The Time Has Come for Baseball

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Can you feel it? That energy, that crackle. Spring has sprung, and that can only mean one thing: the time has come for baseball season! 

 

Ticket in hand, team colors donned, good weather in the forecast— everything you need for a day at the ballpark. From the National Anthem to returning players, the team freebies to celebrating our local heroes, I am here for it all!

 

Busch Stadium

 

When I was a kid, my dad played on a co-ed team for fun every spring and summer. I used to dread going and sitting on hot bleachers for hours every Sunday. It was a 20-minute drive to the park, and the only shade found was in the parking garage where we left the air-conditioned family car two blocks away. Then we had chairs, blankets, snacks, almost warm Snapple’s, my dad’s baseball bag, and a toddler sister to tote to the outskirts of the baseball diamond. 

 

It was a barren park on the corner of a busy downtown neighborhood. The only area for us kids to play would have been in the outfield near the two-stall, doorless, dark and smelly shell of a bathroom — no coverage from pop flies or surprise home run sluggers, so we were made to stay just behind home plate on the ground or choose to sacrifice our thigh skin to the metal bleachers. 

 

These men and women played for hours, game after game. And we sat through all of it. Albeit cranky, we were there.

As a family. 

 

Our reward for a day out in the heat of the Sacramento Valley: McDonald’s on the way home. No time for cooking on a late Sunday evening with three kids and baths and school the next morning. A reward I didn’t mind. I also didn’t have to do the cooking, so it was a treat either way. 

 

When I was even younger, before my dad was on a recreational team, he used to have the baseball game on the TV every weekend. We would barbeque, asking constantly to change the channel; he would furrow his brow and tell us, “No, I’m watching the game,” only to be caught not even five minutes later dozing on a couch arm.

 

I swear that is such a “dad thing.” 

 

But somewhere down the line, it clicked. Baseball is more than just the bat and ball making contact. I found there were many aspects of the game and its experience that I truly enjoy.

 

We used to have season tickets to the Sacramento River Cats — the minor league affiliate team for the San Francisco Giants, formerly the affiliate team for the Oakland Athletics, and those games were the highlight of baseball for me. Going to those baseball games with my dad was more than just sitting through the game. It was cold lemonades, cotton candy, hot dogs, injured Major Leaguers coming to our hometown to rehab. It was themed nights and fireworks every Friday and Saturday evening game. The stadium is right on the edge of the Sacramento River, so those fireworks echoed through your rib cage in the best way. 

 

The bigger the boom, the better.

 

I learned what he liked about the game. We talked trash about some of those “young kid” players who were just getting warmed up in their careers. He always brought his worn-in glove with us, “you know, just in case I have to save you from a foul ball,” he would say. I secretly think he was hoping to keep one of those foul balls. Maybe get a hopeful minor league player to sign it so that my dad could have it saved like an unknown treasure if they ever got called up. 

 

Living in St. Louis has only reaffirmed my love for the game. The sounds are the same. The wins and losses feel the same. The drinks are colder, and the game is bigger now that I can share the experience with my own family. Some days my daughter doesn’t want to have anything to do with baseball; some days she asks me when we are going to Busch stadium again. She’s right on the edge of loving it just as much as I do. And I have no qualms with going to as many games as that is going to take. 😉

 

Busch Stadium at night

 

All that’s left to say is, Happy Opening Day! Find me pre-game at Ballpark Village for a cold one, happily standing in line for chicken strips and margaritas somewhere in Busch stadium, or on my feet, cheering on the boys in any given section!

 

Ball Park Village big screen
Daughter and mom at Ballpark Village after a game

Welcome back, baseball, I’ve missed you! 

 

 

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Maria has had a long flirtation with her passion for writing since childhood. She truly enjoys sharing imagery in a creative capacity through words and photography. A transplant from California, she is eager to make the St. Louis area feel like home. When she isn’t snapping away at a shutter, or happily clicking on a keyboard, you can find Maria exploring her new surroundings, sipping wine with friends, or making the most of her adventures with her little family. Maria is happily married and the mother of one daughter and one furbaby.

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