“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.”

Unless they are all part of a vast conspiracy, the weather people are in agreement that today is it for this heat wave. Starting tomorrow, we can leave our caves and go outside to see the world. We can stop thinking we are all extras in an end of the world movie.

I remember the old days when you could buy the best seats in Fenway Park on game day. As kids, we took a bus and then the subway to Fenway to sit in the cheap bleacher seats for a Saturday afternoon game. In those days, there were a lot of afternoon games. My first night game was when I was 13 or 14. I’ll never forget how beautiful Fenway Park looked under the lights. The grass didn’t even look real. When I was in college, I went to many early season games, before college ended for the year and I had to go back home to the cape. Most of the games I saw were in May. My friend, who always got free tickets from his father, used to bring a picnic lunch his mother had packed for us. There were sandwiches, sweet and sour cucumbers, sliced carrots and always cookies for dessert. We had great seats every game: close to the field and to the Red Sox dugout. The park back then was never full or even half full. The Red Sox were not a big draw. They seldom ranked high in the standings, fourth was a good year, but I didn’t care. I loved baseball, and the Red Sox were my team.

It is really true that hot dogs taste better at ball parks. “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks,”  is still true for peanuts in the shell. I love the odd shapes of those shells, and how if you’re lucky you might just find one with three peanuts. The key, though, is cracking them without losing a peanut. As for other ball park food, I’m also partial to sausages with fried peppers and onions in a roll. As for drinking, I’m not a beer drinker which is probably sacrilege at the park, but a diet Coke works just fine for me.

Most years I take in a game or two. This year I haven’t been to one yet. I feel deprived. I’m thinking sometime in September when the weather is perfect for baseball. Go Red Sox! Hang in there. I’m coming!!

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15 Comments on ““Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    And all of what you remember is why I love going to Lowell Spinners games.

    I haven’t been to a Red Sox game since sometime in the 70’s. It was barely possible then. I remember the first Red Sox game I ever went to was a night game. It went 18 innings. I guess I got my money’s worth. 😀

    I have been outside to the Farmer’s Market at the lake. It was nasty. Now there’s a heavy cloud cover so it’s cooler but still as humid.
    I’m inside, with AC and a fan, drinking iced coffee and searching the web for recipes for water spinach, kohlrabi and pea shoots. Golden beets I can handle on my own. 🙂

    Stay cool!

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      If I still lived up there, I’d go to the Spinners’ games. Last year I managed to get the Jack Kerouac bobble heads they were giving out-I love it. Minor league ball is so much fun.

      I love Fenway. It is just about the best major league park to watch baseball. It’s as if you’re right on the field. For my 60th birthday, my sister flew out here from Colorado and she and my other sister took me to dinner and to a game at Fenway for my birthday. They figured I’d like it better than a party. They were right.

      I went to the farmer’s market as well today, but there was a great breeze, and I was lucky enough to find a parking spot right beside it. I bought a few things.

      It’s no cooler here. The sun is still bright and hot so I too am inside getting ready to watch the Sox and the Yanks.

      Have a great evening and stay cool!!

  2. Bob Says:

    Baseball at Fenway is a totally different experience than watching the game anywhere else. There are only two early 20th. Century ball parks left, Fenway and Wrigley Field. A Cubs game at Wrigley Field is on my bucket list. I have only attended one game at Fenway and it was an experience I will never forget. It’s been almost 20 years ago but the ambiance of the venue and the taste of a Fenway Frank still linger in my memory. Somehow a three foot long nacho, chile hot dog offered at the Ballpark In Arlington for twenty dollars and the playing of The Cotton Eyed on the giant scoreboard video screen just isn’t the same as a Fenway Frank and the green monster. All the new ball parks are neoclassic designed to look like baseball of the past but made in a formula that only resembles the history and glory of the game.

    Baseball doesn’t seem to resonate anywhere outside of the Americas. I still haven’t figured out Japan’s love of our former national pastime. I still consider Baseball our national pastime but most pundits think NFL Football has taken over from Baseball. Our friends around the globe are crazy about Futbol which doesn’t do anything for me. Until the rest of the world understands baseball, I don’t think they will ever understand the greatness of our country nor understand why our democratic republic works.

    Baseball has a pace that’s outside of the clock. The game can’t end in a tie and doesn’t need a shoot out to make it more interesting than kissing your sister. The game is a wonderful mixture of individual talents, team play, luck and lots of strategy even in the American League with the designated hitter rule. I can spend a leisurely afternoon in the bleachers without having to intently watch the action while having a wonderful conversation on the statistics of each player with a fellow fan whom I have never met before. The game flows and ebbs without quarters or halftime breaks. No one would ever think of taking their sack lunch to a Soccer game or an NFL game. I have to buy a big bag of peanuts to go with my beer and the sandwich I brought from home. A picnic lunch with pickles and a big cup of beer or soda in the bleachers on a Sunday afternoon is heavenly. Too bad I can only afford this treat once or twice a year.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      At Fenway you’re just about sitting on the field. I remember when Sports Illustrated listed the best seats in baseball, and number one was the Green Monster seats. They have added seats at Fenway without ruining the ambience of a 101 year old park.

      I don’t get the connection between understanding baseball, the greatness of our country and a democratic republic.

      Soccer is king in most countries and in some parts of the US. My nephew had a full boat to play soccer at Division 1 Oregon State. He had been playing since he was five.

      From everything I’ve read, US kids prefer to hone their football skills as baseball doesn’t pay nearly as much. There are even funds to reintroduce baseball to kids in cities.

