A Day at the Ballpark

Blowhard, Esq. writes:

field

Went to a Dodger game this weekend for the first time in many years. A few random observations:

  • The most annoying thing was the constant music/sound efx to keep the crowd amped up. There was dance music before the game during batting practice and music clips between every pitch and inning during the game. We were constantly exhorted to clap, cheer, whatever. Every batter had walk-up music. Rihanna, Daft Punk, The Who, Stone Temple Pilots, Marilyn Manson, The Black Keys — JFC, will someone turn off the goddamn radio? And let the dude working the boards know there’s no Oscar for Major League Sound Effects Editing. It’s like sports fans aren’t happy unless they’re in the middle of a Nike ad. Also, I wonder how Beethoven would’ve felt knowing the four note sound of his imminent death is used whenever someone strikes out?
  • Not all fat guys are loudmouths, but why are all loudmouths fat guys? Do the surplus lipids strengthen their vocal cords and compel them to constantly shout stupid shit?
  • Remember Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham? Yeah, those girls were easy to spot in the stands.
  • Vin Scully will never die, right? I’m still not over Chick Hearn‘s passing.
  • As you can see in the picture below, lots o’ Mexicans in sportscrap! I’d say about 80% of the crowd in our section were Hispanic. Everyone from the kiddies to the grandmas were festooned in Dodger logo-emblazoned blue. But isn’t it great how all the races have their own sport? Mexicans have baseball, whites have football, blacks have basketball, and Asians have classical music.
  • I’m pleased to report that every staff member at the park was exceedingly friendly and helpful. Having the corporate brand tarnished when a fan is nearly beaten to death in the parking lot wonderfully concentrates the front office’s mind. Regardless of why, from the security people at the gate, to the concessions workers, the girls at the souvenir stand, the ushers — all seemed genuinely pleased to be there and wanted you to have a good time. When some dude walking up the steps spilled that disgusting nacho cheese everywhere, I went and asked if they could get someone to clean it up. A worker showed up within three minutes. One other thing: I used a restroom during the 5th inning and it was surprisingly clean. Didn’t Dostoevsky say that you can judge a civilization by the cleanliness of its major league ballpark toilets?
  • But what you’re really wondering is how much this all cost. It was $40 for the ticket, which was in the right field pavilion in a special all-you-can-eat section — unlimited hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts and soda. (I had four hot dogs over the course of about 6 hours, a bag of peanuts, and water.) I got a hat for $40. Yeah, that’s right, I bought some sportscrap — fuck you guys, I’m losing my hair so it’s a practical necessity, OK? Finally, parking was $10 and a program was $5, for a grand total of $95. Expensive, but if you cut out the souvenirs that halves the bill.

crowd

When was the last time you went to a major sporting event? (Or minor one, for that matter.) What was your experience like?

About Blowhard, Esq.

Amateur, dilettante, wannabe.
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16 Responses to A Day at the Ballpark

  1. dearieme says:

    “When was the last time you went to a major sporting event?”

    Australia vs New Zealand (rugby union) in ’92 in Brisbane. Experience excellent.

    My first ever was Scotland vs England at quoits.

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  2. Fenster says:

    I went to a Patriots game a year or so back. My experience like yours: I had no idea from TV how the in-stadium program resembles some sort of weird combination of super amplified rock concert and pumped up pep rally. I brought my son, who was then 16 or so. Oddly, or maybe not, he was totally out of place. There were a handful of other younger people there. Basically, the entire crowd was made up of Irish looking guys from eastern Massachusetts, all between 22-40.

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    • No kids at all? Interesting. I’m guessing it’s a combination of 1) dads who wanna get away from the family and 2) families realizing that a large group of 22-40 year-old men pumped up on testosterone and beer ain’t exactly the safest or most pleasant place to be, so might as well stay away.

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  3. Fabrizio del Wrongo says:

    Back when the new Yankee Stadium opened up, I looked into getting tickets for my dad for Father’s Day. The cheap seats ran about $80 a piece! For a stupid baseball game.

