I would hate to try to out-do Lou Gehrig, but for the past seven days I have felt like the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Then again, at times I thought I would need someone to pinch me. I had my moments when I felt like I was dreaming, and that I was beyond this earth.
I just went to three baseball games in the past seven days. The only word I can think of to describe the total experience: incredible.
Both games were full of action. Friday, I witnessed Josh Anderson getting plunked on the elbow, two wicked shattered bats, Joel Zumaya lacerating his finger, and an All-Star named Jackson getting a victory.
Saturday I saw another good pitching performance, this time from the opposite dugout in the form of Carl Pavano. Miguel Cabrera tried to fuel some late inning heroics with a home run, but the Tigers fell just short.
Despite that, it was a great weekend. It felt good to get back out to the ballpark, an experience I do not get to enjoy often.
I come from a middle class family, one that never had much in the way of disposable income. Watching baseball has always been a past time reserved for quality time in front of the television.
I'm 23 years old now. Over the past few years, I have been fortunate enough to earn a few dollars to take to the ballpark. Ordinarily, I earn those dollars the hard way, through a hard day's work, sweating my way to the end of the day. It is the American way.
Because of my upbringing, I sometimes find it hard to part with my dollars to go to a sporting event that I could simply watch on television. I try not to be frivolous. I try not to waste things. I stretch my dollars. I buy things cheap, I shop for bargains.
I have read articles by other respected contributors that have said exactly what I am thinking. Going to see Major League Baseball games has gotten very expensive.
For the Saturday game, my buddy Ty and I spent $45 for two seats in the upper deck. The tickets started as $16 seats. Then came the onslaught of fees. MLB convenience fees, order processing fees, shipping fees. We actually did save a few dollars by instead having the tickets left for us at will call.
So in the end, we paid over $22 each for seats in the nosebleed section. Is it just me, or is this a bit ridiculous? Has anyone noticed that attendance is down nearly league wide by a significant margin?
Money is disappearing from everybody's pocketbooks, leaving many unable to enjoy a game in person.
Still, I found it to be a good investment for my hard-earned dollars. It was a vesting in America's past time, in an age when I feel like we need a few reminders of the glory this nation once knew, of what makes America great.
Enjoying the games in person was quite an experience. I got to drink beer and eat cotton candy, sitting in a section with other people just like me.
For that time, everyone was united. We sat together in open air with the sunshine on our shoulders, watching grown men play a kids' game.
I had the time to reflect back on that over the past few days before yesterday. Yesterday my girlfriend, her best friend, and I packed a cooler, threw it in the car, and took off on a road trip to Cleveland.
We got tickets for half price, thanks to a college student promotion being held at Progressive Field. It was dollar hot dog night. To me, that was excellent hospitality from my neighbors in Cleveland.
We watched the Indians host the Mariners. We wore Tigers apparel and got a few comments.
And once again I got to sit down and watch the great American past time in person with people just like me. That feeling is like none other in the world, and is but part of the reason why I love baseball so much.
Ken Griffey Jr. got quite an applause from the Cleveland faithful, as well as myself and my party. Asdrubal Cabrera started a stellar double play with a behind the back flip. Chris Shelton, recently called up by the Mariners, even got a pinch hit at-bat. Cliff Lee tossed a complete game, allowing only a solo home run to Ronny Cedeno.
I left the ballpark that night with a giant smile on my face, wearing the Ryan Garko shirt that I bought. For me, I knew I had just experienced the best week in baseball in my entire lifetime, and that it felt great to be an American.
I had just attended three games in seven days, with the All-Star festivities sandwiched in between. I was lucky enough to enjoy the All-Star game at my favorite sports pub with my buddy Ty for his birthday. Happy birthday, my friend.
When I left the shimmering city of Cleveland behind, I had but one regret: I didn't get to see one of my favorites that night, Mike Sweeney, because he was on the disabled list.