      Baseball can be so slow. The best games, pitcher’s duels, are the worst to watch. The worst pitched games with balls flying out of the park and everywhere else are more fun to watch. The Sox are notorious for the longest games in baseball. That has to do with the way they get the pitch count so high.

      People tailgate at football games which is probably why they don’t bring a lunch. It is quite a tradition almost everywhere in the NFL.

      I’m with you eating those peanuts. You can have the beer.

      • Bob Says:

        My reference to baseball and our system is easily understood. Baseball is a non contact sport. We may have our differences but we don’t resort to violence to win. Instead we use sneaky methods such as stealing the other guy’s signs. Baseball doesn’t have a clock so games can take forever. It takes our government forever to institute any change and then like the game itself it’s usually an incremental change, think filibuster. Three strikes and your out. We are a country of second chances, sometimes even more, especially if you can afford good legal counsel. Politicians are like base runners, they can all steal as long as they don’t get caught off base 🙂

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        I’m thinking some of that fits and some of that is a bit of a stretch!

  3. Coleen Burnett Says:

    I always tell people my world stops for two things – – any baseball game, and any Springsteen concert…

    I have been to Fenway and yes, it is a spiritual experience. Got there early and watched Yaz take BP, then watched Carney Lansford sign autographs. That’s how long ago it was…

    Had my first visit to Citi Field via a friend earlier this year. It was a blast. Got a Ron Darling bobblehead, and my seat was near the radio/TV booth so I could actually watch Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen call the game on TV. I am all about media, so this was a highlight

    Funny you should mention peanuts…you are allowed to bring in food and drink, but my budget is small and I was at a loss as to what to bring. I finally settled on 2 PB and J sandwiches, and a HUGE bag of roasted peanuts. I love to eat them out of the shell, but you have to be careful or you can make a big mess. I must confess I will eat them in front of the TV as I watch the games.

    Being as I was in my baseball cathedral, most of the shells went into a plastic bag for neatness…but some, as the song goes from the Band Who Will Not Be Named, went “…blowing in the wind…”

    I’ll wave tomorrow…it’s supposed to be cooler…

    Coleen

    • katry Says:

      Coleen,
      I sit here by myself most nights and watch the Sox. I yell, applaud and curse on occasion.

      Now you can go early and het Petroia’s signature. He says he remembers being a kid and getting a signature and how much it meant to him so he gives the memory to other kids.

      I haven’t been to many other parks. I was in Cleveland a few years at a game on a night that was so cold I expected snow. I also went out to Colorado to watch the Sox play the Rockies, and that’s about it for other fields.

      I always have a hot dog. It’s a ritual of mine. I never mind making a peanut shell mess. I would never have thought of a plastic bag.

      I’ll wave from the coolness of my house and I can only hope tomorrow is as cool as they claim!!

  4. Bill S. Says:

    Just got out of the pool. We’re expecting storms with rain, but nothing in sight yet.

    You’re right–baseball can be as exciting as watching golf–sometimes. The batter has to adjust his gloves after every pitch, even if he didn’t swing at it. Adjust the helmet three times, do certain body adjustments–it’s like watching a chiropractor at work. The relievers work 15 minutes a game and collect millions. Where can I get a job like that?

    For all my complaining, I still watch. It’s like a traffic accident–I know I should turn away, but I just can’t.

    Less than 2 months to our Ghana trip–aren’t you jealous?

    • katry Says:

      Bill,
      I am totally jealous. I should answer all those e-mails from Nigeria so I can afford it!

      All those batting rituals drive me crazy. The worst is David Ortiz spitting on his glove. I wouldn’t mind if they did it once but before every pitch is beyond the pale.

      I’m watching the game now-it was in rain delay for a while.

  5. Joe Penkrot Says:

    Thomas Boswell, a Washington Post sports columnist, titled one of his books Why Time Begins On Opening Day. And I couldn’t agree more. For your baseball song collections, you might want to add Ben Gibbard’s Ichiro Theme, “Go Go Ichiro” to your list. Fun song https://soundcloud.com/gibbstack/ichiros-theme

    • katry Says:

      Joe,
      Though I am not a Yankees fan, this is really catchy. I’m not sure I can’t go as far as to say Ichiro we love you, but I respect his talent and like to watch him play.

      Thanks!

      • Joe Penkrot Says:

        Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie) is from the Seattle area and this paean was written to celebrate Ichiro’s days as a Seattle Mariner. (I’m not a Yankee fan either, but appreciate the elan and grace that Ichiro brings.)

  6. sprite Says:

    I think a baseball park at twilight, just as the sun is setting and the lights are coming on, has to be one of the most magical times.

    I have been to Fenway only for one game and it was a scorcher of a July day, with temperatures in the upper 90s. The concessions ran out of water in the early innings, and I resorted to watching the game on a tv inside the stadium. It was brutal.

    Nationals Park is nice enough. They have no vegetarian hot dogs and often run out of veggie burgers, but they have a kosher stand that sells knishes and falafal on non-Sabbath days and this year added a second falafal stand that’s open every day. I like Cracker Jack at some games (particularly day games) and peanuts, too, and cotton candy, but only the pink kind.

    • katry Says:

      sprite,
      You are so right, and I love your description in that first paragraph.

      Now they have fan misters all around where the concession stands are and water is plentiful, but it can still get brutally hot and in the early part of the season brutally cold. I would never buy a bleacher seat this time of year. I’d get cooked.

      I love having peanuts, a hot dog and I’d buy falafel if they had it. The Sox have improved their food immensely in the last couple of years. You can even get really good clam chowder (on those cold days!).


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