Being somewhat a fan of baseball, I'm a collector of a variety of baseball memorabilia, including baseballs, cards, hats, bobbleheads, I have collections of more than 50 baseball movies, and numerous baseball music CDs loaded with songs about America's Pastime. One of those CDs includes a song by Alabama, titled "Cheap Seats," where one of the lyrics includes the words in the title of today's Voice from the Bullpen.
Many know that I'm a partial season ticket holder for my favorite American League Ohio baseball team. I have two 20-game tickets and get to watch my Cleveland Indians throughout the major league campaign and have done so for the past six years.
Now, being a former school teacher, and not having ever won the lottery, I'm not so financially set to be able to get Dugout Suite, Front Row, Terrace Club, or even Club Level seats so, needless to say, my tickets are two in the cheap seats.
J. Paul Lombardo
Hey, I'm not complaining, because our seats are directly behind home plate, just in the upper deck, but there are many advantages we enjoy being exactly where we are for each game. No. 1, we're out of direct sunlight, which at times, makes it more comfortable sitting there for three-plus hours. Two, if it rains before or during a game, we're under the stadium roof, so we stay pretty much dry during inclement weather. Third, there's sometimes a breeze up there when often it's a hot day, which is always welcome.
The other advantage of sitting where we do is that we can see the whole field. We see all the game action with few, if any blind spots or moments. We sometimes have to put up with those people who don't wait until between innings to get up to get refreshments or visit rest rooms, but I guess there's rudeness wherever you go nowadays. The point is that, where we sit, "there's nothin' like a view from the cheap seats."
I guess, over the years, I've learned to sit back often and look at the whole view in front of me, and I can say that from where I sit in "real life," I can echo Alabama's lyric when looking at some things I've witnessed in my daily routines. Some examples ...
Voice From The Bullpen
From my "seat," I've seen, and still see, many things I have to question regarding the philosophy of what is "educationally sound" with regard to what I've been a part of, and been privy to, with the constant changes in education over the years made by many who have never been, or haven't been in many years, in the classroom. I truly believe the expression "educationally sound" is an oxymoron these days.
From my "seat," I've seen an ex-spouse, who only wants to harass his/her ex, by imposing ridiculous demands which his/her overpaid, and appearingly, questionable lawyer, offering to settle some things out of court by telling the ex of this situation, that if the she/her apologizes to her/his ex and pays him/her (the lawyer) $200, they will back off on running to the judge, whom I have to question as well, as she/he appears to have misunderstood information in the class entitled "Fair and Common Sense" during her/his studies. Hence, the ones suffering in all this are the children of the appearingly questionable lawyer's equally appearingly vindictive client, who doesn't appear to be thinking about his/her children in any way. Coincidentally, the client of this lawyer is about to come into some money, and has ample resources to retain said lawyer, and I'm sure he/she (the lawyer) has no problem running to the judge with anything his/her client wants, as it results in the sound of "cha-ching" for the attorney.
From my "seat," I've seen, close up, people who want something from you, like votes in elections, and tell you that they'll do anything they can to help you, until you ask, then they respond with something like, "Sorry, there's nothing I can do." These are the same people who, when questioned about something happening that's just not right, send you a six-page litany of everything they've done in their years, in their position and then tell you, again, that if there's anything they can do to help you, to please let them know.
From my "seat," I've seen athletes, celebrities, others perceived to be "important" people, treated better than common, ordinary people. This isn't just on/in national stages, or professional arenas, it's on college, high school and community levels. There are too many double standards, loopholes and inconsistencies in how people are treated.
But not all the view is gloomy.
From my "seat," I've seen many people doing much good for others. I've seen children thinking of others less fortunate through food drives, fund raising, community projects, etc., sacrificing time, talent, and effort to try and help persons/groups in need.
From my "seat" I've seen the growth of St. Susan Center, the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Catholic Charities, the Joint Neighborhood Project, The Salvation Army, the Union Rescue Mission, and numerous church/community groups doing much to help many through times of need and troubled times.
From my "seat" I've seen many young people strive to be the best they can be, and achieve as much as they can academically, athletically, artistically, musically, employment-wise, and civically and not ask for anything except for the chance to earn it on their own.
From my "seat" I've seen changes in how people should be respected and treated for their beliefs and their lifestyles whether some agree with them or not.
There are many things I see well from my view in the cheap seats, which I occupy every day of my life. Some of them I wish I wasn't seeing, but many make me grateful I'm up in that upper deck where I can see so much playing out in front of me. Believe me, for the price I've paid for my "ticket," I'm getting my money's worth a millionfold.