It’s never too late to start something that will take the rest of your life to accomplish.
I wanna hit every MLB ballpark. Lots of people go on or have completed this quest. It’s absurd, really, how many of them I’ve not been to. I get jealous when I see tweets like this from friend and colleague Chris Tannehill:
20! The man is barely in his mid-30’s. His ballpark list is incredibly impressive, like a Bert Blyleven curve. Plus, he seems to have had very pure, solid fan experiences at the parks, with beers and snacks and friends and such. I’ve so often been working; upstairs with snooty, carefully detached media, unable to hang out where the real people are and fully feel the building.
“Other than hanging with family, the ballpark visits are probably my favorite thing,” says Tannehill. “Obviously I love to travel but don’t have the time or money to see the world; seeing ballparks allows me to explore the country.”
You’d think I, a baseball romantic bred into this passion essentially from the womb, would have been one of the many who collect ballparks. I am a man whose pronunciation of “#baahhhhseballl” was so lampooned on the radio that it turned itself from insult to compliment almost daily. A Twitter account was born just to keep the ridicule flowing.
And yet, my ballpark list feels meek and inadequate, like a Doug Jones fastball.
Last Friday night, amid accompanying my wife on a work trip to Dallas (I have some free time these days), we decided to hit the stadium in Arlington. An insurance company I’d never heard of has the rights, so “Globe Life” isn’t just what all us Earthlings are living every day, it’s the home of the Texas Rangers.
The teams were bad. Hell, one of them was the White Sox. Dylan Covey got absolutely destroyed, the Sox played like the clowns Reynaldo Lopez accused them of being a couple weeks ago, and it was 10-0 Rangers by the 3rd. But hey, Matt Davidson pitched in the 8th!
That was awesome….the man showed a legit curve and splitter. He said afterwards it was a dream come true.
StubHub got us great seats behind the plate for under a hundred bucks, and we stayed all night until the postgame fireworks, accompanied by a well-crafted Beatles medley. This was my kind of night. Adrian Beltre didn’t do anything special, but I’m still glad I saw him. And maybe it was the weird 17% alcohol drinks in mini-baseball shaped cans, but I enjoyed watching the teams have to go through the motions of playing out the game because they must. It reminded me of times I have sung at terrible, corporate parties. The band knows the gig absolutely sucks by the middle of the first set….the crowd barely pays attention, we are sonic wallpaper. But you play your best. You finish the night with professionalism. It’s a job.
This column appears in full on the Score’s website, here.
BUT…here, you can comment, let’s get a thread going. What’s your ballpark count at right now? What traditions do you do at each new park? Talk to me.
Homegirl wore the Rangers hat, just so her White Sox loathing was clear. True Story.