My Worst Baseball Experience

img_0110The scene would have been perfect, but things just didn’t go as planned.

Since my wife and I had our daughter three months ago, we’ve not spent a lot of  time alone together. We used to be avid garage sale and thrift store shoppers.  Occasionally we’d hit up a movie. And frequently we’d treat ourselves to a nice dinner. But now with a child? No dice. Not yet, anyway. And honestly, it’s OK. Our child is our priority now.

But when we do see opportunities to have us time, we take it. Wednesday, that was supposed to be our time … at a baseball game.

This is why I love my wife. She’s not a sports fan, but she knows I’m flippin’ nuts about the Red Sox. And over the 12 years that we’ve been together — four of which have been wedded bliss — I’ve managed to convert her to a point where she at least cares when the Sox are in town. Hell, last year she wanted me to teach her the entire starting lineup, which she actually learned. God bless her. You know if she were trying to teach me about make-up brands or certain girly-type stuff I wouldn’t be able to remember more than one.

I digress. So Wednesday … Midweek baseball in the San Francisco Bay Area means bargain tickets for Oakland Athletics fans. The club offers $2 tickets for Wednesday games. Sure, they are so-so seats, but does it really matter? This is live baseball, in the second week of the season, a contest featuring your favorite team and it’s in the middle of the work day no less. Does the quality of seat really matter?

So everything was set. I planned to work a half day and get off about an hour before game time, which normally would be plenty of time to take public transportation (train) to the stadium, Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.  As it turned out, I got stuck working about 20 minutes later than I had planned — conversely my wife was 20 minutes early — so when we got to the train station, there was no parking. Instead of continuing to circle the parking lot — by this point it was about 30 minutes before game time — we decided to drive the 25 miles to the ballpark. Well, that was where things really went wrong.

By the time we could see the stadium from the freeway, the game was already in the bottom of the first inning. In trying to figure out a strategic way to get into the parking lot as fast as possible, I decided to take the second exit, which normally would have been faster. Well, as it turned out we were among hundreds of other fans who felt the same way. And as things turned out, that entrance to the parking lot was CLOSED … and there was no warning.

Traffic in this area is horrible to begin with, and and with hundreds of people trying to get into a parking lot, traffic was at a stand still. We sat there listening to the game on the radio as we inched forward.

The second inning game and Mike Lowell hit a two-run home run. Then the third and fourth inning passed as we moved a whopping 50 yards! By the time we got out of the mess — only because we decided to just leave — it was already the fifth inning. I was pissed.

The decision to throw in the towel on the game was not easy. I’m the type of fan who likes to get there before the game and stay until the last pitch, maybe even watch the celebration. But all things considered — parking would have been expensive and we could have just had a nice lunch before going to get our daughter from the babysitter (my mother-in-law) — it was the smartest thing to do. If we stayed in that long line of cars that seemingly was headed into the parking lot, we might have made it to our seats by the seventh inning. And the only reason I know the parking lot entrance was closed was because our escape route took us past the north entrance of the Coliseum and there was nothing but metal barricades herding traffic to the east. People wishing to enter the stadium would have had to continue further around to another entrance. With cars — and even big rigs — moving at slower than a snail’s pace, this was lunacy.

As we sped out of Oakland, the radio announcers revealed that Tim Wakefield had yet to give up a hit through five innings, and had only thrown 40 pitches. Perfect, right? Wakefield continued to throw a gem before losing his no-hitter in the eighth inning on a Kurt Suzuki single. And in the end the Red Sox averted a series sweep in an 8-2 win, thanks in large part to homers from Lowell and JD Drew. And where did I experience this? Mostly in my car with a pair of unused tickets. Horrible.

Side notes:

Wednesday was Jackie Robinson Day, a fact that I failed to realize until Tuesday. When I learned of this, I got real giddy because we had tickets to the game. … Wakefield is my least favorite Red Sox pitcher thanks in part to that 2003 hanger he gave to Aaron Boone. As it turned out, this would have been the fifth time I’d seen Wakefield pitch in person. … Near No- Hitters: My wife called me a masochist today because I wanted Wakefield to complete the no-hitter if only to make my story better. If we actually made it into the stadium, this would have been the third time I’ve seen a no-hitter get into at least the seventh inning. In 2008 I watched Justin Duchsherer take one into the seventh against the Red Sox. And in 2007, I was there when Curt Schilling lost his no-no to Shannon Stewart with two outs in the bottom of the ninth … Free Ticket: Thanks to two good friends, I scored a ticket to Monday’s contest between the Sox and A’s, so I was able to at least catch one Sox game this year, even if it was a loss. This was Boston’s only regular season trip to the Bay Area this season. … Losing Streak: Including Monday’s loss, the Red Sox had lost the last four games I’d attended in Oakland, including a three-game series last May. Wednesday’s game would have broken that streak. … Baseball Cards/Fantasy Baseball: If there was one good thing that came out of this, it’s the fact that it drew me back here, my blogs. Maybe I can get my act together and start blogging more often.

One Response to “My Worst Baseball Experience”

  1. Sorry man, that really sucks. And it’s also part of the reason I stick to going to minor league and college games. It’s just so much easier with driving, parking, concessions, etc. Glad you got to see one game though.

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