This past week I went to the San Francisco area for a wedding and a buddy of mine came up with some Oakland A’s tickets. I have never attended a Major League baseball game for several reasons: (1) I grew up in the country, a minimum five hour drive away from the closest team; (2) I currently live in a city without an MLB team; and, (3) as I have stated before I am not much of a baseball fan. However, I am a huge sports fan and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see my first MLB game and catch up with an old college roommate and his wife (also a college friend). I had a good time and this is my story about losing my MLB virginity after 27 years on this earth.
For a first game, I couldn’t have really asked for much more. The Oakland Athletics were hosting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of the State of California in the United States of America (seriously, listening to the announcer introduce the team took thirty minutes). Not a marquee match-up but an ok one. There were seven homers and the A’s won in the bottom of the ninth with two outs on a Frank Thomas walk-off homerun. The game was close throughout and it was an exciting ending.
I had a good seat, only 16 rows up from first base, in prime foul ball territory. A few balls came close but none within reach. It was funny, however, to watch grown men fight over the balls and then get booed when they couldn’t catch a weak pop-up. Being fairly close to the action it was impressive to see how big the Big Hurt really is—he just towered over everybody out there—as well as Vlad Guerrero. Those guys are immense! Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me and my buddy’s camera died while we were there.
Probably the funniest moment came in the eighth inning. One guy seated about four rows in front of us and a little to the right had been razzing the players and being somewhat obnoxious for the whole game. Then in the eighth he started to go up the steps to the walkway but he didn’t quite make it. On the last step he hunched over and lost his dinner on the steps and the crowd serenaded him to a nice chant of “Let’s go puker!!! Let’s go puker!!!,” while some random guy took some action photos of said puker. Priceless. After he finished his business, stadium security had to help him stagger up the stairs.
After attending my first MLB game I have a few observations. First, it is much more difficult to follow a baseball game at the ballpark than on the TV. There are tons of distractions like pukers or conversations with your friends, and you don’t get the best views of the plays. Second, somebody needs to help some of these ballplayers with the headshots shown on the big screens. Many look like mugshots and others are just plain goofy (see right). Third, the A’s stadium is absolutely boring. The stadium wasn’t full (although it was a Thursday night) even after the upper deck had been closed off. I would like to go to one of the new parks and see if the experience is better. Overall, good experience, probably better the more you drink unless you get serenaded to “Let’s go puker,” expensive, and I wouldn’t mind doing it again.