Last night, I had the privilege of watching a baseball game played to near-perfection. The final score was 1-0. One of the pitchers took a no-no into the sixth inning before having it broken up on a wall-ball double that ended up scoring the only run of the game. There were no errors, only a past ball, and there was sacrifice bunting, small ball, and a couple of web gems. In the ninth inning, the tying and go-ahead runs were on with the closer in. The game was played in a little under two and half hours because the batters weren't stepping of the box every ten seconds to dick with their batting gloves, and the pitchers weren't knitting sweaters between each pitch.
In short, it was a dream game to watch, and I didn't have pay $200 for tickets and another $40 for parking, and $8 for a "bend me over" Bud Light like I would have at Fenway Park. Instead, my wife and I took our son to a New Hampshire Fisher Cats AA game against the Altoona Curve---and, yes, I admit, I had to look up where the hell Altoona was located (it's in Pennsylvania, in case you're curious)---and for $30 we bought seats a row behind the third base dugout, where we could almost see the seams spinning on the pitches.
And when we got home---no traffic coming out of the game---The Red Sox were still playing the pathetic Padres, and it was still in the sixth inning. The games, by the way, started at roughly the same time. The Red Sox lost, which was completely unacceptable, but, all in all, I had a good baseball night.
Listen, despite my posturing on this blog as an obnoxious Red Sox fan, I am, first and foremost, a fan of the game. Unlike most of the Pink Hats in the box seats posing as the "Fenway Faithful" in their brand new Bruins t-shirts, I stay off my cell phone when I'm watching live baseball and actually watch the game. While I realize I'm at risk of sounding sanctimonious here, I find very few things in life as satisfying as being in the stands for a well-played baseball game. For me, it's right up there with an ice cold beer on a hot summer day, an afternoon nap, and the moment I experience when something I've been writing clicks and comes together.
While the Red Sox start and three minutes, and I have every plan of parking my ass on the couch to assure they don't lose a series to fucking San Diego before going on a nine game NL road trip, it's reassuring to know that instead of taking out a second mortgage to bring my family to Fenway, any time I have a hankering for live baseball, I can drive five-minutes and catch The Fisher Cats.
As someone perpetually on the slow end of the learning curve, I've finally discovered this little AA gem that the middle-class baseball fan in New England can enjoy.