|Bob Weete, columnist|
This past weekend, I had the experience of attending what will probably be my last professional baseball game. Some thirty years ago, we took our three children to a Dodgers game. They loved it, even though we sat in the nosebleed section. All three kids became avid Dodgers fans, and we wound up attending several more times, gradually moving our seats closer and closer to ground level.
Leslie and Andy, two of our three kids, arranged for us to go to this game, along with a sister of mine and a friend of Andy's. We didn't have the best seats in the house, but we sure didn't need binoculars to distinguish the two teams playing.
On the way from our parking lot, my wife, Anne, took a little tumble, and my need for a cane made me realize this would be the last. Just minutes after we got to our seats, we found ourselves literally a few feet from where a foul ball struck. No, none of us got the ball, but a lady in front of us was struck on the shoulder by it. It was almost like the big fish that got away.
Realizing that this would probably be our last baseball experience, I wound up feeling like a kid going to his first real game. I wound up gawking around like a country kid, looking at all the people, all the lights, the sound of the crowd, the various hawking of the venders, and, of course, the sound of the organ leading the crowd.
Two players already had had their time at bat and were back in the dugout before I got my focus on the game. Neither my wife nor I have really been baseball "aficionados", but all three of our kids played many years in little league and on high school teams. We are of the Orel Hershiser era, so we had no clue concerning the names of player from either team.
My daughter had insisted that we dress in the team colors, so Leslie bought Anne a bright blue T-shirt, with "DODGERS" emblazoned across the front. I don't do T-shirts, so I wore a blue shirt I had, and Andy insisted I at least wear the standard Dodgers blue hat. I complied, reluctantly, even though I don't do hats either.
So there we sat, in a sea of red Diamondbacks. Rather intimidating, actually. We tried to appear as non-partisan as possible, cheering for each good play, regardless if the player word red or blue. That seemed to appease them pretty well. Either that, or it just confused them. Actually, I think they decided that perhaps we were just a couple of old senior citizens on leave from the old folks' home, and we had no clue even where we were, or why.
I enjoyed seeing the dads, leaving their seats and the game with a couple of kids, who clearly were heading to the restrooms, and I was so proud of those men who brought their kids to the game. One poor gentleman made the trek at least four times with his two boys. Must get those bladders checked, Dad.
I noticed, over my left shoulder and up a couple of rows that there was one brave guy with one embarrassed wife/girlfriend, who was in no way intimidated by all the red hats and T's. In his Blue Dodger T, he kept a nearly constant, "Let's go, Dodgers, let's go!" I could hear a few who periodically joined him. Undaunted by the few, or his beloved wife, that guy lasted pretty near the entire game, with never a crack in his voice. I was impressed. Really.
I noticed, of course, that he was much younger than I. I also noticed his energy source, a rather large cup of Dodger beer that was usually at least half full. I had to admire his perseverance, though, as he never wavered, never slurred his words, never faltered, always with the same rhythm, "Let's go, Dodgers, let's go". Some would go clap! clap! after each effort. I never saw him clap, though. I rather suspect he would have had trouble getting his hands together.
I tried to participate in gorging myself with the hot dog, peanuts and Cracker Jacks, as I had done many years before, but wisdom limited me to just one bag of peanuts. Oh, yes, I did have a Pepsi. Left the beer to others.
A considerable number of seniors besides me, and they were having a grand time, too, but the trips up and down those steep steps were limited, of course. Plenty of foul balls for people to scramble for, but all-in-all, no real squabbles or bad-mouthing, as still occur, I understand, at many local games. I was thankful for that.
The coliseum roof magically moved back, exposing the early evening's sunset, finally turning to a starry night. Neat, I thought.
Then, suddenly, it was over, and the thirty-seven thousand people filed out. Not too many "nya-nya's" as we left, thankfully. Score: Diamondbacks 14 and Dodger 7. Baseball is still a great way to have a good time in America, whoever wins.