Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Take me out to the ballgame

I went to the Texas Longhorn baseball games on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday I brought the family and our twin boys, who are about a year and a half, had a blast running up and down the grassy hill in left field. Our teenage girls tired at about the same time as Adrian Alaniz, so we left at the start of the eighth inning. The weather was great for mid-February, and we all had a good time, but nobody really watched the game. On Sunday, I went by myself. I sat behind home plate most of the game, although due to the greatness of general admission and a less than full ballpark I tried out several choice seats. I made sure to make the experience whole by having a corndog and beer. But most of all I just watched the game, wire to wire.

These were two vastly different experiences at the ballpark, but I loved both of them. Seeing my boys at their first game was something special to me, although I admit they could’ve been anywhere for all they cared. There are plenty of reasons why I love baseball. The one-on-one battle between pitcher and batter (although as a former catcher I must say the mind games that can be played may tip this battle one way or the other), defensive positioning, substitutions, baserunners working the pitcher, and other strategic nuances are all fascinating to me. But I think the thing overriding all that is the relaxed pace and atmosphere of a game, along with the fact that it’s played outdoors (or at least it should be) just as the weather’s getting nice on through the dog days of summer, which allows me to just be there and soak in the atmosphere even if I’m not focusing on the game.

So I guess what I’m saying is that there are plenty of different ways to enjoy the game – all you have to do is relax and let the ambience of the ballpark wash over you. In a time-obsessed, multitasking world where we do so many things in a rush, it’s nice to have something so unprescribed.