Now as most of you know by now, I’m a diehard Detroit sports fan through and through, but sometimes you just need to trade in watching a game on TV and actually BE there for the action. Seeing as how I live fairly close to the heart of “Braves Country," I figured Wednesday afternoon was as good a time as any to go catch the Braves in action.
I’m definitely not sorry that I cheated on my Tigers and the American League to go catch some National League action as Atlanta was just finishing up a series against the Pirates.
There is something about actually being there that makes the price of the tickets, the exorbitant food and drink costs, and the nightmarish traffic all worth it.
Baseball on TV isn’t the same as baseball watched in the stadium.
There is just something about being there that makes you truly appreciate the sport on another level.
To be one of the thousands of fans taking in a game is a fantastic thing. At least, to me it is.
For those few hours you are immersed in the action and excitement of the game, and are surrounded by a multitude of your comrades. For those few hours, you’re a part of something bigger than yourself — you’re amongst your sports fandom family.
Because of the timing of the game I wound up going all by my lonesome. In other situations the thought of going out somewhere alone can seem highly lame. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t try my hardest to find someone with a work schedule that allowed them to join me at the 12 o’clock game.
The moment I made it to the parking lot though, I found myself integrating into the Braves “family,” and that feeling of being all alone faded the moment the I locked my car.
Nothing can bring people together like a beautiful day out at a baseball game.
As I made the trek into the stadium I instantly began comparing Turner Field to Comerica Park, but besides a few minor things, I came to realize that the feelings and emotions were all the same.
I’m not a huge Braves fan by any means, but the sheer excitement of getting to take in a major league ballgame took over and soon I fit right in!
Not trying to sound too sappy here, but there is just something about being there in person that gives me goosebumps.
I truly love everything about being at a ballpark — the smells, the sights, the antics of the fans, the announcer’s voice booming over the sound system, it almost feels like coming home to me.
Often at times I find my attention drifting from the game and instead turning to my fellow attendees. There is no better place to people watch than at a sporting event.
I’ve also learned that those of us in the sports fandom family might vary by location, but the dedication level and the types of people in attendance are always the same.
There are the large groups sitting in the nosebleed section taking every chance they can to get a wave going. There’s the stereotypical shirtless fat man, often sporting body paint, that takes any opportunity to jump up and make his Buddha belly jiggle for some hopefully good luck.
The know-it-alls, oh those lovely folks who believe that they are their team’s walking encyclopedia.
There’s the families; the dads taking their son or daughter to their first ballgame, the moms who are just there because they know that Daddy will possibly get too distracted by the game and lose sight of their little chickadees, or the families that are just happy to be all together decked out in their favorite team’s apparel.
Then you have those girls who are decked out to the nines with the hope of catching someone’s eye and soon learn that those 5-inch heels probably weren’t the best choice to wear.
There’s the drunks, both fun and annoying, the college kids, and the visiting team fans who always manage to come out of the woodwork whenever their team is in town.
Let’s not forget the old-timers, who have been going to the games since baseball was in its infancy, and yes, I realize that is a bit of an exaggeration! Oh those old-timers and their stories ... if you get the chance, be sure to set aside a few moments just to sit and chat with them. I promise you, the stories are usually quite legendary!
Despite all of our differences, just being there unites us all for those few hours.
Some of the best moments at the ballpark come from those connections you make with perfect strangers. You will most likely never see them again, but for that brief period of time you were able to connect with some folks that you would normally never get a chance to meet.
Let’s face it though, when you are at a ballgame you want the majority of your moments to be made by your team!
Wednesday afternoon’s game proved to be a good one. Up until 7 2/3 innings into the game Julio Teheran was running a no-hitter, at least until pinch hitter (and former useless Tiger) Brandon Inge’s hit to left field ruined the potential history-making moment.
I got to witness Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird (the latter being another former and somewhat useless Tiger) hit back to back solo home runs!
I ate severely overpriced, yet delicious pizza and got myself a drink in a souvenir cup. I mingled with those around me. I was in the second row right next to the visiting team’s dugout, which was the closest to the field I have ever sat at a major league game. Yes, I did get quite a few awesome pictures!
I cheered, I jumped out of my seat, and I left with a bit of a sunburn.
Overall, I would consider my day at Turner Field to be quite a success!
Not only did the Braves end up beating the Pirates by a score of 5-0, but I was finally able to be back amongst what I’ve always in a way considered my very extended family.
While I may be far away from home and often at times finding myself feeling a tad bit homesick, Wednesday afternoon I was back in the familiar, and home didn’t seem quite so far away.