Life As An Usher: An Off-The-Field Odyssey

As we all know, I work at Target Field as an usher in Section 238. It’s certainly an enjoyable job, as I get to interact with people every day and I get to watch most of every single Twins home game. Now, most of these interactions are mundane and rarely warrant sharing – after all, what fun is it if I told you stories of how I gave directions to the Town Ball Tavern? – but this homestand has been interesting to say the least. The following is a collection of things that have happened over the past few home games.

The Forbidden Kiss

Thanks to the City Pages, we learned in mid-June that a lesbian couple was reprimanded by a Target Field security guard for sharing a kiss before one of them went into the women’s restroom. Among the things this security guard said (according to couple) was that they weren’t allowed to kiss inside the ballpark, they weren’t allowed “to play grab ass,” and cited the 10 Commandments. Well, once we get past the obvious in which same-sex affection is not mentioned in the 10 Commandments, this guard was also citing rules about Target Field that do not actually exist.

No ballpark policy we have states that same-sex affection is not allowed. Instead, it’s all public displays of affection, but even that is tough to enforce when the Twins active promote the “Kiss Cam” every single game. Therefore, the rule has been unofficially modified to state that basically no making out or more is allowed.

I don’t know which security guard was involved, nor do I know how he was punished (if any) outside of what was mentioned in the City Pages article, but I do know that Target Field employees were reminded throughout the middle and end of June that same-sex affection is not prohibited inside the ballpark, and that we were encouraged to only interfere if we felt that it was getting out of hand. In other words, the pecks on the lips are fine, no matter who is involved.

Joe West Isn’t The Only One That Ejects

To my knowledge, we had two separate incidents in which fans had to be ejected during the Dodgers series. Monday night, it was some other ushers that had to throw out some Dodgers fans for being unruly. Tuesday, it was my section that had the offenders. While I was on break, the usher that replaced me noticed some college-ish aged guys drinking some dark liquid from water bottles. I arrived shortly after and found out that these kids likely sneaked in some alcohol. Well, the bottles were confiscated, and eventually Minneapolis police arrived to card the kids.

As they were being led out of the stands, I thought it would be 3 or 4 guys, maybe 6 tops. Well, FIFTEEN males were escorted out of the stands for underage drinking and were eventually thrown out of the game.

Moral of the story? Stay at home, guys.

Only My First Regret During The Dodgers Series

Being in the grandstand, I occasionally get some home run balls up there from batting practice. It’s a bit amusing to see people hang out there with their gloves, when the number of balls that actually makes it up per day usually is in the 0-3 range. Well, Jason Kubel did manage to hit one up there on Monday, and I retrieved the ball to give to a kid once the gates opened.

About 10 minutes later, a little boy came walking by with (presumably) his parents and (presumably) his parents’ friends. He was wearing a Twins shirt, and his parents had on some Twins gear as well. I thought, “This kid is small and/or cute enough,” and knelt down next to him while asking, “Would you like a baseball?”

The kid is giving me the deer-in-headlights look, so his parents repeat the question to him and then say, “Yeah, he’d like one.” I pull out the Kubel ball, hand it to him, and say so the parents can hear as well, “This ball is from Jason Kubel.” I don’t think I’ll ever forget what his mom asked me.

“Jason Kubel? He’s a position player, right?”

*facepalm*

Instantly, I was tempted to grab that baseball back from the kid. Fortunately, the friends came to the rescue and reacted in the manner I was expecting to get the first time as they said, “Jason Kubel? Wow!”

That kid better be grateful. That was a brand-new baseball. You don’t typically get brand-new baseballs from batting practice.

Jesus Saves!

Every day, I get handicapped people that come up to the grandstand via the elevator only to find out that they’re on the wrong level (it only has 4 sections and is only accessible via elevator by the main level). Even when they’re being escorted by other ushers, this mistake happens. Therefore, I always check the tickets of people that come off the elevator to ensure that they are in the right place before watching them wander over to the stairway that leads up to Home Run Porch and watch their body language say, “Dammit, now I have to take stairs?!”

I had this happen with an elderly man being escorted in a wheelchair by another usher. It turns out he had a bum knee and couldn’t walk up all the stairs to the 20th row, so he and his friend started engaging in some seat-hopping. Eventually I noticed this when a youth group kicked them out of their seats, so I told him I’d snag some extra handicapped seats and have them sit on the concourse level so they wouldn’t have to keep moving and stealing seats for the whole game. What does he say to me?

“God bless you. You know, I can’t wait to see you in heaven some day.”

I suppose I had forgot to mention that several times earlier, he told me that he loved Jesus, and that this was why he was still alive at 78 years old (he also had told me his age). But how do I respond to the above quote? I decided to go with, “Sir, you’re a nice guy, and I can’t wait to see you up there as well… though I hope that’s not for another 60 years.”

I went along with whatever this guy said for the rest of the game, and I guarantee you that it almost always involved some reference to Christianity. I wonder how he would have reacted though if I had mentioned that I hadn’t been to church since Christmas…

Commence Death Stare (a.k.a. My Second Regret)

Finally, I have a story that I’ve already put up on Facebook. I started it off by saying, “Funny how the same day an elderly man tells me he’ll see me in heaven some day, I manage to cement my place in hell.”

As I already hinted above, Wednesday saw a ton of youth groups descend on Target Field. Early in the day, I had a woman leading one of these youth groups and asked me for directions to the Home Run Porch (and you thought I wasn’t going to tell a story about giving directions!). I pointed her to the staircase and let them go on their way.

Well, about 10 minutes later, three girls from that youth group return. They all look to be about 10 years old or so and I notice that they keep looking at me, but refuse to approach. Eventually, they finally get the courage and tell me that the youth leader that I spoke to thought I was cute and wanted my phone number.

First thought I had was, Seriously? Now, I thought she was kinda cute also, but I had never been asked for my phone number before by a stranger that was interested in me, so I was caught off-guard. However, I already have a girlfriend, so I told the girls that first, I didn’t carry my cell phone with me so this woman couldn’t talk to me during the game (like I said, I was caught off-guard, and upon reflection this response doesn’t really make much sense), and second that I was taken and had been with my girlfriend for three years. At this point, I decided to throw in a joke, so I asked the girls, “Besides, isn’t she 30-something or older?”

“Umm, she’s like 20.”

2 Responses to “Life As An Usher: An Off-The-Field Odyssey”

  1. Maija Says:

    Hahaha, nice one at the end there. I enjoy reading about your experiences. I feel bad for the ushers sometimes, particularly when obnoxious fans start throwing a fit because the usher tells them they have to wait until the batter is done to walk down the aisle. You’re going to block people’s views. They just don’t get it…

    • Andrew Says:

      My favorite response to that is, “Oh, does it really distract the hitter that much?”

      It does. In fact, Sir Joseph Mauer himself – which we are now required to call him whenever he is mentioned – specifically requested that no one returns to their seats while he is batting. We hold people back for all other players just because it gives us glee. Now GTFO. You were adopted.

      Seriously though, I think the problem is that this was rarely enforced in the Metrodome. I can’t recall a single time I was at the Dome and was asked to wait to return to my seat until after the AB was done.

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