. Via.
This here is a story. A short tale about baseball. Best told on a summer day, when the temperature passes into triple digits and the head swims from the oppressive heat of the sun. It doesn’t really have a beginning or an end, yet it floats like a breaking ball – ripping by you with a snap and a pop of the glove; leaving you dazed by its sudden passing. Scoff if you must, but I assure you it is true. All of it.
- THE WIND-UP
You see, a few years back I had a roommate (and not a very good one I might add). He was older and possessed by the bottle. When clear-headed and sober he was a good guy to be around, but when drunk (often) he was a slurry, sloggen, passer-outer couch snorer. Just an all around mess.
In 2006 he met a girl on the internet. Common enough these days, but she was the exception. Defied the ‘rules’, so to speak. She was from Ecuador, was 13 years younger with three kids, and after several trips to visit her down south he decided to cash in all of his chips and move to the mountains. I hear they have a T.G.I. Friday’s.
- KICK AND DELIVER
You would think that one bachelor living with another in a two bedroom condo would be unable to acquire much stuff, but you’d be wrong. For one, he was divorced and had received half of the furniture in the settlement. Secondly, he was an electrical engineer, owned his own business, and worked out of our unit. In short – he had accrued a lot of junk in a three year period.
Everything had a place and I thought I knew where everything was (but was wrong). Remarkably so.
- THE PITCH
Moving out day was short and not terribly sad. It was early Springtime and I was glad to see him go. The Grapefruit and Cactus Leaguers were in full swing and the trees here were beginning to bloom.
Soon-to-be former roommate had already made the decision to donate or discard a lot of his old possessions. Most of them were meaningless and/or reminded him of painful times. I helped him carry a few items to the large neighborhood dumpster, and on one such trip he asked me a question:
I have something in the shed that I’m not sure what to do with. Can you take a look and offer a few suggestions?
What he called a shed was hardly the back-garden variety. Rather, it’s a small room behind a locked door set aside on our porch, and which houses the condo’s HVAC unit. A room I never went in.
I innocently replied:
Sure, no problem. Whattya got?
- THE BREAKING BALL
We returned to the condo with me following (not-too-closely) on his heels. Roommate removed the key from his pocket and unlocked the shed door; bending and struggling as he removed the awkward thing(s) from the cramped space. I stepped back as he finally pulled them free. It took me a moment to figure out why all of the fuss.
They were seats. Two seats. And they were wooden and gnarly; scarred by forever-old clumped green paint that was desert dry and with skin peeling. Attached to metal bases that may, in fact, have witnessed the last stand of the Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae.
What are they? I asked lamely.
Well, they’re stadium seats. He said. I mean, duh, it was totally obvious. They had numbers engraved on the side, and I’ve been to at least a million sporting events in my day.
And then he delivered the hammer blow:
They’re from Ebbets Field. You know, the old Brooklyn Dodgers Stadium that closed in 1957. My dad went to the final game and collected these as souvenirs. Do you know where I can sell them?
- THE SWING (and miss)
I wish I could tell you what happened to those seats, but shit, SHIT(!) I have no idea what happened next. I imagine he sold them. Last I heard he had received a few offers on either eBay or Craigslist. Afterall, he was terrible at the internet (except when finding a girl). I have seen others go for upwards of $5-$10K a seat in various internet auctions, but it’s really all just speculation.
I guess it all depends on your state of mind.