13 March 2006

One of the Best Things About Living in Florida

For me, anyway, spring training makes that Top 10 list!

Today, I sat one row away from this....

Sitting that close and hearing the "pop" in the catcher's glove is an awesome experience.

I will also post soon about last week's experience at the World Baseball Classic.


Anonymous said...

I currently live in a major league city, St. Louis. They just opened a new ballpark. I will never see it from anywhere but TV or driving by. I gave up on the majors after the strike year when no series was held. I vowed then to never again attend a major league game and have stuck to that vow. I have been tempted by the refurbished "old" Busch Stadium and once on a work trip to Denver. I made it past those temptations and plan to keep my vow.
My history of baseball goes all the way back to '59 White Sox-Dodgers, the first series I have memories of. The next year I watched "The Falstaff Game of the Week" with commentary by Pee Wee Reese and Dizzy Dean. It should have been called the "Yankees" game of the week. Consequently, I hate Bill Mazeroski and the Pittsburgh Pirates to this day. My affiliation with the Yankees was short-lived thanks to the Reds which were the closest major league team to where I grew up. We made a few trips to Cincinnati to watch the Reds play. On one trip, "Smokey" Burgess of the hated Pirates literally knocked me on my seven year old ass. Another time in high school when the Reds were playing a Sunday double header, a buddy and I set out on a two hour drive to Cincinnati just to drive past Crosely, honk the horn on his '63 Bel-air, and see if we could hear it on the radio. Geez, can high-schoolers do dumb things.
I always thought if I ever lived in a major league city I would get season tickets to every sport available. Somehow, when I moved to St. Louis in late '76 that no longer seemed appropriate. The football Cards sucked, the baseball Cards were worse and what's a kid from Indiana know about hockey? Plus, I was making $9K a year when I started. I did however manage to get in on a few good things. The only world series game which I saw in person was game 4 of the '82 series in Milwaukee. My seat along the third baseline was obstructed but I knew as soon as I saw the wide turn Ozzie was taking that he was going to try and score from second on a sac-fly. I was also on hand for Ozzie's dramatic home run at Busch during the '85 playoffs. I was there but in the pisser at the time having already decided that Ozzie wouldn't do anything. I'll never forgive myself for standing in that stench filled hole while listening to Jack Buck say "Go crazy folks!"
I guess the real reason I'm commenting on this entry goes back to '89 and the time I spent 6 months working in Huntsville, AL. The Huntsville Stars were a AA affiliate of Oakland. I went to an early season game which had little attendance. We sat down in the first row of seats where during warm-ups you could actually hear the "sssssssssssss' sound as the balls rolled through the grass. You mention the pop as the ball hit the mitt, but I'll never forget the "sssssssssssss." At a game later in the season I managed to snag a foul ball on the fly along the third baseline. This game was pretty well attended as the reigning Ameican League MVP was doing a rehab assignment in Huntsville with his brother Ozzie. Jose Canseco didn't hit the ball I caught but I'll never forget it.
My only interest in baseball these days concerns the minors. I love the fact that Indianapolis, Louisville, and Memphis have built downtown ballparks. The right-field foul pole of the Memphis park is just across the street from the worst motel I've ever been forced to stay in. And I stayed there twice! Maybe it's stock has gone up? I would love to take a roadtrip to these locations and catch some games that actually matter to the participants.

The Travelin' Man said...

Instead of leaving a follow-up comment that most folks aren't likely to read, I will just make this the subject of a new post.