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The Bro Hug
Bro Hug: Noun or verb – a manly hug between two dudes who are cool with each other.
So I got off the airplane, saw my friend…there were bro hugs all around. Then we went to the bar for some shots to catch up.
That just happened.
Ryan Howard giving my Father a bro hug on the field before game 3 of the NLCS.
How the hell did this happen?
My Dad and his friend (Brad) signed up to hold the flag during the National Anthem before game 3 of the NLCS. They were not rookies, as they signed up for the same duties before Los Gigantes home opener back in April. They had to arrive at Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T Park at 7AM for “practice”. My Dad and Brad were at the bar before 8AM.
KJ and I arrived at the bar at 10AM. Holy Cow, it was a SSSSSS show. My Pops and Brad were “in the game” deep. Brad told us to put our drinks on the tab, we did not argue.
Brad: “You jerk-offs (term of affection) want to go onto the field and hold the flag?”
SLY: “How are we going to do that?”
Brad: “You will walk on with us.”
SLY: “That easy?”
Brad: “it is that easy, just stay in line.”
SLY: “Game on.”
Flag duty report time was 11AM, we put in a good hour of work at the bar before we made our way out towards McCovey Cove.
We arrived to the Cove and the flag was laid along the walk way stretching from the right field entrance to center field.
It became obvious that KJ and I were not the only ones Brad and my Pops invited to hold the flag. Random new friends from the bar and walkers passing by ended up getting in line with us.
The thought of jail time for trespassing crept into my mind. I am not like Oscar from the office, I would not love jail.
Here is how this was even possible.
The organizers had no way to verify who was actually supposed to hold the flag. There were no stamps, bracelets, or shirts.
The organizers assumed only the people who practiced would show up for the real deal.
There were a great number of flag crashers.
After an hour wait, it was go time. The gates opened and we started our walk onto the field.
I walked right onto the field.
It was surreal.
We passed the Phillies bullpen.
KJ: “What’s up Chooch?” (Carlos Ruiz)
Carlos was a little stunned.
Pops, KJ, Myself, and Brad were all standing in right field. Players were warming up 10 feet away.
I reached down and pulled grass from the outfield and filled my pants pockets. It seemed like a good idea. I then pulled out my camera.
Jayson Werth warmed up next to me.
SLY: “You’d look good in Orange and Black.”
Ryan Howard then ran past me.
SLY: “Smile for the camera Ryno.”
I really wanted to say “You should’ve taken Turtle’s Tequila offer in Entourage!”
Howard pointed at me and started to laugh. My drunken reactions were a little late with the camera. Damn. That would’ve been a good shot.
I took in the scene and admired my good fortune.
A blurring streak appeared out of my left eye near the foul line.
The streak was my Pops as he ran over to Ryan Howard.
Security started to move in.
This isn’t good. I grabbed my camera out.
A few words were exchanged between Howard and Pops, and then it happened.
I was stunned.
SLY: “Holy ****, I think I got a picture of that. What the effff just happened.”
KJ: “Bro Hug, Bro… Bro Hug.”
The Flag Organizer yelled for my Pops to get back to the flag.
“Go Go Go” yelled the Flag Organizer.
I almost forgot what we were on the field for.
Allen Iverson was right, who needs practice.
KJ and I acted like we knew what we were doing.
We ran the flag out at a “high speed at our best speed.”
Ben Gibbard (Death Cab) performed the Star Spangled Banner. Perfect.
When the anthem ended we walked off the field and then sprinted around the stadium. We didn’t want to miss the first pitch.
Stupid walk ways, we arrived a batter late.
I asked Pops what he said to Howard.
Pops: “I was giving him hitting advice.”
This wasn’t the first time Pops has given an All-Start hitting tips. Pops famously talked with David Wright in 2008 for over an hour at the Ritz in San Francisco.
Pops does know the art of hitting, but it takes some serious stones (or an alcohol induced mind) to tell a MLB All-Star what they are doing wrong at the plate.
Ryno went 0-4.
Pops is a Gigantes fan.
Matt Cain shoved, Los Gigantes went up 2-1 in the series, and I started to seriously believe Los Gigantes were going to win the series.
Honestly, this was one of my favorite days of my life.
The Flag Organizers made a significant change for the World Series. I noticed all the flag holders were wearing special shirts to designate who was actually supposed to be on the field.
Blame the Bro Hug.