Monday, April 9, 2007

"Take Me Out To The Ball Game!"

The crowd goes wild as Barry Bonds, whose achievements include 7 MVP’s and ‘Player of the Decade’ (1990’s), slams his 735th home-run during the first inning. Unfortunately, the Giants 1-0 lead did not last for long, as opponent’s the San Diego Padres slipped by for a 5-3 victory over the Giants, in their 'opening night' game.

Win or lose, rain or shine—sometimes it just doesn’t matter, plus the Giants have a 163 game season (regular season games, not including spring training or wild card) to redeem themselves. But wait, lets zoom out for a minute…

There is just something about the atmosphere and ambiance of being at a baseball game that is unparalleled. Hot dogs, cold beer, baseball hats and gloves, rowdy fans, legendary players—it’s just so…American. On April 4th (Opening Night), I walked hesitantly into AT&T Park and my stomach dropped a little, as I have been a die hard Chicago White Sox fan my entire life, and was suddenly surrounded by thousands of San Francisco Giants fans (there was even one holding my hand). Why was I even here? Who would I cheer for? Would I even cheer at all? Would my boyfriend be mad if I talked sh*t about his team? Just as these questions of uncertainty started to overwhelm me, I saw the perfect white lines and flawless green grass that framed the most beautiful diamond on the earth—the baseball diamond!

Baseball has become known as “the national pastime” of the USA, and people of every age enjoy watching the game as much as they love to play it. Just like gardens, baseball is another one of those words that instantly sparks childhood memories, but the memories do not stop there. A four-year-old struggles to even make contact with a stationary ball placed on-top of a ‘stick’ (Tee-ball); while time after time, major league players like Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas smack 100 mph pitches out of the park. Smiles plaster the faces of toddlers perched on daddy’s shoulders and sheer joy can be seen on that 85 year old mans face as he watches the home-run, that finally put his team in the World Series after being a season ticket holder for 65 years, soar over the wall in left field.

Our seats were in the Field Club Level, a mere 10 feet from the Padres (Visitors) dugout, and I was pleasantly surprised by the various types of people in the nearby rows. The people included, an Oakland A’s fan in front, four die hard season ticket holders to the right, an out of place overdressed wine-sipping couple to the left, and a family of seven (with five sons, who were absolutely ecstatic) filled the row behind me. Michael Linzy, father of the enthusiastic family, said, “ Our family loves baseball, the four older boys all play, as will the baby. We come to ‘opening night’ every year, this is Jack’s first game it’s so exciting!” Michael later told me that this game was he and his wife’s 23rd ‘opening night’ game; the first one was the couple’s first date.

Baseball is special, there is no better place to be on a hot summer day than at a baseball ball game (OK, or a garden); regardless of if you're at a little league game or game seven of the MLB World Series. “I have been a season ticket holder for 19 years,” said Matt Stapleton (from the right), “and AT&T becomes my second home from April through September.” Die-hard fans and families with four (soon to be five) sons who play are unfair examples of how amazing baseball and the types of people it draws in. However, do not forget the snooty couple to my left, who refused to be ‘interviewed’ for USFBlogtastic, but I know I saw them both crack a smile or two throughout the game. Why you might be wondering? Well, because baseball Rocks!


eerickson said...

sweet picture! great writing, your post captured my full attention

Christina Kho said...

i know what you mean. there's something about watching a game drinking beer and eating garlic fries and hotdogs. even though i'm not a die hard fan, it's fun to root for a team and yell at people. it's definitely a wild experience. good job incorporating the people around you at the game for your story.