    I asked someone what about the new park warranted such a price increase. I was told there were lots of shops and things in the new building. “So, it’s like a big mall with a baseball diamond in the center of it?” I asked. “Pretty much,” said my friend.

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    • Laker games are expensive here too, but b/c demand is so high. I wanna say the cheap seats run about $80 to $100.

      No mall at Dodger Stadium, thankfully. If they could add one, though, I’m sure they would. The cheapest tix here are $25.

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  4. I have a horror of large, loud crowds. So the last time I went to a major-league team sports event was 20 years or so ago … and the only other time was back in the mid-’70s sometime. (I’ve been out to the US Tennis Open a half a dozen times, but it’s a very different experience than heading to a huge team-sports stadium with tens of thousands of other fans. I did go to some college basketball and football games, though.) Baseball games, both of them: Mets in the ’70s, Yankees in the ’90s. I enjoyed myself both times, though not enough to make me want to endure the huge crowds ever again. What I mostly remember about my day with the Yankees was how absolutely HUGE the players were. They were all puffed-up like cartoon or video-game characters, and didn’t seem to have much in common with the players I grew up on: Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, etc. All in all, I’d rather watch a minor-league or school game. Human-scale, baby.

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  5. Callowman says:

    They seriously had an all-you-can-eat section? Were there less Mexicans in the sections where you aren’t committing to stuffing yourself with several pounds of carbs, grease and salt? Those people look surprisingly svelte given where they are.

    I saw the Red Sox at Fenway maybe 7-8 years ago and don’t recall it being quite as overamped musically as you describe the Dodgers game being. There was a big light display that had a visual orgasm any time anything good happened. There was also a radar display that showed the speed of every pitch, which was cool since the Sox were pitching knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, whose stuff floated in in the 60 mph range, and the Twins ran through five different pitchers, including a young fastballer who was occasionally topping 100 mph.

    We had pretty good seats, and they cost about $100 each. Holy crap! Though that may have been because we bought them on short notice. I don’t know what the base price is. I understand they charge separately for doubleheaders now, too.

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  6. chucho says:

    The ever-increasing amount of hoopla and distraction at professional sporting events sends a message that the front office thinks the game itself is boring. Of course, to a fan, the game itself is anything but boring, but fans are not the marginal ticket buyers. The marginal ticket buyer is someone just looking to pass the time.

    I’ve gone to a number of minor-league baseball games in recent years, and I find them to be more satisfying as well as providing better value.

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    • Callowman says:

      Almost all the baseball games I’ve gone to in the past 20 years or so have been in the Cape Cod League. They’re always great, and management doesn’t have to play any bullshit music to convince you of it.

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  7. Days of Broken Arrows says:

    The amped-up atmosphere of the live game extends to the television broadcasts, where it’s not enough to just show a play — it needs to be shown over and over at every angle and speed imaginable. The only way out of this Matrix is listening the games the old-fashioned way: on the radio. Since my (non-cable) TV doesn’t work anymore, this is what I do. It’s like 1980 all over again. Theater of the mind rules, so to speak.

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  8. As far as I can tell, what the major league sports and mainstream pop music businesses are mainly concerned with is making live performances resemble television spectaculars.

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  9. I go to a Phillies game once or twice a year. My overall observation is that while you are correct that the experience has become more synthetic, I think this is an attempt to make the experience less proletarian.

    My experience could be an outlier, though: The Phillies got a new stadium a decade or so ago. The old Philadelphia Veteran’s Stadium was a dual-use monstrosity that definitely became archaic before it was 15 years old. But one of its charms was *because* it was such an eyesore and a dump the crowds tended to be *very* blue-collar. Nostalgie de la boue– a sentiment that is not all bad, in my opinion– was part of the whole point.

    Now the experience is nicer in some ways. And the newer Citizen’s Bank Park is definitely better at its primary and secondary missions– to make money, and display baseball played to in-person fans– but the experience, now, is also antiseptic, overly managed, and expensive.

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  10. Pingback: New York Baseball, Part 1: Yankee Stadium | Uncouth Reflections

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