A Narrow (Baseball) Field of Vision

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Lake Elsinore residents are no doubt just giddy with excitement over the fact that a minor league baseball stadium is currently being built behind the Albertson’s shopping center, near the lake. Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that the next time it rains very hard, it is going to be behind the Albertson’s shopping center, in the lake.

I have too much faith in humanity to think that the city planners didn’t have the thought occur to them that maybe, just maybe, if the lake has flooded three times in the past 20 years, it could possibly do it again. So I’m assuming that they have some brilliant plan in mind to prevent the lake from flooding out the baseball stadium, although I must admit that it would be interesting to see a game get called on account of all the players having drowned.

I’m also assuming that whatever they’ve thought of, it’s better than that cockamamie levee they built a few years ago, which was supposed to prevent flooding and which is currently in the middle of the lake, preventing nothing, except for the possibility that someone might have faith in City Hall (which is unlikely to begin with). It evidently never occurred to the people who built the levee that if the water got high enough, it might actually spill over the top. They apparently thought the water would stay where it belonged, out of common courtesy, or martial law, or whatever.

This kind of short-sightedness reminds me of Lucas Harp. Lucas Harp was a student at Robert E. Lee High School in (where else?) Houston. He and several of his classmates were on a week-long trip to New York City at the same time that my friend Andrae and several of his classmates, from Elsinore High School, were also in New York. The student travel company combined the two groups and had them share a row of hotel rooms, and Andrae wound up sharing a room with Lucas Harp.

One day on the trip, Lucas Harp put on a T-shirt bearing a replica of the Confederate flag. This is already funny enough, insofar as it reinforces negative stereotypes of people from Texas, and also because it involves a person named Lucas Harp, but it gets even funnier, because Andrae happens to be black, and the Confederate flag does not exactly make a black person want to stand up and salute. So the situation is now funnier, because some possible contention and conflict has been introduced. Heck, we’ve almost got ourselves a good plot for a short story, or maybe even a wacky sit-com on the Fox semi-network. (“One’s a racist, the other is black, and they share a hotel room!”) But wait, there’s more comedy, because not only is Andrae black, but he is also quite capable of beating up anyone reading this column, nothing personal, and it goes without saying that he could just wipe the walls with someone from Robert E. Lee High School in Houston who is named Lucas Harp.

Unfortunately, there was no blood shed, which makes me wonder why I even brought it up. Then I remember that it’s because Lucas Harp showed extreme short-sightedness when he put on that T-shirt. I certainly hope that the people responsible for building the baseball stadium are not suffering from the same affliction, because if they are, I will not hesitate to have Andrae beat them up.

(Eric D. Snider is a college student living at home in Lake Elsinore for the summer. He has been to New York, and he even stayed in the same hotel that Lucas Harp did.)

Another funny-thing-that-happened-to-a-friend column. Andrae and I had been in high school drama together, and I seem to recall that he and I went to the movies A LOT this particular summer. We'd always go in the afternoon, when it was only $3.50; plus, he always had to work at Del Taco in the evenings. Ah, memories.

Anyway, the column elicited this response -- the only letter the newspaper ever got in regards to my column:

What makes my day is reading Eric Snider's column in your newspaper. His column on the baseball stadium Aug. 31 started me laughing at home, then when I was on the bus I happened to think of it and laughed again, which made several people turn to look at me.

He is a very funny man. Thank you, Mr. Snider, for your delightfully crazy humor. We who are 'off the wall' appreciate it.

Muriel White
Lake Elsinore

Certainly nice of Ms. White to write in. As I mentioned, we never got any other feedback, not even negative. (I don't wish to generalize, but people in California tend to be far less uptight than people in Provo, who will write nasty letters at the drop of a hat.) (OK, so I do wish to generalize.)

And as for the comments on the Lake Elsinore City Council's lack of foresight: I've always thought I came from a dumb town, but all this business confirmed it. I won't even MENTION how they paid Wal-Mart $3 million to build a store in town, the result of which was that the Kmart we already had went out of business -- meaning the city paid $3 million just to have a Wal-Mart instead of a Kmart, which anyone will tell you is not really an improvement worth $3 million.

The baseball stadium was built, and was quite popular for a couple years. And while the lake has not flooded the stadium, there were problems for a couple of summers where the overwhelming stench of the then-swampy lake bothered the baseball fans. Now, the stench has gone away, but I think people have pretty much forgotten about the baseball team. Funny how life is, eh?


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