I was born and raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Since this is a fact, I also was raised to believe that I am a fan of three teams ~ Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Pittsburgh Pirates. I am perfectly fine with this. All three teams are excellent teams and deserve my fandom (is that a correct word?).
Now, I have never been to a Steelers game, although I would love to someday. I have gone to a Penguins game and loved every minute of it. Nothing has truly compared to that hockey game for me, it was magical!
My first professional baseball game that I went to was in November of 1978. I was seven months pregnant and a group of us took the train and bus up to Yokohama, Japan. We sat on wooden bleachers to watch the Yokohama Whales play the Cincinati Reds. We basically tail-gated by taking thermoses filled with hot chocolate and picnics of American food that we would get if we were in country. It was my first baseball game ever. Not one of my finest moments though, as in the bottom of the third inning I asked when the game was going to start. Everyone turned to look at me, and without thinking I said, well, they haven’t sang the National Anthem yet… Yes, it was not one of my finest moments, I chalk it up to pregnancy brain… I thought that this was going to be my only time seeing a baseball game, and I carefully tucked the memory away so that it could be remembered always.
A few years later, we moved to San Diego. San Diego, the home of the San Diego Padres. This is where my love of baseball really came to be. I do not follow the stats. I wouldn’t know an error if I saw one (which, by the way, I know I have seen several in my life) I can follow RBI’s, but I can’t explain it to anyone. All I know is, I love the game. I love watching the players, I love the atmosphere of the game, I love the crowds, I love baseball. I especially love the Padres.
Padres games fill the memories of raising our family. We would go several times a summer to see our boys play. When the girls were young we got the cheap military seats in the nosebleed section of the stadium. We would smuggle food in so that we could eat during the games, since buying the family tickets was close to breaking the bank at that point. I remember holding our youngest on my lap as she would cheer for her favorite, Tony Gwynn. The girls grew up watching the Padres. Our seats changed through the years, as did they. One of the last things we did as a family was a ball game together. I love my San Diego team.
We lived in San Diego for 27 years. During all that time I never saw my Padres play the Pirates (who remain my 1.5 favorite). I don’t know why I never did, but, I didn’t. I know hubby took his father to a Pirate/Padre game one year, but it was just the two of them who went and I stayed home watching and listening on t.v.. I never missed an opening game, I would make certain I was watching on t.v. or listening to the radio. I never did make it to an opening day, as that was when school was still in session for the girls and once they graduated, I was just in the habit of catching it like I always did.
Three years ago I went to my first Pittsburgh Pirates game. We were in our hometown and we went with our friends. I was so excited to see them play for the first time. We had since moved from San Diego and I had not seen a ball game in five years at that time. The Pirates lost that game, but it did not diminish the thrill of seeing them. It was a childhood dream come true for me.
So, when we knew we were going to be home this summer, I went online to see the Pirates schedule. In our time frame of being here, we would not be able to see a Pirates game since they would be on the road. I was disappointed, but, I did realize that the Pirates would be in San Diego. I packed my Padres shirt. I knew I could watch it on t.v. (hubby and I do not have sports packages on our t.v. at home). Last week I donned my shirt and watched as the Padres beat the Pirates two games. I was a happy girl.
During those games there were advertisements for the games this current weekend. The Pirates would be home and they would be playing the Padres. But, we would be on our way home by then, or so we thought. Our trip was delayed and last night, after all these years, I got to see my favorite team play my next favorite team!
I proudly wore my San Diego shirt (I counted and saw three other shirts!). I was so thrilled to see my team on the field! They scored first and I smiled. They ended up losing the game, but that did not matter to me. I don’t know if I will have a chance to see them live again, but, for now, my heart is content. I saw my Padres play.
This of course was an adventure in itself, as there was a rain delay of two hours before the game started, so, from 7:05 to 9:05 we waited. The time was spent watching those in the good (uncovered) seats scramble out of the rain, watched the rain, looked at the lightning and talked with our forever friends. The time passed quickly and the game ended around 12:30 a.m.. We of course, stayed to the end, not that we are that die-hard fans, but there was a concert following the game. We saw Chicago perform. The concert started shortly after 1 a.m., and it was incredible!
We returned to the house around 3 this morning. I was a great adventure. one that I won’t soon forget. Together with lifetime friends, we laughed and talked and yes, she and I even cried… even though “There’s no crying in baseball.”
Thanks for stopping by… Cathi (DAF)