Thursday, August 11, 2011

Watching Baseball With the President

It was my third time at Rangers Ballpark and despite a game-time temperature of 97 degrees, there was a breeze that made for a comfortable evening. Good baseball weather. Certainly it was much better than the last time I was there, when the stadium had to be evacuated due to nearby tornadoes.

I stayed for the entire game, and it was a good one, with plenty of offense and a few defensive gems. Josh Hamilton provided one of each, with a screaming line-drive home run over the right field fence, and an inning-ending, sliding catch in center field. His was one of three round-trippers, so the game provided plenty of drama.

At one point, early on in the game, I became aware of the fact that directly below and in front of me sat former president George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. They were seated in the owner’s box, one row behind the Rangers on-deck circle, along with Nolan Ryan and his wife. The sight of Bush there, 50 yards or so away, was jarring somehow, giving rise to a whole variety of notions.

My first inclination was to see if I could spot the Secret Service agents that surely must be all around him. Apart from one guy, dressed just like the rest of us, in Rangers regalia, who was visibly watching the crowd and not the game, I couldn’t spot anyone. I then thought back to my entry into the stadium. There were two lines – one for people with bags and one for people without. Those who went in the former were carefully searched, including a pat-down. I, on the other hand, walked straight to the ticket taker, who welcomed me in as she scanned my ticket.

Again, there may have been people of whom I was unaware watching me as I came in. But as I sat there in my perch I thought about how easy it would have been for me, had I had any bad intentions toward the former POTUS. I also considered whether or not I and everyone else sitting behind the president, had been thoroughly checked out the moment our credit cards went into the Texas Rangers system. I wonder if this very post might show up as a red flag the next time I buy a Rangers ticket.

Okay, I’m slipping into paranoia now. The stuff of movies. Mainly what I thought of as I looked down at the back of their heads was money. They exuded wealth and comfort. I could smell it from where I sat. These were people who didn’t have to do much for themselves. Somewhere in the bowels of this building was a driver smoking a cigarette outside an unassuming Chevy Suburban, waiting for the 7th or 8th inning, when the Bushes would make their way inconspicuously down the VIP tunnel.

I’m not sure where Crawford, Texas is, but that’s where they drive to their Home on the Range. Maybe they discuss the highlights and lowlights of the game. Maybe they watch the rest of it on satellite television. Maybe they discuss an upcoming speaking engagement, or maybe they sit in silence, watching the scenery rush past.

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