Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fancy baseball

Baseball has always been a consistent part of my summer life. Growing up, my family spent a lot of time in Detroit in the summers and we went to lots of Detroit Tigers games. Tiger Stadium was amazing and I have fond memories of sitting in the bleachers with my brother, cousins, aunts and uncles, and my parents. We'd eat hotdogs, my brother would keep score, and we'd do the chicken dance over and over again. I don't remember the players but I do remember Sparky Anderson and getting to stay up late for night games.

This is what Tiger Stadium looks like today:

Depressing isn't it? Tiger Stadium is gone, replaced by Comerica Park. Comerica Park is lovely but I've never felt particularly good about going to games there. Something is missing, or rather something has taken over baseball and it throws me off.

Baseball has become fancy. 

Baseball is not a fancy sport. I know there's science to pitching and stats and all but ultimately, it's a fairly straightforward game that doesn't require lots of equipment or a special field. Kids play baseball anywhere and everywhere and works out just fine. We just don't seem to be happy with the basics anymore so baseball has gotten fancy. Every new stadium has to do things bigger and better with more food options, full bars, microbrews, and photo opp areas that put Disney World to shame. Don't get me wrong - I love Camden Yards (it's one of the most beautiful stadiums I've ever been too) and I think AT&T Park (home of the Giants) is amazing but I worry about the fanciness of baseball. First letter writing went online, now baseball is fancy. What's next?

Erin, Scott, and David
A few months back I wrote about all the things I wanted to do before I moved back to Virginia. Last night I marked another of these items off my list - I went to my first San Francisco Giants game. My co-workers planned the evening as a going away party and office fun activity. AT&T Park is amazing (the name annoys me but whatever) and we had a great night at the park. AT&T Park is ridiculously fancy and very San Francisco. It definitely belongs in the city and Giants fans love it.
Katrien rocks a ridiculous hat
Several things struck me last night as we watched the Giants beat the Astros:
  • It's July and it's 50 ish degrees outside. This is crazy.
  • People will buy anything. Seriously, anything.
  • BART isn't terrible. I was bummed about the ferry but BART was alright. I wouldn't want to take it every day but it was fine for last night.
  • Watching Pablo Sandoval plow into the catcher as he slide home last night was awesome. And it made me giggle because his nickname is Kung Fu Panda (hence the Panda hats)
  • Fancy baseball is addictive.
Fancy nachos
I can mourn the loss of a simpler time at the ballpark all I want but the fact is that people want fancy when they go to events. They want to enjoy themselves and they want to eat and drink good things and feel like they're not getting ripped off when doing so. Baseball fare is expensive so I understand offering better and fancier things - that's what pays the bills. I just don't deal well with so many options. It's overwhelming and what if you choose the wrong thing? There goes $12 (or more if you're the family that always sits in front of my at games and eats and eats and eats and eats some more). I could ignore the fancy when I go to games but I don't. I like fancy nachos and Ghirardelli hot chocolate on a cold night. It just makes sense when you're watching fancy baseball. 

Mobile hot chocolate vendor - for real.
Next week, my brother and I are going to an Oakland A's game (against the Yankees). I wonder how fancy A's baseball will be?

More fun from my night! 

I look drunk (and I only had an adult beverage). But the hat is awesome. 


  1. How fancy will the A's game be? Not at all...

  2. Then I will probably love it and then complain that there's no hot chocolate vendor walking around!