Thursday's Child: Ballpark figures

Thursday, November 11, 2010
You may be surprised to hear that I was once a diehard baseball fan.  Between 1983 and 1994, little mattered more to me than major league baseball, and the Toronto Blue Jays in particular.  One of my university friends told me I acted as if the rest of the newspaper was protective covering for the sports section.  In fact, it was one of the reasons I started dating Andrew:  he knew more about baseball than anyone I’d ever met.

Many of our first dates were spent watching games at old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.  We went to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, on our honeymoon, and posed for a photo in Blue Jays’ uniforms.  Yes, we were adults at the time.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit thirteen baseball parks, four alone on a west coast trip in our second year of marriage.  Here are some observations:

  1. The worst (and funniest) heckling I’ve ever heard was directed at an umpire by two nuns at Wrigley Field.  Sorry, I can’t repeat what they said – this is a G-rated blog.
  2. When we watched a game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, the earth moved for me, mostly because we sat through a minor earthquake.
  3. The least attractive ballpark I’ve ever visited was the Kingdome.  I’m calling it “least attractive” rather than “ugliest” to avoid hurting the feelings of any northwestern U.S. fans reading this blog.  This domed concrete stadium was so dark, it may have actually inspired Samuel Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.   (Don’t forget his woeful infielder who “stoppeth one in three”.) The citizens of Seattle must love Safeco Field – they certainly paid their dues waiting for it.
  4. The smallest crowd I ever saw was in the biggest stadium.  Andrew and I attended a double header in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium on a blustery September day in 1990.  The capacity of the stadium was over 74,000; there were about 12 people there that day.  However, my dad had been a huge fan of the Indians and I was thrilled to visit their stadium.
  5. Best food I’ve ever eaten at a ball park?  Tradition dictates that I should choose Dodger dogs, although the chili we ate on a freezing night at Oakland Coliseum was terrific.
  6. I’ve been to each of the old and new Yankee Stadiums once, and sat through a rain delay both times.  What are the chances of that?
  7. I hate the Detroit Tigers so much, it’s impossible for me to admit how lovely Tiger Stadium was. 
  8. I’ve been to more games at the SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) in Toronto than I can count.  One of my favourites was the All-Star game in 1991, when I came this close to catching a foul ball hit by Cal Ripken.

Any other baseball fans (or former fans) out there?

23 comments:

Barbara said...

Used to be....when the boys were really active in Little League. Not so much anymore. I love football and hockey though.

Brenda said...

Wow, you brought back some memories. My first Blue Jay game was at Exhibition Stadium! They were playing the Red Sox. And who in Toronto will ever forget 1992-1993. :o)

Claudia said...

I grew up 3 miles from Shea Stadium and spent many an afternoon at (old) Yankeee Standium. Roger Maris helped me perfect my swim stroke in a moment of serendipity. These days, I slog along with the MN Twins because they are such underdogs and you feel obligated to love them - even if only 3 of their players come though and pitching is a sore point. And my daughter is a die-hard baseball fan (she'll even give a shout-out to the NYC Yankees - which is dangerous in MN - but she honors her mother's NYC genes).

Jess said...

I followed the Chicago Cubs in the later 80s for a little bit. My baseball card gems were Andre Dawson and Mark Grace. Then we moved from Chicago and the Cubbies got really bad for a long time :)

By the way, have you read the middle grade novel, THE GIRL WHO THREW BUTTERFLIES by Mick Cochrane (about a girl who joins the boys' team as a knuckleball pitcher). Such a great book!

Faith said...

Never cared for football but I played soccer in high school. I love hockey and baseball though. You brought back a lot of memory now!:)

Beth said...

Great baseball memories from everyone! Brenda, I will never forget the Jays winning in 1992. What an amazing game!

Claudia, I'm a huge supporter of Roger Maris and wish he'd received more support for his home run record. How amazing that you met him -- could it be another story idea for you?

