Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Take me out to the Ball Game"

Spring is here and that means summer is right around the corner. And summer means one thing to me, BASEBALL. Oh yes, it is that time of year again; grab your hat and glove and follow me out to the ballpark. Our nation's pastime returns in all of its hotdog eating, record chasing, and steroid popping glory. So, I take this time to reflect a little of what I love about baseball and what the sport means to me. 

To fully grasp the remarkable nature of the sport, go to a game. The beautiful Nationals Park is an easy metro ride away from campus (located at the Navy Yard station on the green line) and tickets can be purchased for as little as $5. It is a great way to take a break from the usual drudge of GW life and take in an evening with some friends. The Nationals are on their first home-stretch of the season and have 15 games in D.C. before the end of the semester. The Nationals will be hosting the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies from April 13-16 for a three game series and tickets are still available.

And if you are a real baseball fan, take advantage of being in DC and go see games in the nearby city. Go to Philly and see Citizen Bank Park, head up to the Bronx and Queens and see the newly minted Yankee Stadium and Citi Field (click here for a little preview of "Bailout" Field), or even take the long trip up to Boston and attempt to find a ticket to a Red Sox game. However, for my favorite stadium, you don't need to travel more than an hour out of D.C. A night game at Camden Yards in Baltimore might be one of the best things to do on a summer night. Although the Orioles are pretty bad, I love the atmosphere and camaraderie of the ball park. 

I also want to say one thing about the new Yankee Stadium. I was in New York this past weekend visiting family friends, and I took the 4 from SoHo up to the Bronx to the 161 Street - Yankee Stadium Station. I hate the Yankees. I hate everything the franchise stands for and every last one of their fans. Yet, I have the utmost respect for the old Yankee stadium and the players who walked that field. I have only been to one Yankee game in my life. It was the summer of 2006 and I saw a midweek day game between the Yankees and the Indians. It was an insubstantial game, I don't even remember if the Yankees won or lost. But the point is that I am grateful that I can say I was there. As much as I hate the Yankees, you have to respect what Yankee stadium is. You have to respect the men who stood at that plate and wore those pinstripes. The men like Ruth, Maris, Mantle, Gehrig and DiMaggio (to name a few). Even the most staunch Yankee hating fan can admit this. An old friend of mine put it beautifully.
"If you're a real baseball fan, then it's kind of ignorant not to admit that. There was a lot of history to go through that place. Especially between 1923 and the mid-60's. Its after that when Steinbrenner started buying teams that I have real despise for the franchise. I have nothing but respect for the old greats."
I caught a glimpse of the old stadium, the grass turing brown and the seats being pulled out. Its sad to see history torn down. 
Overall, make sure you get out to the ball park sometime soon. Hopefully, I'll see you there. 

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