I had a feeling I was in for it the moment I hung up the phone with my dad, who had just invited Robert and me out to Saturday's Yankee game. Because ever since Robert first told me that he was a Yankee fan who idolized Alex Rodriguez, I had been working rigorously to cure him. Mostly by steering just about every baseball conversation toward the Mets, who are a New York team, too, goddammit. Mets games are always the first ones on the TV at night, until Robert asks me to switch over and I pretend that I've lost the remote.
When I first wrote that I was raising a Yankee fan against my will, the outpouring of support was a great comfort. Some offered condolences, others advice. Then there was MetroDad, who saw the magnitude of the brewing crisis and sprang into action by offering me tickets to two Met games, at which Robert and I wore our matching Mets caps. Basically, I did everything short of hooking him up to an eyelid stretcher and making him watch the '69 World Series. And it was working ...
But then Granddad, the Yankee fan, called to say he had scored box seats four rows off the field. I admit I dithered for a bit, hamstrung by the dilemma. One one hand, we'd be livin' large, kicking back at field level with the cold beverages brought to us by the seat-side wait service. On the other, the experience would nullify all of my anti-Yankee brainwashing.
Then there was the little matter of A-Rod and his elusive 5ooth home run. Ever since he'd hit #499 some ten days before, he'd been pretty much useless, one hit in 30 at-bats. As each day passed with the milestone unreached, and our game loomed, I had a feeling Saturday would be the day. Robert would see history, his Yankophilia would become irrevocably entrenched, and he was destined to while away his golden years crankily professing to my great-grandsons that they don't make stars like A-Rod anymore.
Sure enough, just as we had settled into our seats and Robert had ascertained that his hero was up, A-Rod sent a fly ball deep to left field. It hung up there seemingly forever, taunting us, until it plopped into the left-field stands. Robert leapt out of his seat, the crowd went crazy, and Dame Fortune hocked a loogie on my hot dog. And thanks to those wondrous seats, we got to spend the rest of the afternoon staring at the golden boy's relaxed, lordly beefiness.
When we got home, my wife asked Robert how the game was. He could have gushed about the Yankee victory, or the historic dinger, or sitting so close to the field, or the Matsui baseball card that a Japanese photographer gave us. Instead, the first words out of his mouth were: "Daddy took a picture of A-Rod's butt!"
If I have any aspirations to get him back on the Mets' bandwagon, I now know what must be done. So, Internet, if I am ever busted for lingering alongside the Mets' dugout snapping gratuitous butt shots, please know that my cause was just.