And Jess, now that the Red Sox have finally won, I think everyone is a little bit of a Cubs fan. I'll check out that book you mentioned. Sounds great!

Sue said...

Wow, good for you! I've only been to Dodger stadium(MANY times!), and Angel stadium(though I think it's called something else now). Hooray for Dodger dogs! :)

Dishesdone said...

I'm a Met fan from way back! I've only been to Fenway, loved it, and the old Shea! Loved the old days of the game much better.

LDH said...

I try really hard to be passionate about sports but I don't think I have what it takes. I kinda sort-of got excited about our Phillies this year. Not sure what your reaction might be if you visit one of our stadiums. Philadelphia has a reputation and it's not for good sportsmanship.

Jeanne said...

Having grown up in Boston, I'm a Red Sox fan. I followed them very closely when I lived in Massachusetts. Now that I live in California I've slacked a bit and no longer follow them as closely, though they'll always be my favorite team. The Dodgers are my "adopted" west coast team and I try to make it to at least one game every summer.

shaz said...

Baseball wasn't/isn't big in the two countries I'd lived in. But if I ever get the chance to go to a ball game I'd definitely do it. And eat a hot dog while I'm at it :)

Chow and Chatter said...

not me but the atmosphere is awesome at the games hope you find some new fan buddies lol

Jen said...

Baseball fan?? You're my kind of girl! I love it too!!

Indie.Tea said...

No, unfortunately not...but I live in the bay area, so there's a LOT about baseball in the news lately (since the Giants won the WS).

Joanne said...

Baseball is really the only sport that I like it all and I think it's so cool that you've been to so many stadiums!

ezsrecipes.com said...

Fun post, and fun conversation. I am a home grown Kansas City girl, and am therefore a loyal Royals' fan, even in recent years when they can't seem to improve by much. My husband and I love to go to games, as much for the atmosphere as for the sport itself. We're also big Chiefs fans. :)

Reeni said...

That is so neat how you've been to so many stadiums! What interesting stories you have to tell! I'm a Yankees fan!

Diana said...

OMG at number 1. LOL!

Julie said...

I am a baseball fan! Whenever we travel to a city in the summer, we try to see a game! Ugliest ballpark, Twins at the Metrodome. Baseball inside, not so much!! Best ball park? Kansas City but that's because I am from KC and a diehard Royals fan. Target Field, the new twins stadium is also beautiful. What a fun post!

Beth said...

Emily and Julie, I'd love to get to Kauffman Stadium someday. My most vivid memory of the Royals was when they broke the hearts of Blue Jays' fans in 1985. One of my favorite baseball memories is of George Brett and his pine tar bat!

Tasha said...

My husband converted me many years ago to a Red Sox fan (before that I could not have care less about baseball) and at one point I seriously think I was a more crazed fan than him. We even did our son's nursery in a Red Sox theme and my baby shower theme was as well. (And they just happened to win the world series that year.) In the past few years, I seem to get to see less and less games, on tv and in real life, but I still have great love for them and baseball in general. I hope it's something I'll get to share with my children as they get older. I'm so impressed with all the stadiums you've visited, and I think it's awesome you went to the Baseball Hall of Fame on your honeymoon!

Kristen said...

When I was a little I often went with my parents to Busch stadium to watch the Cardinals play. When I lived near Seattle, we went to the Kingdome. You are right, it was pretty ugly.

Ruth said...

Ah, I used to be such a huge fan, but I've never recovered since the strike in the 90s. Before that, my best memory would be driving one of the cars in the 1993 WS parade in Toronto. I drove Mark Eichorn and Woody Williams. Now you'd think it wouldn't be too exciting to drive relief pitchers, but they were HILARIOUS and I had the best time! In the car behind me were Pat Butler and Todd Stottlemyre, and they were so stuck up - my friend driving that car had almost no interaction at all. I met most of the players, chatted with Joe Carter (he signed my jersey), and experienced one of the most exciting days in Toronto's sports history first hand! Ahhh... good times...

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