“They’re all yours, man,” he says to the concierge while turning for the door, which is vacant for a moment until a frantic attendant jolts around the corner to open it, pulling himself together just in time to exude the finesse he was taught in training. An elegant smile, a poised “Good afternoon, sir,” and a smooth turn at just the right moment could earn him a quick few bucks. A shiny, black Ferrari waits for the baseball player in the porte-cochère, purring as if aroused to see him. The ball player speeds off after a few minutes of calibrating the leather seats and texting from his iPhone, leaving his uniformed employees envious and in his dust. At least we have tickets for tonight’s game.
It’s one of the few perks of working in a luxurious building for rich and glamorous people, a few of whom happen to be professional baseball players (sorry, I can’t give out names without subjecting myself to a potential lawsuit). Seats in Suite 1A, on the third base line, with perfect views of the field and the Bay. Ahh... Forget the hits, runs, errors, and runners left on – I’m all about the ambiance: the seagulls flying overhead, their white feathers contrasting with the purple sky; McCovey Cove packed with boaters hoping to catch the next home-run ball over AT&T Park’s right-field wall; and the skyline, where the deep blue water meets the last few minutes of sunset. Oh, and the beer. I’m all about the beer. Last night – and last Thursday night – I got it all: beer, ambiance, plus a fair amount of errors and runners left on.
Back to the perks? Yesterday, a shimmering (expensive looking) blue envelope came in the mail. It was sitting on my desk when I arrived at work. And you know what? I had been invited to a very high-end dinner and auction that would raise money for a diabetes foundation. Moi. Unfortunately, I had to mark the “I can’t attend this year, but I’m donating $_____” box. Except I left the line blank and instead inscribed a note at the bottom of the card in my nicest handwriting, with my most official pen: “Thank you for the invitation. I would be honored to attend, however I’m not in the position to make a monetary contribution at this time. Best of luck.” Horrible, but the truth. Now that I think about it, though, I didn’t even do my etiquette research before sending this off. Who knows if such a memo is proper? But my only other options were to buy a $25,000 table, a $10,000 table, or a $2,500 table – this was the “young professional” option. What kind of young professional has an extra $2,500, even if it is going to a good cause? (I mean, just because I work with the rich and glamorous doesn’t mean I am rich and glamorous.)
I sometimes feel like it, though, when I walk into AT&T Park with a suite ticket in my back pocket. Just one flash at the ticket-taker and my immodest alter-ego emerges. That’s right, step out of the way for the big spender, folks. Coming through. Can you tell? I’ve been very spoiled with these suite and club level tickets; I don’t even remember the last time I bought seats for myself, actually. And to be honest? I don’t think I’d like the $8 nosebleeds anymore, except for the awesome skyline view. You can’t beat that anywhere else.