SB Nation

Spencer Hall | July 16, 2014

Mile High Baseball

Consuming legal marijuana, enjoying America's pastime, and searching for Sasquatch

Spencer Hall decided to go to a baseball game in one of two states where marijuana is legal. He used marijuana before and during the game. He took notes, and later tried to remember what they meant.

Note No. 1

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That's the first note. I'll ascribe the poor typing to fat fingers, though maybe I did care less? I typed it high as fuck in the upper deck of Coors Field, where I watched a baseball game for the first time in about 20 years, and enjoyed myself thoroughly. In the brave new world of legal marijuana in Colorado, there isn't yet a dispensary in Coors Field. There will be, or at least should be: watching baseball high makes it not only bearable, but a fantastic way to consume $40 worth of concessions on a lovely summer's evening you won't quite remember.

I think that meant that baseball is slow, and that empty space interrupted by very little action is perfect for someone who smoked a good chunk of an eighth in his rental car before the game. I also ate a cookie in the fourth inning as a booster rocket to remain in a comfortable orbit. Unlike Maureen Dowd, I sort of know what I'm doing here. That's why I made a note of where I parked: because self-aware idiots know that every bender turns your well-being over into the hands of someone else, even if that person is a different, altered you. It's almost like you didn't go to a state school, Mo, where you learn real things like how to do drugs and steal cable.

Note No. 2

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So this is one advantage of watching baseball high. After you go to the dispensary, and walk into a two story building on Mexico Avenue and hand over your driver's license to a genial dude in a fitted baseball cap he is wearing indoors, and then pass through a buzzer'd door, and past a beef-swollen Polynesian dude serving as security, and after you've discovered that they make THC mints and gummi drops and cookies (I bought two), and after you've handed over your own debit card to purchase $92 of marijuana-related products and left a very real digital trail of your activity that while legal in two states is prison-worthy in the other 48, and after you've figured out that despite the legality you really don't know where to smoke it, and huddle in your rental car with your grizzled, bearded wannabe survivalist of a brother like two meth fiends firing up for a car theft spree, then and only then do you get to amble up the ramps with the rest of the un-high universe, plant your ass in a seat, and start looking intently and very, very seriously for Sasquatch.

Sasquatch sat somewhere in the stadium with us and I had to find him. Normally a sponsored piece of in-game content is the part you do not pay attention to at a sporting event. When someone fires a t-shirt cannon into a crowd and you are sober, you auto-filter the content from your existence. Your brain live-edits it out, and leaves it on a cutting-room floor along with every other moment you've thoughtlessly tossed out the car window at 80 mph and onto the highway of forgetting. It's necessary, since otherwise you would remember that three minute call about scheduling mosquito treatments on the same level with your tender bedtime reading sessions with your children.

Note No. 3

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Disable that feature at a baseball game, though -- say, something like smoking maybe $45 worth of kine bud in a rental car in a Denver hotel garage like two sketchy teenagers -- and something magical happens. The Jack Links Beef Jerky Sasquatch hunt between innings becomes something IMPORTANT. He could be right here, or there, hairy and huge and carrying a 15 pound box of dried beef you will split with your new friends in section 315. HE COULD BE RIGHT NEXT TO YOU AND YOU WOULDN'T KNOW IT AND ISN'T THAT SOMETHING YOU DIDN'T EXPECT TO HAPPEN TODAY, IS IT?

Then Sasquatch would give you beef jerky, and it would be as astonishing as the lady who between innings [NUMBER LOST TO FOG OF MEMORY AND ALSO BEING REALLY HIGH] fell boobs-first into the turf trying to catch a foul ball for, what...like 20 dollars, risking her face being smashed by a fly ball and permanent disfigurement for a gift card to a grocery store? That you could follow the ball under the three rotating hats playing a game of cartoon three hat monte on the Jumbotron, and derive real satisfaction from spotting the fucker under the third hat, where you just knew he was hiding? Being high disables your nano-editor, and makes every element of the experience equally important and significant. In the wrong hands it turns everything into a conspiracy theory; in the right moment, like the three or four event-free hours of a baseball game, it makes all that standing around and interstitial stupid human trickery significant beyond all sober understanding. Sasquatch was there. He was in all of us.

Note No. 4

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Best guess? I think this is talking about luxury tedium, the kind I used to expend back before I started having sex, and turned to football, and away from the first sport I could ever watch consistently and compulsively: baseball. I don't mean to imply that you are not having sex if you're watching baseball, unless you are George Will. George Will has never had sex and reproduced through a series of well-wrought spore molds.

