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Chipper Jones!!!

The Atlanta Braves came into town to play the Washington Nationals this Labor Day weekend.  We were at last night's series opener, courtesy of our friend J, who had just returned from the DNC in Denver.  Sitting in the lower level along the third base line right at the corner where the ball girls sit (if you go to games or watch on TV), we had an entirely different perspective from our usual upper deck, behind home plate seats.  Usually an area for foul balls, I'd resurrected up my old baseball/softball mitt to use should a high fade or a screaming hot shot fly in our general direction.  But alas, being prepared meant no play was required.  No balls came anywhere near to us except the occasional grounder.

I generally watch the game itself, particularly baseball games where there are few to any antics to watch in the stands.  Football is a different story altogether.  However, I must admit last night was pretty interesting thanks to a nearby fan who entertained us the entire evening. 

Have you ever heard the term "Man-Crush"?  Do you know what it it?  Courtesy of the Urban Dictionary written by the general public, a Man Crush is "when a straight man has a "crush" on another man, not sexual but kind of idolizing him".  Another definition is "an intense infatuation of one straight man for another ".  Finally, my favorite one: "a term used to define a man's heightened feelings toward another man. This "crush" usually involving athletes or actors, relies on one mans' desire or infatuation to perform like, talk like, or even in some cases say they know this "crush" for his self importance or image. Not quite homosexual, but close. This crush may also be the result of a womans passion towards a celebrity".  Hmmm.
Well, I believe most of us have favorite players for whom we root.  We want them to play well, fulfill their dreams, and to win.  My favorite players include Redskin TE Chris Cooley and Nationals 1B Nick Johnson.  I root for them, but I don't "want" them.  Our new best friend from last night's game?  I'm not exactly sure what his intentions were or are?  "Chipper Jones" was his cry, holding a "I Love Chipper Jones" sign over his head, complete with little planet (sun, moon, earth, saturn) and stars stickers surrounding little arrows pointing down at him.  He'd raise his sign and yell when Chipper Jones took to the field at third base, or stepped out of the dugout to the on-deck circle, or into the batter's box, or when he ran the bases (which he didn't get to do much last night).  Jones had acknowledge the fan early on, and that may have been his error.  The fan continued to shout "Chipper Jones! WOOO".    


At first, the guy was a little annoying.  I have an observation exercise for my Psychology class for which this would have been perfect.  After awhile, I turned to him and yelled "Man Crush!"   With that, everyone seemed to relax, understanding the guy was having his own fun, mostly at his own expense.  But the curious thing was as more and more people began to see his sense of play in all of it, they started joining in on the fun.  There were cries of "Chipper Jones" being shouted by a few, and then more than a few, as the evening went on.  Not only in our section, but the section next to us as well.  And it continued the entire night for the whole game.  We could tell Jones was hearing us as he talked with his Braves shortstop, and even Ryan Zimmerman when he reached third base.  There were also cries of "He wants to father your child" or "He's your long-lost love child".  I know.  I yelled them.  Yes, I'm an instigator.  

What had been fun for a good part of the night almost turned ugly when a stupid Nationals fan (probably just a bit inebriated and carrying a beer) took it upon himself to stop the action by stealing the sign and tearing it up.  Thankfully, Man Crush did not retaliate.  Another Braves fan came to his aid, and while words were exchanged, no blows were thrown.  No, those kinds of fisticuffs and "throw downs" are usually reserved for the Phillies or Yankees are in town, and most any Redskins game (regardless of who they play).  Order was quickly restored when the offending 'Nats fan was escorted out while the crowd crowed aloud.  Man Crush gathered up the remnants of his sign as cries for "Duct Tape" abounded.  Yes, the frivolity would continue.

To wrap up this wacky story, another fan offered compassion and support when he tried to get Chipper Jones to autograph Man Crush's hat during the game (which he couldn't).  But after the game had ended, our ball girl who witnessed our public spectacle approached the Braves dugout to seek an autograph for the ardent fan.  Chipper Jones happily obliged, and a signed baseball was delivered to Man Crush.  There was joy and merriment in the stands.  Ridiculous as it had been, it was the most fun I've had at a sporting event in a good, long time.  I laughed a lot and cried some at the absurdity of it all.

As the crowd began to disperse, I suggested aloud we'd all remember this night and that guy.  Anytime we hear the name Chipper Jones, we will smile and think of Man Crush.  If I could've managed it, I would've collected names and addresses so we could organize reunions.  To meet again and reminisce over the fun we had shared.  It was silly, but is was good. 

We're going again tonight, but sitting in our usual seats upstairs.  If Man Crush is there, I'm going to introduce myself.

P.S.  My guy, Chris Cooley, was there last night, and selected the "Fan of the Game".  WOOT!


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Sep. 1st, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
Hey nice article, I was sitting about 7 rows up and 7 seats to the left and I basically stopped watching the game to watch this guy...anyways, one of the greatest games I've ever been to
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )