Friday, July 30, 2010

Missing Baseball In Person

I was up early today and found myself reading Bill Simmons' column on ESPN that was essentially about baseball's current concerns (ratings are down, attendance is down, etc). Ostensibly, the column was an opportunity for fan boy Simmons to whine about the 2010 Red Sox (oh boo hoo hoo, they're not exciting...waaaaaa).

Still he made several prescient points, including how the experience of going to Fenway Park has changed drastically, writing:
I attended my first home game in two years (the Philly blowout) and was flabbergasted when everyone stopped standing for Boston runs. Apparently the 7-0 lead was good enough; nobody stood for runs 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12. But when they cranked "Sweet Caroline" in the eighth inning? Everyone stood and sang.
Yeah. Welcome to the world of moronic, bandwagon fans Boston! Idiots, indeed.

Still, all of this and more, got me to finally missing being at games. The feeling had been building for some time, and it reached a crescendo this past weekend when I caught up with my old Section 5 buds. I see Mick quite often, but this weekend was the first time I had seen the brothers Eddie and Steve in some time.

Quick side note: Eddie married the lovely Evette this past weekend in Central Park and I was honored to be invited. Steve gave a wonderful speech as Best Man; one that the High Priest of the Sack of Nuts highly approved (sadly I can't embed the video). Carrie, by the way, looked stunning. I should get some pictures up.

OK, back to the topic. In talking to both Steve and Mick, they have no interest in getting a new ticket plan for the Yankees and I can understand to a point. The team did treat us very poorly and that can't be forgotten. And I can't ignore the fact that this new Stadium isn't my Stadium.  It belongs to others with it's abundance of bathrooms and amenities and I get that.

But I can't think of the last time that I went a year without attending a game at Yankee Stadium (old or new). At this point, I don't know when it is going to happen either.

I suppose that my lack of ANY live baseball is adding to my hurt. Two Renegades broadcasts and it's almost August? My old Gades colleague, Sean Ford, was amazed at that when I had lunch with him yesterday.

Still, I don't think that's the overriding reason. The biggest reason was that despite the traffic, the idiot fans, the overproduction, the abuse of my bank account, and everything else, I still love the anticipation of going to a game. I love simply walking in to the Stadium and seeing that explosion of color - the seats, the green grass, the frieze, the sky. I love the sight of the fathers and sons (with no offense to mothers and daughters).  I love the smells. The sounds of the vendors. The roar of the crowd. The crack of the bat. All of this screams BASEBALL!

But there's more. There's the camaraderie. I wouldn't know Mick, Steve, Eddie, Kelly, and the other wonderful friends that I've made since 1998 without my ticket package. Without the Yankees. Without baseball.

There's even more. I miss settling into my seat and watching the game (maybe keeping score like I did in the old days). That seems simplistic, but it's not. I don't go to games for the beer (seriously) or the food. I go to watch the game. To study it. To listen to stupid fans talk stupidly and to talk strategy and history with those who have a clue. Traditionally I would watch quietly, but I loved those high points - the moments that allows one to be a fan.

In short: I miss it.

So buy tickets, you say! Ha! Maybe I will, and supposedly there are reasonable tickets to be found on the StubHubs of the world. So I will look into that and see if it can be done. I'm not sure if it will be ever be the same again but I think I'm willing to find out.

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