What I meant to say, I think, is that if you get high before and at a baseball game, you can even out the hormone rage and attention deficit whizzing in the brain and finally tap into the pipeline of sheer, unrumpled nothingness that no one I know who lives in America actually does. For some reason this seems uniquely British to me. This is based solely on viewing movie characters viewing parodies of old BBC programs; I have never been to England, and won't go until I'm old and arthritic enough to eliminate literally every other place in the world to visit that might require more effort for an English-speaking person who likes alcohol.

The British and their imperial heirs would, for a time in sporting history, literally watch anything you foisted on their eyes via the three or four channels everyone had to watch. In New Zealand, this meant A Dog's Show, where overcoated announcers would stand on a hillside somewhere in the kiwi wilderness and yell about dogs chasing sheep the wrong way. A Dog's Show lines right up with cricket, darts, lawn bowling, and snooker for semi-British sports clearly televised for two important reasons:

1. They could be televised.

2. You could wager money on their outcomes.

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There are only so many gamblers in the world. The rest of everyone sacked out in front of flickering pre-flatscreen televisions simply watched A Dog's Show because it was on, and because in the course of their day A Dog's Show could float through their brain without too much violence or disruption and quiet things down a bit after whatever had happened: a smoggy commute, screaming children, a dismal day of getting everything wrong at school. It was sports-as-flickery-palliative, applied directly to the eyeball in a quiet mist of dog barks and whistles.

This is the moment where maybe we've slid off the shelf into unfortunate media theory, but the toboggan ride to hell is already underway so let's just ride it where it goes. There are two kinds of sports. One is dedicated to cracking silence and creating a violence in some form: with speed, force, motion. There is another that requires performance in silence: golf, darts, and pretty much anything else that the BBC or New Zealand TV would have televised in 1985.

They serve two entirely different purposes. In order to enjoy one of them, I have to turn on the television, and to enjoy the other I have to fly thousands of miles to purchase drugs I take to make them enjoyable. That may be more of an indictment of me than anything else, because shouldn't there be a place and a space to be barely active, and to concentrate on nothing in particular at all? Shouldn't the possibility of some boredom, ringed by industrial Denver and the glint of mountains in the back, be something to enjoy? I ordered a hot dog and ate it at the pace I desired and ate another cookie in the fifth inning, and looked up and realized I had a literal, event-free eternity to eat this hot dog. There was so much nothing to start with in a baseball game, and increasingly more of it with every pitch.

Baseball makes its own nothing. It's all baseball does, with every hit extending the life of the game. Baseball is a mellow, pleasant, and utterly featureless old man who can extend his own life by turning on the thermostat, and paying a bill, and then is given more life credit to use gas, and then pay the bill. Baseball is a fireman who never dies so long as there is a trailer on fire somewhere, and who spends its nights lighting fires in trailer parks. It's right there in the rules: get a hit, and you just make more baseball. It can go forever. It can make an infinite and infinitely replenished amount of nothing.

Note No. 5

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I'll be honest, I have no idea what this means, but spider fighting sounds awesome and is probably needed in a lot more places and games and public events. Oh, but what about the poor spiders? Spiders are evil, and if I can watch them kill each other for sport I will. Maybe this note makes more sense than I initially thought it did. Fuck spiders.

Note No. 6

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In the fourth inning I opened the cookie. This is an edible. You can think about a lot of things during a baseball game, and take time thinking about things because someone is coming to the plate, and the chances are that they won't hit the ball, and if a strike is called a strike you won't know if it was accurate because you are sitting at a 90-degree angle from the relevant frame of reference. Anyone who gets mad about an umpire calling a pitch one way or the other from the upper deck on the first base side is lying, or is a giant raptor who speaks English.

The cookie was the booster rocket. Edibles have a notorious reputation among marijuana users. They can fizzle, or they can swamp your nervous system in enough metastasized THC to convince you that you are falling upward into bed. Edible marijuana chocolate caused Maureen Dowd, a 62-year-old woman who is a journalist with access to the internet, reference materials, to think she had died, but that no one had told her.

This is something she was paid to write.

It took all night before it began to wear off, distressingly slowly. The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.

I have some sympathy because once in college I ate Vigo Santa Fe Beans and Rice mix with a quarter mixed into it. I then went to a concert where I hallucinated that a guitar note had pinned me to my seat through my forehead like I was a rare species of moth. I also cried uncontrollably and did not know it for several minutes. I have some sympathy.

I also did something she, a paid columnist at the standard-bearing newspaper of record for the entire country, didn't: I asked the dude behind the counter how much THC was in it. That's not perfect, but it's more research and consultation than Maureen Dowd did. If Maureen Dowd is on your plane and there is an in-flight emergency, she will open the door and be sucked out screaming "but there was not a label suggesting I could be sucked from the plane in event of a door-opening."

