Sunday, April 30, 2017

Take you Out---or Take you Home?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  Are you a take-me-out-to-the ballgame? Or a take-me-home?

 Got to say, I  love baseball, sitting in the ball park ,with all the hilariously happy (sometimes) people, rooting for your team to win. And that moment, when it's one guy, the pitcher, against one guy, that batter, and everyone focused on the moment when everything could change. And how it's a team sport, and an individual sport, and ah. I love it.

Not so much the spitting (what is there to spit? I have NEVER spit.) Or the rowdy beer-throwing and whatever. And the hitching of pants. I have never hitched my pants.

But I love the families in the bleachers, and the cheering for success, and the sunny days and crackerjacks and hotdogs. Delicious hot dogs. And I don't even generally like beer, but you've gotta have at least a sip at the ball game.

And yes, the Red Sox often break our hearts. But there' s always next year. But this year..it could happen!

So how about you? Take you out to the ballgame? Or take you away it?  And if you were playing, would you want to be the batter when it's the last up of the last inning in a tie game and you could win it all?  I always think the world is divided into the "put-me-in" people and the "no way" people.

And who's your team?

RHYS BOWEN: Giants fan here, Hank. Love my Giants although they have started this season with the worst record since 1980 something. We usually go to spring training in Scottsdale which I find more fun than the real games in a cold and drafty stadium in San Francisco. A friend has season tickets and I snap up the ones she can't use. And they are in the friends and family section so we get to sit with players' families. You can tell the wives by the enormous rocks on their left hands!

Your question about whether I'd want to be that last batter... I know what I'd hate and that would be to be closing pitcher, last game of world series, being handed a one run lead in the ninth. I know, it happened to the Giants once and he blew it.

HALLIE EPHRON: We are blessed here in Boston with Fenway Park and the reliably unreliable Red Sox. I go to about one ball game a season (we're going in a few weeks to see them play the Minnesota Twins) and I love almost everything about it, especially when we win. My husband listens to all the games at home.

I was a terrible baseball player. Afraid of the ball. It's very hard, you know. And I never learned how to use a glove. But in my dreams I'm on second base, bases loaded, two outs in the final inning, Red Sox behind by one, and Big Papi hits a base-clearing homerun.

The worst thing about baseball is when your favorite players retire or go to different teams.

INGRID THOFT: I wouldn’t characterize myself as a baseball fan, but as Hank and Hallie know, when you live in Boston (or it’s your hometown,) you are a Red Sox  fan.  For life.  I’ve been to a handful of games over the years, and what I’ve enjoyed most is the atmosphere at Fenway Park.  A warm night, some snacks, the Green Monster, the traffic rushing by on the Mass Pike, all make for an iconic baseball experience.  Every New Englander should go at least once, if only to soak up the scene.

 I never played baseball or softball growing up, but I lean towards the “put me in, coach!” frame of mind, so I would rather be the last batter up than riding the bench. 

DEBORAH CROMBIE:  I didn't grow up watching baseball or going to games. Which is weird because my dad coached a corporate women's softball team before I was born, but somehow that didn't translate to professional baseball. But my daughter played softball all through elementary school, and we became big Texas Rangers fans. I loved going to the games and following the team. I still watch the games when I have a chance, and I was really rooting for the Rangers to make it to the World Series last year.

I haven't been to a game in years, though, because Rick doesn't like baseball, or any kind of organized sport.

JENN MCKINLAY: I grew up in Newyorkachusetts (i.e. Connecticut) in which baseball is pretty much divided by the Connecticut River. On one side it's all Yankees fans and on the other it's the Red Sox. I spent my middle school and teen years on the Red Sox side and am a member of Red Sox Nation in honor of my grandmother who was one of their most ardent fans. That being said, when the Diamondbacks came to AZ, I was all in. Hub and I had just started dating and his father had season tickets so much of our first year together was spent watching the Diamondbacks, which was a pretty awesome courtship but that could be because of the hotdogs, peanuts, Red Vines, beer, and gourmet popcorn.

Yes, I love the game but my favorite part of baseball is the food. Shocker, I know. "'Cause it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the old ball game!"

LUCY BURDETTE: We spent a couple years living outside Detroit when I was a kid, so we all became mad for the Tigers. When I lived in Gainesville Fl, the closest team was the Braves, but I never did get very attached to them. Now when we're in Connecticut, it's exactly as Jenn described--and we live right on the dividing line for Yankees versus Red Sox fans. I only get interested in baseball when the playoffs and World Series come around. Though I think I could become a Red Sox fan!

Ask me about UCONN women's basketball, however, and I can tell you anything and everything about the players, the coach, the competition...I love watching those girls play!


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I married into New England, and so became a Red Sox fan, as one is required to do. (Ross and I have a good friend who grew up outside NYC and is an adamant Yankees fan, despite living in Portland for close to thirty years. It takes real guts to be a Yankees fan in Maine.)

