Keystone Clowns

This poop-producin' pelican dive-bombs slapstick sheriff's deputies, ex-mayor Skip Rimsza, and Chase Field's crotchety old baseball enforcers

Not exactly the kind of "experience" you want your own campaign ads touting. But best of all, in a sick way, was Google's 10th recommendation, which comes from this paper's very own pages, circa 1999: "Skip Rimsza's not a bad mayor, per se. I'd say he's been more of a non-mayor."

Whoops.

In the interest of fairness, The Bird also tried Googling Skip Rimsza without the quotation marks around his name. But that, too, proved bad news for Skippy: basically the same stuff, along with the unfortunate inclusion of the transcripts from a speech given by oh-so-popular George W. Bush at the Dodge Theatre in 2002.

Why unfortunate? Well, it's not just the fact that no one these days wants to be linked to Dubya, not even Republicans. It's that, apparently, Ole Mayor Skip was MIA during an Important Political Event. No, really. According to www.whitehouse.gov, the prez told the crowd, "I know we've got the mayor here, Skip Rimsza, from the city of Phoenix. I want to thank you for coming, Skip. I'm proud to --"

And then the president breaks off.

"I don't see you anywhere, but I'm proud that you're here --"

He breaks off again, apparently with one of those Bush-ian smirks.

"You're not Skip." (As the transcript notes, for some reason the crowd laughed at this.) "You're not even old enough to vote."

Again, laughter.

So, you want "experience"? The Bird suggests Googling "Jan Brewer."

Then again, maybe not.

Ball Busters

If you ask this sports-lovin' sparrow, the best part about baseball is knocking back a few brew-ha-has and heckling the other team -- that's what makes the "great American pastime" so great. How else are fans supposed to endure a game where players go entire innings without scoring a single run? So you can imagine how bored this feathered fiend gets at Chase Field, where it takes a good half-hour to grab an overpriced beer (nine bucks for a Bud Light!), and where "impolite" heckling of players will get you booted from the stadium.

The stadium's official rule, according to director of security Sean McGuire, is that heckling is okay as long as "a fan is yelling at a player in good taste." Comments that are "rude, derogatory or use profanity," that bother people seated near you or "offend" a player's tender feelings (aren't athletes supposed to be tough?) will get you a warning, and maybe even kicked out on your baseball-loving keister.

So what the heck does "in good taste" mean at a baseball game? "It's fine to shout baseball-related terms," states Milquetoast McGuire. "But nothing derogatory. Nothing condescending."

Boooooring! How are fans supposed to make fun of someone without being condescending? Speaking of condescending, The Bird has also got a bone to pick with the senile old farts who act as an ersatz Hat Police during the off-key warbling of the pre-game national anthem. Note to half-wit security people: If The Bird doesn't want to remove its hat -- or stand up, for that matter -- it doesn't friggin' have to. And both McGuire and the Bill of Rights say so!

"The game announcer makes an announcement [before the anthem] asking people to stand, but that doesn't mean they have to," McGuire concedes. "Some people believe it's a sign of respect, but it's certainly not our policy."

Good thing, too, since some of the people who actually attend games at the former Bank One Ballpark are there to have fun. Which is becoming increasingly more difficult to do without having some Nazi kindergarten teacher land on your head because you dared to shout something other than encouragement to the guys on the field. Like the time when this extended middle digit saw some poor slob in a Red Sox uniform tossed out of the stands because he was heckling Johnny "Caveman" Damon. Guess this guy didn't get the memo about not using the word "fuck" when addressing a player. He'd have kept his seat if only he'd shouted, "Excuse me, Mr. Damon, sir, would you mind terribly sort of hitting that ball the tiniest bit harder, please? Thank you!"

The Bird thinks that the brain surgeons at Chase Field need to put a little less energy into maintaining audience gentility and a little more into generating more excitement from the stands. This beak-bearin' ink-slinger has heard more commotion from a Library Club meeting than usually goes on these days among Diamondbacks fans. Screaming profanity at the players is just part of baseball, folks. What's next? Diamondback Dogs replaced by pâté? Perrier instead of MGD? Oh, Death, where is thy ever-lovin' sting!?

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