The thing I did when I was not watching baseball -- about 75 percent of the time, honestly, accounting for long periods staring into space and long conversations about the marvels of Tony Jaa movies with my brother -- was think how goddamn stupid it was that anyone could go to jail for this, particularly when it makes America's pastime so bearable. Make marijuana legal, halve the prison population, and keep baseball alive in stadiums filled with weed cookie-demolishing plebes racking up gargantuan concessions tabs. The cookies smelled like pitchy kind bud and contained 10 milligrams of THC a piece, something I knew because I fucking asked someone like a journalist should.

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Note No. 7

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My brother thought they were pelicans, but were instead some large freaky white birds because a.) they didn't have the pelican wattles beneath their beaks, which were all wrong for pelicans, and b.) Denver is 800 miles from the closest place that could theoretically support a pelican population. He is Ron Swanson if you dropped Ron Swanson in the Rockies, washed him of his indoctrination into the cult of shaving at least part of his face, and kept the woodworking habit. When I was there he built a BMX ramp for his son, who had never really asked for a ramp, and had never jumped his bike off one.

"Isn't that a little...big?"

"Nah, he'll be fine," my brother said.

The kid took his first run off the ramp, landed on the crossbar of the bike, and ran off into the house yelling, "I HURT MY PENIS I HURT MY PENIS."

We were perfectly sober for that.

Note No. 8

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For the record, I ate: one foot long hot dog with peppers, an entire bag of salted peanuts in the shell, one pretzel, and one marijuana cookie. For irony's sake I also had a giant Diet Coke.  What the concessions sales teams not located in marijuana-legal states are missing cannot be underestimated. Every single person who watches a baseball game high off their ass will, every 15 minutes or so, snap out of the static, try to figure out if they care what the score is, and then immediately get tone and missile lock on the nearest dude tossing silver foil-covered hot dogs into the stands. If I had done this in either of New York's baseball stadiums I would have bankrupted myself by the sixth inning.

Note No. 9

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This one I remember half-accurately. The Rockies need to cash in by opening a dispensary in the stadium offering a luxury smoking experience, and if they do not they hate money because the inconvenience of having to go get the weed separately and then tromp into the stadium sucks compared to the possibility of the whole thing being set up for you. MLB may have a problem with this. MLB does not represent the will of the people of Colorado, and spent the better part of two decades writing checks across the broad, acne-scarred backs of roided-out Nandralone rangers. They can shut the fuck up and let the Rockies set up a negative air pressure hookah lounge for those who want to pay real money for the greatest baseball experience of their lives.

P.S. From a distance the Braves logo does look like the words "Dracula" or "Calcutta."

P.P.S. I would totally buy a "Calcutta Braves" jersey.

Note No. 10

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Further to that point, the thing my brother and I talked about most was how relaxing this was, and how everyone in baseball should be on tremendous amounts of steroids again. This was not sober talk, and went mostly like this.

"Ken Caminiti? Jacked."

"Yeah. Fucking jacked."

"Swole. Looked like a bunch of erect dicks sewn into the shape of a human and stuffed into an Astros jersey."

"I loved that mannequin made of dicks."

"Me too."

This is not the best argument for legalization of any substance. If you are against the legalization of marijuana, please forget you read it. This may have also been why no one was sitting around us, but to be fair this was a baseball game being played by a bad baseball team against the Atlanta Braves, my hometown team whose roster contains one player I can name, and none I would recognize on the street. There were many empty seats to choose from, and a downright Western amount of elbow room to be found.

Note No. 11

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There was a point in the seventh inning or so when the cookie hit my system, and things got too intense, and for moments that static-y, white noise stage of being so high you feel the fringes of your connection signal with the universe frizzle-frying in and out of phase gripped my system. I don't smoke marijuana that often as an adult, but remembered the exact stage from playing Mario Kart, feeling the white noise set into my brain, and looking up to find my Wario falling off the edge of Rainbow Road and into the void with a plaintive WAAAAGHHHHHHHHH.

For some reason we decided to talk about deportation, and who could do it, and how we, sitting in the upper deck, could be seized at any moment and deported. Could the Rockies have us deported? Probably not, but you never know when a Senator there is going to look up, is having a seriously bad day, and decides that you, yes you, up in section nosebleedseventy-eight, you have to go, son.

Someone can decide that and you, high up in the cheap seats, just have to go with it. One day something is legal, and then it isn't; something is adored, and then one day it falls out of your life like a rotten tooth. There might have been a time when living without baseball seemed as improbable as marijuana being legal, but that fell away, replaced cell by cell with someone new who could only slow down for baseball if medicated. Even then, I don't remember the score. I think the Rockies won.

Producer: Chris Mottram | Illustrations: Dylan Lathrop

About the Author

Spencer Hall is the editor of EDSBS.com and a contributor to SBNation.com. He focuses on college football and participatory pieces involving trying new sports. He does not excel in the latter and is trying really hard in the former. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with a big dog and a gun.

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