Gaming the Algorithm (cont'd)

The improbable march must continue. So, fingers trembling with righteous indignation, I mix a batch of cactus juice to precise proportions, decanting it into a plastic water bottle filled with ice cubes. Continue to the major league minimum and beyond. I leave the house with purpose, swinging by Ganim’s Market for the food and maybe some Giants news. Never mind KNBR or ESPN, Ganim's is where I get all my breaking Giants news. Back in the post-hot stove gloom of January, for example, it was Ganim's owner who broke the story about Barry Zito. You know, the story about Zeets increasing his pull-ups max from three to 16. It seemed inconsequential at the time, another morning show factoid to file alongside Zeets' surfing prowess, Zeets' guitar wizardry and Zeets' Zen-like approach to ordering room service, but in the wake of seven shutout innings on Monday night, I'm beginning to wonder if there's something to it. I pick up my chicken kabob wrap; thoughtfully, the owner has packed it a clamshell container for extra protection against the China Basin elements. I hand over the money, get on my bike and speed downhill to fight the good fight against bean counters, Cha Cha bowls and mediocre $10 margaritas.

Nearing the stadium, I begin looking for tickets. The ambos are giving me the crazy fool treatment; they might not call it a Feature game, but in their world, a $20 Dodgers ticket is an insult. After all the aggravation, the sight of the Peanut Man is comforting.
How you doing, man? The Peanut Man says, recognizing me from the last game, or at least doing a good job of faking it.
Okay, I tell him, lamenting the difficulty of scoring a ticket for twenty.
Watch my stuff, he says, hustling up the street while I wonder if I'm supposed to be selling peanuts.
A short while later, The Peanut Man returns with a stocky guy who he introduces as his cousin. Alright, the cousin says, producing a couple of dog-eared Internet printouts, two for 40. I examine one. It says Giants-Dodgers 4-29, $11. Still, I'm skeptical. Those printouts don't look like tickets, and he doesn't look anything like the Peanut Man.

I tell the cousin that I won't pay $20 for a $11 ticket for a game that isn't sold out. The cousin isn't happy. I realize I've broken some unwritten code. A moment ago, the Peanut Man was trusting me with his merch, and now I’m trying to low-ball a relative.

The evening spirals further. I check the prices at the ticket window, but nothing's available for less than $19. So, I head back to find the cousin. We cut a deal for two for $38, but just as I'm pulling the money from my wallet, the cousin's very large associate snatches a printout from me, and sells it for more money. Finally, in Willie Mays Plaza, I wangle a single from a trio of drunken meatheads with a self-appointed leader who calls me "lippy" when I refuse to pay more than face. I hand over a twenty, half expecting not to get my change. The leader bids me adieu with a "fuck off." Needless to say, I won't be sitting in my assigned seat tonight.

The Giants have a 5-0 lead by the time I reach the bleachers. With The Little Mullet on the mound, that’s looking pretty good. The kid in the seat in front of me might be 21 and then again he might not be. But he’s drinking Bud Light straight from the can, so I tap him on the shoulder and hand him a souvie cup from back in the dark days when I used to be a lemmo—this one says “Bonds 600.” The kid's a member of the Nation, not that he knows it, and the Nation needs to stick together.

The Giants’ lead grows to 7-0, and standing in left with all that hair, Manny looks more like a clown than Sampson. What’s the matter with Manny? The bleacher preachers chant. He’s-a-bum, the chorus responds. The Carlyle Incident happened last century, I'm reminded, and bleacher wits are an endangered species. And then the Bud Light kid and his friends aim a different chant, a Spanish chant, straight at Manny. Cu-le-ro . . . cu-le-ro . . . cu-le-ro. Nobody knows what we're saying, they smile. But the great Manny Ramirez, the Ted Williams of Hispaniola, knows. Cu-le-ro . . . cu-le-ro . . . cu-le-ro. They're chanting asshole, and the usher has no clue. It's about as clever as the he's a bum bit, but still, watching that kid drink his Bud Light from the souvie cup, part of me can't help feel like a proud uncle.

money paid to Giants (estimated loss to organization):

any port in an economic storm:( Parking: $0
:( Tickets: $0 ($15)
:( Food: $0 ($9)
:( Drink $0 ($30)
:( Authorized MLB Merch $0
Total: $0 ($54.00)

home of the ganichengaLocal Businesses Supported:

:) $4.50 for chicken kabob to Ganim's Market, 18th and Mississippi Streets

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