Take Me Out to the Ball Game — Even Though it is Not My Favorite Thing to Do
“I f I had a wish list, which I do not, it would be to visit all the minor league parks. To me, much more character and fun. Last week, I went to Jackie Robinson Patk in Daytona Beach. Walks right on the field, to the mound. Best wishes with the goal. Maybe I will see you at a game.”
That statement was from this comment posted by Charles McCool in response to this article written by Ed Pizzarello of Pizza in Motion; and that comment reminded me of my brother, whose goal is to visit all of the baseball stadiums in the United States — to watch major league and minor league baseball teams official play the classic American game.
Because both my brother and a good friend of mine enjoy going to baseball games, I often get invited to go to the games with them. I usually accept — not because I want to go to a baseball game; but more importantly, for the company. It can be pretty cool to discuss random topics during the downtime between innings.
I was not all that involved in sports growing up in Brooklyn. Yes, I played baseball; but let’s just say that no major league baseball scout would ever recommend that I play shortstop for the New York Yankees anytime soon.
My interest in baseball did get stronger when I was in my late teens; and I would watch baseball on television. I used to occasionally take girlfriends to the stadium on those sultry summer evenings. I even bought tickets to the World Series at one point, wanting to attend a World Series game some day. That never happened; and my interest for that dream to come true — as well as my interest in baseball in general — eventually waned anyway about the time when I was 30 years old or so.
Ironically, I started attending baseball games as a spectator because of my brother; and because of his goal of visiting all of the stadia — yes, there is a plural version of stadium — where professional baseball is played in the United States, that involves travel — ergo, why this article is here at BoardingArea.
I have been to stadiums — I know, I abandoned stadia, as it just did not sound right — in cities such as New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.; but I have also been to ones in Jupiter, Florida; Bowie, Maryland; and Rome, Georgia.
The most memorable baseball game to which I have attended as a spectator had to be in Lake Elsinore, California, where the Storm — I never did like the names of teams which did not have an “s” at the end, for some reason — hosted the visiting Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. I went with three brothers and a sister-in-law to this game, which perhaps had approximately 200 people in attendance. Let’s just put it this way: you could hear everything the players and managers did in the park that evening — including coughing.
One of the players of the Quakes was a fellow named B.J. Weed. I am not making this up.
We decided to “cheer” Weed on:
“Hey — Weed is smokin’ tonight!”
“Watch out for that wild Weed growing in the outfield!”
“Weed like to see a hit!”
“Weed is gonna rock this joint!”
“Weed is lit up tonight!”
Although that was a mere sampling of the countless cheers and chants pertaining to Weed while playing on his name, we had not even tackled the B.J. part yet — but I will spare you of that…
…and he had to have heard every word. Other spectators decided to join in; and despite our having fun — nothing intentionally hurtful or attacking in any way — B.J. Weed was the consummate professional that evening. He had probably heard them all before, anyway.
Unfortunately, B.J. Weed never did get to play major league baseball.
I could not tell you the score of the game that night or which team won. I could not tell you the date or time of the game, although it occurred in the evening. All I know is that I have not laughed so hard for so long in years. It was an amazing night out.
There is nothing wrong with taking a few hours out to watch a game — especially with friends. I will still kick back a cold one — root is my beer of choice, cold and in a frosty glass mug; and ginger is my ale of preference — while watching a game. I was hoping for a classic Subway Series this year; but the New York Yankees just could not pull it off — so I am hoping for the New York Mets to win the World Series this year.
However, my interest in professional sports waned because I believe in concentrating on doing what I can to benefit myself and enrich my life — travel being a passion of mine fulfills this immensely — rather than spend a significant amount of my time cheering on a bunch of multi-millionaires who most likely do not even come from the team they represent. How many baseball players on the New York Mets or New York Yankees are actually from New York, anyway?!?
When the New York Giants won the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, I cheered for a minute or two…
…and then I stopped and said to myself, “Okay — now what?” Aside from having me feel a jolt of euphoria for a moment — go New York! — what exactly did that win do for me, anyway? Is it an unrealistic sense of pride in something with which I had absolutely nothing to do? What exactly will the New York Mets winning the World Series in 2015 do for me?
This is why I do not go to professional sports games — especially with the high cost of tickets, food, parking, and other incidentals. I would rather take that money and spend it on travel — which, of course, I have been doing.
To me, it is unfair when a multi-billion dollar organization wants a government entity to help pay for a new stadium — such as is the case with the Atlanta Braves and Cobb County in Georgia. The county had pledged to pay $300 million to build a new stadium without first asking the taxpayers who reside and do business within the county — which is an issue on which I first briefly reported in this article pertaining to the development of Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport to become a second commercial airport for the Atlanta metropolitan area despite the opposition by entities such as Delta Air Lines.
I saw the progress of the construction of the new stadium for the Atlanta Braves — as well as corresponding construction of variable toll lanes for Interstate 75 and the improvement of its intersection with Interstate 285 in Cobb County — earlier this year in the photographs shown below. The photograph at the top of this article shows the actual construction of the new stadium.
The photographs shown above and below are viewing north at the interchange between Interstate 285 — the highway in the foreground — and Interstate 75. The stanchions will support ramps for the new variable toll lanes, which will not reduce the amount of the existing free lanes from either highway.
The photograph shown above depicts what the interchange of Interstate 75 and Interstate 285 will look like once the projects are completed. A rendition of the new stadium for the Atlanta Braves is at the right edge of the photograph.
This is an artist’s rendition of what the complex of mixed use development — including the new stadium for the Atlanta Braves and shopping, restaurants, apartments and other designations — will look like when it is finished.
This aerial photograph shows the interchange of Interstate 75 and Interstate 285 before construction of the new stadium began. The green patch of woods at the right center of the photograph is where the new stadium for the Atlanta Braves will be located.
The above photograph shows a different perspective of the interchange between Interstate 75 and Interstate 285 back in the 1970s.
Sports and its competitive nature is important in society in general, in my opinion — but I am not the type who can be a die-hard fan to the point where I will spend substantial amounts of my time and money to support teams which do nothing for me in return. I never did quite understand a general obsession for sports — to the point where sports becomes impervious to economic downturns and governments can be convinced to use taxpayer dollars and take out loans to support an entity which may or may not benefit taxpayers in the future — but that is a discussion for a different weblog, I suppose.
By the way, Ed Pizzarello: with your passion for being a spectator of sports, you really need to get to know my brother. You both even live in the same metropolitan area. I will be more than happy to introduce the two of you…
…and I will forgive you for not calling on me while you were visiting near where I am based — just as I hope that you will forgive me for not calling on you while I was visiting near where you are based…