It struck me when we were at the Cardinals game two weeks ago that no matter how many games I go to, every one is like my first big league game.
First, there’s the very grandness of the stadium. There’s something about walking out toward your seat, and seeing just how big the stadium is, and how green the grass is, and how many people are there, and the city skyline all around, that just takes your breath away. It never gets old, and I always feel like a little kid for just a second, seeing the ballpark for the first time.
The different people around you make every game a different experience, too. Sometimes you get to sit by someone funny, or entertaining. That’s always fun. Or maybe someone chatty–often a season ticket holder who just wants to talk baseball. Occasionally, you even get stuck by a jerk…someone who is a poor sport, or doesn’t really care about the game, or doesn’t know any words that don’t have four letters. It’s unpleasant, but even that’s an experience.
Different vendors make every game different as well. Sure, there’s a lot of forgettable vendors out there. But every once in a while, you come across one with a lot of personality–one with a voice that literally carries across the stadium (I’m not even exaggerating), or that has some really good line to push the sale. You start looking forward to them coming through every inning or two, and your realize that the vendors are part of the game experience, too.
Ushers can also do a lot to make every game a different experience. A lot of the time, you don’t really notice them at all, unless you need help finding your seat, or you’re having some other kind of problem. But every once in a while, there’s an usher assigned to your section who has good information about a special event occurring around the game, or who likes entertaining children, or fancies himself a stand-up comedian. Just another fun part of the baseball experience, and you never know what to expect!
The constantly changing line-up can also make the game feel new, and our line-ups change a lot! (Tony La Russa is our manager, after all!) There’s always the possibility of seeing something totally bizarre–a player at a position that’s totally unexpected, the major league debut of a new player, a truly spectacular event like a no-hitter or a grand slam….each game itself has the possibility of something completely new.
I hope that going to a baseball game never becomes so routine to me that I forget just how magical it is. I want to always feel like a kid going to her first game as I walk into the stadium and take in all that is baseball all around me!