Yesterday I went to one of the nicest ballparks in Birmingham, Alabama – gorgeous and very unique! I loved all the site lines and how industrial it was. I personally think it will be even better when it ages and things get a little rusty. The design is not symmetrical, which adds so much. The ballpark is a great place to come for an afternoon to watch a game, or just spend time hangin’ out while baseball is being played. Where I’m sitting right now is a total ‘contrast’ experience. I am writing this post at the Huntsville Stars Stadium. This stadium is old and has absolutely no personality with the decay of age and little love. The season will be the last for The Stars at this facility as they are moving to Biloxi next year. Looking at this dilapidated stadium, probably should have moved three or four years ago. The playing surface is even in terrible shape! This is the Milwaukee Brewers Double-A team and facility. I have to say I am glad to have this experience and I am sure I will see more “out of date past it’s prime stadiums as the summer progresses. And seeing this site, only proves I have been spoiled so far!
I do want to relate a story about the game yesterday in Birmingham. I have been getting baseballs luckily from all the leagues where I have seen games (California, Pacific Coast, MLB, NCAA, Southern, etc.). I thought it would be fun to get one for a nice collection of things I have gotten on this trip; however, I didn’t want to go after a ball a kid would get. I didn’t want to be “that guy”. Even though, I know most adults still get a excited to catch a foul and/or home run ball (mostly males with too much testosterone). I didn’t want to have to run after the balls. But it’s “that feeling” of joy, the little kid in us still desires this. For whatever reason, it is what it is.
Yesterday I was a little bored with the game and started thinking, I needed a “Southern” League baseball. There wasn’t a lot of fans in the stands so you could position yourself in certain areas where you have a better chance to get one. Kids know this, also. I positioned myself a little ways away from them so I could actually go after a ball without running if need be. A couple of home runs were hit to left field where I was sitting. I saw the kids, or teenagers, who got the balls. I was walking after one when one teenager sprinted past me to get it. The other I had no chance to get, and the third coming into “our” area was claimed by yet another teenager. About the 7th inning I was sitting and checking my Facebook. I heard the crack of the bat, when I looked up I knew it was a monster shot, the two teenagers who had already gotten balls didn’t realize it was gone. I started quickly walking to where it was going to land. I had flip flops on and had my “man bag” strapped over my shoulder. I was moving quickly, the kids realized it was gone and started to move, also. I started to trot, I knew I was going to have to ditch the flip flops, but that would look bad. The “man bag” was going to hold me back, also. The ball landed and bounced to where I could get it if I acted quickly. The kids knew I had the angle and desire for the ball. They started to sprint, I kicked off the flip flops, started to run, they were gaining on me. There was a 3 foot concrete wall we were going to have to hop over. I tossed the “man bag” and hurdled the wall in an all out sprint. The kids were on top of me as we approached the ball. They realized it was mine and put on the brakes just as I was scooping up the ball. I triumphantly raised my arms in victory! It was at that exact moment I realized how much fun that was, but not without being embarrassed for acting like such a kid.
One of the kids hung his head dejectedly, hoping I would give “my ball” to him. I said, “You already got one” He looked at me and said he wanted two. I scoffed and thought, “not a chance kid, not a chance”. I walked to my seat and two older ladies, who were sitting by me, commented on how much they enjoyed watching me go after that ball. “Especially when you tossed the bag, your shoes and how smoothly you went over the wall.” I believe I heard, “Gazelle-like”. They chimed, “Those kids never had a chance”. I could only laugh at myself. I really beat myself up over acting like a teenager but I will tell you it felt great getting the ball! Going forward I will act more “adult-like”. Even though, inside I will be struggling to hold “the little kid in me” back.
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