At a very young age, like millions of others, I dreamed of playing in baseball’s World Series. Around age twenty, that dream was shot to Hell. Since then, watching the series each year, I thought it might be fun to actually attend a World Series Game before my demise. Living in Seattle with the hapless Mariners, I gave up on that idea as well, quite sure I’ll be dead before they make it to the Series. Upon breaking this news to my wife, she suggested I fly to Kansas City to watch Game Two of the 2015 World Series. One of her coworkers from Kansas City happened to have two extra tickets to the game. It took me awhile to think about this possibility, but since Game Two was the next day, two seconds later, I thought I’d take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Unable to take off work at the Asbestos Plant, sadly, my wife wouldn’t be able to make the trip. Figuring I’d go alone, I did call a friend, another baseball enthusiast, bragging about my news. He looked at his calendar, told me he could take a couple of days off, and said he would meet me in K.C..
Both of us safely arriving in Kansas City, we checked into a hotel and headed to the game. In a sea of blue, “Let’s Go Royals!” was heard all over Royal Nation from the time we began our half mile walk and the chant continued when we entered the stadium. Blue towels waving everywhere you looked, there was an elation we’d never witnessed quite like this. The electricity of the home crowd was contagious and the excitement was better that I had imagined. All spectators at Kaufman Stadium stood with fanatic anticipation while awaiting the first pitch.
Initially, I was going to describe the highs and lows of the game in great detail. Then, I thought I’d condense it. The Kansas City Royals were victorious. Without the balls and strikes, hits and runs, I will tell you that, after a great play in the home team’s favor, giving a high five to one of your best friends, and then turning to complete strangers and doing the same at the World Series is absolutely glorious. That’s a feeling I will cherish forever. It was an amazing atmosphere, fantastic game, and an unforgettable experience. Almost as unforgettable as our cab ride the day after the game.
Having a few hours to kill before heading back to Seattle, my friend, Craig, and I wanted to head downtown and find some Kansas City BBQ. Available cabs were difficult to find that day, but the concierge hooked us up with, as she described, a very trustworthy and competent driver. (Is there any other kind?) “His name is Jimmy, and he’ll meet you out front in fifteen minutes.” Spot on, Jimmy was there in fifteen minutes and knew exactly where we needed to go for the best BBQ: World Famous, Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue. Perfect. On the way, Jimmy told us a little about himself. Jimmy told us he was a little person. Jimmy told us he was a former wrestler in his prime. He also told us he could drop us off, let us eat, but we had to call him when we were finished as he needed to made a quick trip while guaranteeing us he’d get us to the airport on time. He seemed affable enough and a tad odd, but I figured we could call another service if necessary.
After eating far too many ribs, praying they were devoid of e. coli, I called our “competent” cab driver. He promptly answered, but said he’d be running a little late. A little unnerved, I simply stated, “Jimmy, we can easily call another service. How late is a little late?” Responding with confidence and honesty, and clearly wanting our business, Jimmy said, “Seriously, Ben, this lap dance will be done in five minutes, so I will be about ten minutes late. I WILL get you guys to the airport on time.” I was NOT expecting that response. Another first for me. A little stunned, I just said, “Alright. See you in ten minutes.” Hanging up, with a goofy grin and chuckle, I turn to my friend, Craig. With a nervous enquiring look on his face, he asked, “Is everything alright?” Semi lying, I replied, “Uh huh. Jimmy’s going to be a little late, though.” My friend is a little more conservative than I am, so it was understandable why he looked at me as if I may have hired the wrong cabby. “What’s going on?” Now, with a deadpan look, I replied, “Jimmy’s getting a lap dance, but she’ll be done with him in five minutes, so he’ll be here in ten.” Busting out laughing, Craig merely said, “Ok.”
Once again, Jimmy’s punctuality was impeccable, and he was exactly ten minutes late, and we made to the airport in plenty of time.
I’ll always remember attending a World Series Game, and hopefully, it’s not my last. I’m pretty sure that’s the last time I’ll ever meet a Jimmy like that.