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Baseball Sadness

The New York Mets have dropped four in a row. I was just starting to get excited for them again, but it has been hard since last year's massive tumble.

I still think baseball is the greatest sport, but my one time undying love is now waning. I tried to get tickets to see the Yankees or the Mets during September, and was blown away by the ticket prices. Both teams are getting new stadiums this year. Because of that, many people are making the voyage to see them one more time in their original stadium.

Baseball used to be a sport where you could go at a moment's notice and still get tickets. Furthermore, you could get nosebleed seats for a couple of bucks and really good seats for $15. It used to be the only sport you could to which you could afford to take your family, and now that's even unrealistic more than a few times a year at best.

I still love baseball, but I'm leaning more toward the minor leagues. Minor league baseball is still a personal game. When I was a kid I always looked forward to the day when I would take my son to games. Thank goodness for farm teams, or it wouldn't be a realistic expectation today. The value you get for the price of a MLB ticket, food, parking and gas isn't there any longer.

Dad and I used to go to Pittsburgh and watch the Pirates play in Three Rivers Stadium. We didn't make a big event out of it. It was usually last-minute, even though Pittsburgh was a 2-hour drive. We never bought food, because hot dogs were only a dollar. Dad would get a beer, and I'd have a sip. We would sit for almost 3 hours in relative silence, but yet feel bonded. Sometimes we would wait around outside the stadium after the game and I would try to get autographs of the visiting team. The Pirates always took their personal cars home, but the visiting team came out together and got on a bus.

Over the years I got to meet Daryl Strawberry, Pete Rose and dozens of other players who had much less time in the spotlight. I collected baseball cards and knew most of the players by sight.

It's different now. Everything is more expensive, and the game is less personal. You even hear it in the announcer's voice. Players used to play for one team for their entire careers, and you were as much a fan of individuals as you were of your team.

I'm sad because even if I get to share a little baseball with my son, it will never be the same experience that I once had.


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