It’s baseball season!
I like major league games, especially when they get really interesting. I’m thinking specifically of the Oakland A’s game against the Texas Rangers, during which a Texas Ranger got very upset at someone in the crowd heckling him, so he picked up a chair and threw it into the stands. He hit someone that had nothing to do with it, and the entire stadium focused on that one spot. There was a rising growling noise, like thunder coming up, a storm coming in that we couldn’t see, and the announcer finally came on and said that if any fans went out onto the field the A’s would forfeit the game. There was a significant amount of muttering, but the crowd did eventually settle down again. I’m not saying that’s the only thing I like about baseball, but it was definitely not boring.
Major league games are often exciting – good plays, nice catches that you would not necessarily expect the player to be able to make and so on. Good, interesting, solidly played games. Triple-A ball, though, is another kind of game, and I’ve grown to prefer it. We were at a game last year in which two players were headed in to catch the same ball, each saw the other coming, both stopped, and the ball fell directly in between them. The crowd was groaning and laughing in equal measure. We’ve also seen people drop bats, fall over while running, and slide towards a base only to come to a stop a foot or so short. It’s great. The good players shine even more in that environment, and, while it’s exciting to see who will move up, it’s also sad because we’d like them to stay.
Reno just recently got a Triple-A team. It’s been great fun. Tickets are cheap, which is really nice. The games are invariably interesting, and the crowd is just as opinionated, if not more, as at major league games. The people singing the anthem are sometimes…interesting to listen to, but that’s true at major league games, too. While I was growing up, I periodically went to baseball games because the choirs I sang in would sing the anthem. I didn’t much care about baseball then because no one had explained it. When Xander and I got involved, though, he actually took the time to explain the game, and suddenly it was much more interesting. I like watching games now, but I much prefer watching them in person rather than on TV. Hearing the people around us making the same noises that we are about the plays creates a community out there in the sun, all of us trying hard to get the people on the field to do what we want them to, knowing quite well that it makes no difference at all what we say. It’s really cathartic to be able to yell at people when they are doing something stupid and also when they do something good. I mean, how many times in your life have you seen someone do something neat and been able to jump up and yell “YES!” at the top of your lungs? There’s a freedom in being able to respond without having to worry about other people thinking you are stupid. They’re probably so drunk that they won’t remember it by morning anyway. Even if they do, everyone is jumping up and down and yelling. Who cares?
It’s freedom, weather (it’s Reno, so sometimes we get beautiful sunny days and sometimes we get very cold days, even in the middle of summer), being part of something bigger, really caring about something a lot of other people really care about, too, and making fun of the songs players pick for their at bats. Also, eating hot dogs (which I almost never do), drinking cheap beer (well, sometimes), and having time to relax and focus on something that doesn’t have far reaching consequences for me.
Baseball is what I always wanted it to be when I was little. I understand the game now (well, mostly – don’t ask me to explain the infield fly rule) and I can get into it. It’s a time to enjoy good company and do something that is unmitigatedly fun.
Now if I can only remember a hat and sunscreen for every game, the next day will be good, too.