The baseball season’s over. The last home game has ended in a loss. The fans are quiet as they pass out the gates hurrying to their cars, to their waiting trolleys to home. Some wave to the Guest Service Representatives, (GSR’s), and the guards. Other long time season ticket holders take a moment to slap hands or touch knuckles. A few fleeting hugs are shared. The night grows silent. Cleaning crews come out of their tunnels, trash bags in hand, into the fast emptying park. In Power Alley, where the kids’ games are, the power washers have been pulled from their storage places to sit in lines as if they were prehistoric monsters with their hoses twisted into external entrails.
The sound system is still. No more raucous music at full volume to pep up the crowd, to drive the guards and GSR’s mad. The Emergency Management Center is also quiet, shut down to the calls for help, for backup, for information, for a mop here, or a security guard there. Groups of red-shirted security personal begin their slow sweep of the seats. They walk slowly checking into every corner. Their radios grow silent with only an occasional remark to keep them aware they are still in the ballpark, still working. Here someone says a child is missing. There someone else says a child has been found. One man has passed out in a front row seat. A young drunk woman is vomiting in a bathroom then passes out on the floor. Paramedics are called. Just as the last few people exit, a woman trips going out a gate.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” she says.
Her husband insists that first aid be called. Paramedics respond. And respond. The gate fills with emergency personal and flashing lights as the night’s silence is interrupted. She’s not injured. They transport her to her car. The ball park grows silent again.
“Tower lofts are clear,” says one supervisor his voice faint in my ear. “East suites are clear,” says another.
I pace first to the employee tunnel where I look down into the darkness checking to see if anyone is walking up my way, then I walk back to the gate. Outside, along the curbs, employees wait for their rides to arrive. One GSR comes back inside made uncomfortable by a leering fan.
“He’s just odd,” my boss tells her. “He’s ok.”
“I’m not comfortable,” she replies and stays inside my gate until her husband comes to pick her up. I hug her goodbye wondering what she would have done a few years in the past when the sidewalk was lined with homeless. We wave.
“Main Concourse is clear,” comes the final call in a thick Scottish burr. I’ve spent all year learning to understand this kind man’s voice. He stops above me and waves his hand slicing across his neck in the familiar ending gesture. I wave back.
I check outside my gate and find that all the GSR’s have gotten rides home. Now only a stray drunk remains.
“GSR and East Village Gates can now close,” radios the gate supervisor.
Cupping my mouth in my hands I call down the tunnel, “The gate’s closing.”
I know there are three or four more employees down there. One player comes out. He’s not feeling well. I call again waiting a moment before turning back to the open gate.
“The rest can go out the front door or the player’s parking lot garage,” I say as I shut the heavy gate and struggle to close the padlock.
This day, my husband has come to the game. He has waited the long, extra hour after the game with me while the last fans from the suites and the GSR’s slowly leave the ballpark. As I click the lock in place, he grabs my heavy backpack. Hand in hand, we walk across the park outside the back of the outfield to sign me out for the night. He stops a moment and takes a last picture or two. High above us, custodians walk the seats picking up the leavings and dragging their giant bags of trash behind them. On the field, the groundskeepers are watering down the dirt giving it an otherworldly glow in the spare night lights. Several of the player’s families have stopped for a moment out on the field. A child runs leaping across the grass. A high laugh echoes into the empty park. A ball bounces. The dark seems to close in. Yes, there is still magic on this field of dreams, magic for all ages that will awake again next year.
Me: Got to class and read this entry, went with G and Duck, went looking for a replacement armed pillow for Duck, dinner at Costco, home to peace.
G: Does so very well with Duck as his inherited person. He remembers going to see his grandmother once a week in a nursing home as a child and hating it. Now he goes every day willingly.
Duck: Derm man thinks it a nervous problem. He’s seen it before. Typical of perfectionists and high achievers. He prescribed an antibiotic for the infection, and a stronger cream when G described that the cream was put on only after the Derm appointment was made. G told him that he remembers his past well but can’t remember lunch. Derm man asked and was told the family was in the funeral business, but that Duck got his art degree and was a decorator as his profession. No, he didn’t remember lunch….which he ate just before he went to the doctor. He did remember watching the horrific earth slide in La Jolla on his TV all day though.