“Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack; I don’t care if I ever get back.”
If you have heard those lyrics before, you have probably been to a few baseball games.
I grew up on baseball. In fact, I’ve played the sport, watched it and even performed the national anthem for the York Revolution, one of Pennsylvania’s minor league baseball teams. But out of all my baseball experiences, two memories in particular come to the forefront of my mind.
When I was young, my coach happened to also be my dad. He and I played catch in the street, practiced at the local park, and eventually we spent years together in a county baseball league. All of this led up to the first of my two most precious memories.
One particular season my team made playoffs as a low-seeded underdog, but we were able to get past a couple of talented opponents to the championship game. The team we were set to play had handed us an embarrassing defeat earlier in the season.
We were not about to let that happen again.
We upset our rival by two runs, and I had the experience of being the winning pitcher of the only championship game I ever played in.
I also spent much of my childhood at minor league and major league ballparks with friends and family.
My second fond baseball memory came last summer. Before the beginning of my senior year at BJU, my dad and I drove to Baltimore and bought tickets to see the Orioles play the Yankees.
We spent much of the game watching our O’s struggle. In the bottom of the eighth inning with the score tied 2-2, Adam Jones, one of my favorite players, hit a three-run homerun that won the game.
The place was going absolutely crazy, and my dad and I were ecstatic. Plays like that energize an entire stadium, and it’s that energy and excitement that unite fans of all ages.
Baseball brings people together. There is just something special about being at the ballpark. The smell of freshly cut grass, the taste of salty peanuts and the sound of thousands of fans going crazy when their team hits a homerun; that’s an experience unlike any other. It’s why people who don’t even like sports can enjoy a game together.
Baseball is also a little more of a laid-back sport, so it makes for some good fellowship whether you’re touring new ballparks or just sitting in the stands having fun with friends. If you have ever been to a baseball game, you know exactly what I mean, and if you haven’t, this summer could be your opportunity to experience something new. Even if it’s something you do only once, it’s an experience that is too good to pass up.
For me, I look forward to spending many years with my future family introducing them to America’s favorite pastime.