For the Love of the Game
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By etrigan - Last updated: Saturday, August 16, 2003 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

??Saturday night’s all right for fightin’?? is what I hear 9-10 times every summer. For the last four years I have bought a pair of tickets to every Saturday night game at the “home park”:http://www.roundrockexpress.com and while I sit here tonight I would like to reminesce about why it’s still America’s favorite pasttime and mine. (Thank you, God, for “t-Mobile”:http://www.tmobile.com, the “Sidekick”:http://www.danger.com, and a minor league park on the fringes of a high tech town.)


h4. Just the right pace

Baseball fits summer like a well-worn glove. It’s a tad warm in the stands which lends the right atmosphere to spending most of the game leaning back in my seat chatting with friends and nursing an “MGD”:http://www.millertime.com/mgd.jsp or four. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some football and in a few weeks I will be living it up a few stories above “Joe Jamail field”:http://www.mackbrown-texasfootball.com/pages/superstadium.html watching the ‘Horns running, but baseball is perfect for summer.

Sidenote: I didn’t really like sports as a kid until I started drinking and found the joy of a few tall beers during a long game. (Thank you, God, for Louisiana’s former 18 year old drinking age and the “Shreveport Captains”:http://www.geocities.com/meg_minard/shreveportcaptains.html — may they “rest in peace”:http://www.shreveporttimes.com/html/211294F8-A634-4664-8892-6BAACCDBDC74.shtml.)

h4. Bad team, good game, better fans

Even though the Express are “13 games back”:http://www.roundrockexpress.com/standings/league.txt this late in the season and have had a bad year, they always put up an exciting game. Tonight’s three run homer in the 2nd inning and a home run in the fourth (that put a $625 Old Navy gift certificate in a lucky fan’s pocket) were awesome, and the three foul balls that landed in my section were fun. Best of all, the Express are in line to once more place first in attendance for the Texas League, despite thier probable last place season, and when the hat passes after a homer it is always full before it gets to the top row.

h4. Players who love the game

Which leads to my favorite part of sports. I have never cared for the pros. They are generally a bunch of overpaid prima donnas that phone-in their performance every game, and let’s face it: sports are simply a great form of improv. (Put on a costume and get on stage to perform to the best of your ability within the limits of the improvisational rules.) The men who play minor league ball (and at the college level) are in it because they can’t imagine doing anything else. Most of them barely make a living and the bonus cash from home run collections runs second place to the thrill of seeing that ball clear the fence.

Sidenote: Are all sports owners idiots? The Ryan family and associated owners of the Dell Diamond (home of the Express), seeing the “overwhelming attendance”:http://www.dailytexanonline.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/07/18/3f1797e5eebbd and fan commitment, are considering “replacing this AA team with a AAA team”:http://www.tribnet.com/sports/baseball/story/3049205p-3072690c.html. Why are they screwing with this minor league phenom? Greed can be the only answer.

h4. Dancing and singing

Where else can you got 10,000 people to stand up twice during a 3-4 hour period to sing and dance (or sway) in unison. I love “The Chicken Dance”:http://www.funpages.com/chickendance.htm and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”:http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/ballgame.htm.

h4. Bonus: The “Zooperstars”:http://www.zooperstars.com

A couple times a year we get a visit from a team of performance artists who wear blow-up “animal”:http://www.zooperstars.com/Characters/default.htm#/# costumes with names like Ichiroach Suzuki, Roger Clamens and Harry Canary. They dance around the field harrasing umpires, eating batboys and cracking up the crowd. Great fun!

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