Welcome to the 59th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the NFL Draft is approaching quickly, which means people will finally stop talking about the freaking NFL Draft. I hope. I honestly think people analyze the Draft more than Super Bowl. That doesn’t make any sense to me. Anyway, I’m in baseball mode these days and I’m here to impart some wisdom. Let’s get into it…
If you sit in the third level at Coors Field, you’re doing it wrong and you’re a chump. Similarly, if you’re paying face value for tickets in the first level, you’re doing it wrong and you’re a chump.
Sneaking into good seats at Coors Field has been a Colorado summer tradition since 1995. My personal battle with the mostly-elderly, purple-clad ushers has been well-documented among my fellow attendees and generated plenty of useful experience.
Illegitimately sitting in the first level used to be quite a bit easier than it is today. Something changed in the mentality of the ushers around 2007. For some reason attendence went up around that time and the higher-ups at Coors decided you should have to pay good money to sit in good seats. I disagree with that philosophy. Lucky for you, the most experienced of sneakers-down (I’m going to use that term a lot) is opening up and sharing his complex secrets with the rest of the world.
So buy some cheap tickets and follow this guide on how to watch some Major League Baseball from legit seats in the nation’s most beautiful stadium.
Before diving into specific strategies, let’s discuss some general rules of thumb. These are important.
- Only attempt to sneak down if you are with a small group. I’d say the maximum number of sneakers-down is three, maybe four if you’re all experienced. (Even then, I’d go one or two at a time). If you’re celebrating some drunk girl’s birthday with nine other people, you’re probably out of luck. Head up to the Party Deck or Rockpile. It’s not like those drunk girls care about the game anyway; it’s your fault for attending with them.
- Be realistic. Only expert level sneakers-down should even attempt to sit in the sections behind home plate or the dugouts. The ushers posted up at these sections take their jobs way, way too seriously. I’ve seen old ladies grab dudes by the back of their shirt. These seats are occuppied by season-ticket holders that give the ushers hugs and show them pictures of their grandkids. It’s a whole different world back here. Similarly, you shouldn’t really try to sneak down at certain games. Don’t bother for any of the 2014 playoff games or other sellouts. Too crowded. You can pull it off with big crowds, but attempting during an actual sellout is a little too ambitious.
- Be aggressive and put the pressure on the usher. Like rounding third with two outs, sometimes you need to force the defense to make a play. Never make eye contact. Keep your head down. Move quickly. It’s also a good strategy to have your hands full so retreiving your ticket out of your pocket seems like an unnecessary hassle for everyone involved. You want to see my ticket? Okay, but I’ll have to hang up on this person I’m pretending to talk to and hold my beer in my mouth and you have to take my other beer and this hot dog.
- Don’t be too afraid to get caught and have a back up plan. If I get asked for a ticket when trying to enter a section, I generally say something along the lines of Oh yeah my buddy/mom/dad/whoever has mine they should be coming over soon. Then I stand there with a quizical look on my face scanning the fans for my pretend companion before slowly drifting back into the concourse crowd like Shoeless Joe in a cornfield. The usher leaves the park that night gazing at the moon and wondering if I even existed at all. Now, if I’m already seated and an usher comes to give me the boot I usuallly hand him or her my $4 Rockpile ticket with confidence and annoyance as if to say Yeah old man, I know what I’m doing. Here’s my ticket. I usually get quite a kick out of the usher shaking his head, turning and pointing across the stadium at the Rockpile. What? You mean this four dollar ticket doesn’t grant me access to this 2nd row aisle seat? Oh. I’m sorry. Honest mistake.
- Be prepared to be stuck at your seats. If you’re content with your seats and don’t feel like bouncing around different sections, you’re not going to want to go to the bathroom every couple innings unless you’re confident in your re-entry abilities.
Okay, now you’ve got a feel for the methodology of the situation. Let’s talk about a few of my favorite specific strategies.
- “The Piggyback.” This is probably the most effective method I have for you. At the end of every half inning as the crowd files in, there will be a pile-up of people waiting at the top of each section while the usher waits for an at-bat to end. This is a dream come true for sneakers-down like you and me. It’s pretty simple: Smush yourself into the crowd away from the usher and merge down unnoticed as he or she checks the others’ tickets. In the right situation, it’s nearly impossible for an usher to actually check the legitimacy of each person’s ticket. Again, it helps to keep your hands full. And keep your head down without eye contact. Sometimes I flash the back of my ticket at the usher, but that’s mostly for my own entertainment.
- “The Bolt.” This is the ballsiest (cool word!) of all my methods. Attentively wander the concourse near the ushers’ posts. Keep an eye on each point of entry and be ready to make a dash at a moment’s notice. If an usher engages a fan in a friendly conversation or is grabbing a less fortunate sneaker-down or is getting really into the Tooth Trot or is just like eighty years old and out of it… BOOM, down you go. You have to be quick and fairly nimble to pull this one off, especially if you’re holding two full beers. And you have to keep moving. Linger around a single usher for more than an at-bat and you’re on their radar for the rest of the night. This strategy is tough for more than one or two people to execute, but a few highly-experienced sneakers-down can get it done.
- “The Friendly Usher.” A few years ago this dude out on the pavalion would wander his aisle spraying fans with water from a squirt bottle every half inning on warm days and nights. He was the best. I must have sat in his section 10 times that summer. I’ve also heard rumors of people simply asking the usher very nicely if they could sit in their section (what a concept!) but I cannot verify the legitimacy of these rumors. These kind of things seem to be increasingly rare, but if you can find a lucky spot or get to know the tendencies of a particular usher, you might as well take advantage.
- “The Shift.” This method is used for improving your seats once you’ve already snuck down. It’s also fairly simple, but can really improve your vantage point. After each half-inning (or pitching change) get up and move down a few rows and over a section or two. Some of the more self-important ushers will be keeping an eye on this from their post atop the stairs, so you’ll want to blend in with the crowd. Again, this won’t work for highly-attended games and sometimes you might have to jump up or down a row of seats to avoid annoying the entire first level, but when executed correctly can move you from the foul pole to behind the dugout. Seriously.
So baseball fans, I hope you’re able to use such important advice in the near future. Never let the ushers win. If you know of any other strategies I’m neglecting, hit up the comment section.
On to the weekly departments…
Tweets of the week: (Hopefully you have noticed what Troy Tulowitzki is up to.)
(Those numbers went up after last night’s performance.)
(The mathematical impossibility of the last one means he’s joking.)
For me, the bottom line with all of this is as follows: If Tulo stays healthy, the Rockies have a shot to make the playoffs.
Stud of the week:
We’ll go with Damian Lillard because of this moment. A walk-off SERIES WINNER! (And perhpas the best Vine ever.)
Wes Welker handing out hundred dollar bills from a giant stack of cash at the Kentucky Derby is also studly, mostly because of this picture, in which he is dressed like a munchkin:
Douche of the week:
A new (very) douchey picture of Tom Brady surfaced this week, so that’s exciting!
Picture of the week:
This dude picking up hats on the ice is enjoying some of the perks of his fun job.
And some other stuff, starting with this poor guy:
If I had any of my embarrassing moments with the ladies immortalized in GIF form, I would never surface again, Bartman-style.
This made me laugh.
Here’s a video of a dog. You people really like dogs.
And finally, she probably said yes once the segment ended.
That guy is a real-life version of Andy from Parks and Recreation. And he’s awesome.
Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. Somebody tell me when the four Colorado State players get drafted, because I will be watching something else, like actual sports probably. See ya next week.
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