Sunday, June 14, 2009

Scenes from two ballparks

1. Last Tuesday night, I was off to Tropicana Field to see the Rays play the Angels in exciting American League action. You have to like a park in which parking is free when you have four people in the car; it's $15 for the rest of us. Plus, tickets at the second level between home and first were $31 apiece -- pretty good for major league baseball. There was help everywhere in the ballpark, and everyone was polite and friendly. And the staff handed out free programs as you walked in.

The highlight, though, came after a well-played game. You've heard of the promotion where kids run the bases after the game? Tampa Bay has something called "the senior stroll." You can walk from the area down the line from the dugouts out into center field, and then turn for the fence and exit in dead center.

So ... how cool is it to stand in an actual major league center field? Very. What's striking the view. The dome in Tampa has most of the seats between the foul poles, and they seem to go up forever. You feel surrounded, even in center field. And it must take some practice to pick up the ball off the bat on fly balls because of the background. Oh, yeah, those guys are pretty good. Next time, I bring a camera, darn it.

2. We had our own small section, more or less, in the club level at the Bisons' game today. We walked up 10 minutes before the game and bought seats in row A, seats 1 and 2. There were a few others scattered about in section 208. I found myself wondering about a foul ball, since that's pretty prime territory for such events.

Sure enough, a fall came back and bounced off a seat a row behind me and a few seats over. It bounced two rows in front of me, so I slid down and calmly picked up the ball.

Then, since I had thought about what I was going to do in such a case, I strolled over about 12 seats and handed the ball directly to a 5-year-old girl. Got a nice hand from the few that could see me up there, and the girl came over shyly to my seat at the end of inning to thank me.

You take your triumphs where you find them.


John Fraissinet said...

Say around 1965 or so, the crowd used to be allowed to exit Yankee Stadium as you mentioned... walking around the infield and then out to exit in center field. The prime reason was to go visit the monuments which were on the field. It's sad to see the monuments now hidden with their tops just peaking over the fence in the new place.

Kerry Lightenburger said...

The University of Colorado cheerleaders throw out Buff T-shirts during basketball games and it always warms my heart when someone catches one and passes it along to a child. Both my nephew and granddaughter have been such recipients and so good for you, Budd. I would have clapped for you, too!