For me, however, the best of baseball is our local AA team, the Portland Sea Dogs. They play in Hadlock Field, a perfect gem where there's not a bad seat to be found (and general seating is less than the price of a movie ticket!) In all the years we've been going, I've never seen or heard any altercation, beer-throwing or loud profanities. Instead, it always seems a festival gathering of Mainers grateful to be out under the blue sky, eating hot dogs and drinking local microbrews from the Shipyard Brew Pen. We've seen some amazing talent play there: Mookie Betts, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez all came up from the Sea Dogs. They have fireworks after the game on the 4th of July, and promotions like Dog of the Day (featuring adoptable dogs,) Superhero Day (come in costume,) and Pride Night (to coincide with Portland's Pride Day festivities.)

You can't beat it, which is why we have tickets for a double header this coming Friday!


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HANK: Whoo hoo! How about you, Reds readers? Baseball—yes, no? And who’s your team? 

photo credits and thank you to: C. Penier. Yobro,  Onyschenko, David Lee

35 comments:

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  2. I would definitely not want to be the last batter in the last inning of that tie game. I am not good at any sport that requires depth perception and I doubt that I’d be hitting in that winning run.
    We took a couple of the grandchildren to one of the local AA team games, but going to a ball game isn’t high on my list of things I love doing. Just tell me the Yankees won and I am a happy camper . . . .

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    1. That's why they're fun to watch on TV--you can multitask!

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  3. When I was in the fifth grade, I got sick, and had to stay home from school for a week. My mom didn't want me to stay alone, so my grandfather picked me up every day, and I stayed at my grandparents' house. While Grandma fussed over chicken broth and hot lemonade for me, Grandpa sat me down on the couch next to him and we watched baseball. World Series St. Louis Cardinals baseball, to be exact. This was in the glory days of Lou Brock, Dal Maxwell, and daytime World Series games, and I might have faked a few symptoms to stay home and watch a little longer. I loved being there with Grandpa Jack, hearing him explain the game, and learning about the players. Plus, y'know, the Cardinals won the Series. I've lived in Texas a long time now, and I've seen the Rangers play in two different stadiums, but I'm still a Cardinals fan at heart. (And I'd still rather you take me out to the concert hall.)

    As for batting last . . . Man, when you're up, you're up, and you don't always have control over the circumstances. I say, no matter what situation you find yourself in, keep your cool, hone your chops, and when you're at bat, do what needs to be done. If you win, you celebrate. If you lose, remember that it was never all on you. If any one of your teammates had handled his turn differently, it would have been a whole 'nother ball game.

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    1. well, true,Gigi, it is all cumulative. But still… To be in the spotlight like that…

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    2. First of all, what a great memory of your grandpa, Gigi! And second, I want you on my team!!

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    3. Thanks, ladies. Remember, Hank, my background is in live performance. Being in the spotlight is part of the job. No retakes. I wouldn't mind if it all came down to what I did when it was my turn. You can be fairly sure I'd go down swinging.

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  4. Up here we're all Indians fans, all the way! Seriously, my dad was the big baseball fan--from watching the littles play t-ball (his absolute favorite baseball games) to the major leagues--it was the only sport he followed. Growing up before the war in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, my uncles told me how after church on Sunday, you'd see the guys heading out with their bats to a game. And baseball is pretty serious here, now. We've had a number of local young high school boys make their way from t-ball to the minors. But me? I keep up via the local sportscast.

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  5. Gigi, what a great story about your Grandpa Jack! We once took a French family to Fenway ... Try explaining it to someone who knows squat about baseball. You realize just how complicated it is. (ground rule double? infield fly? balk??)

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    1. Hallie, maybe this compares to an American trying to understand cricket...

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  6. I love baseball, have since Willie Mays made that famous catch! My loyalties have changed over the years and presently are focused on the Rochester Red Wings, a AAA minor league team affiliated with the Minnesota Twins. This is the perfect climate for baseball, mild summer evenings, take a sweater, stay for the fireworks.

    "The Red Wings, along with the Pawtucket Red Sox, hold the record for the longest professional baseball game, lasting a total of 33 innings and 8 hours, 25 minutes over the course of three different days. The game was held at Pawtucket's McCoy Stadium, beginning on April 18, 1981. It was suspended just after 4 a.m. the next morning, and Rochester lost, 3–2, when the game resumed on June 23."

    The great thing about minor league teams is the affordability, ten bucks a ticket for adults, less for kids. Whole families go and have a ball, so to speak. I've taken English friends, and they were very impressed with how much fun they had and how well behaved the crowd is, family friendly.

    I tend to root for the underdogs.

    GO METS!

    Ann in Rochester who is still reading YOU'LL NEVER KNOW DEAR

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  7. Hello, Reds, I'm posting from York, England on vacation or holiday as the Brits say😉. I live in the SF Bay Area and married a lifelong Giants fan, so we go to the ballpark a lot. I love the views from the seats of the bay and I love Buster Posey and MadBum. They are having a rough season, but on the bright side, the seats should be cheaper this year through StubHub, etc.

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  8. Rhys, I loved your stories about going to the AA team games in Phoenix. We have a AA team near us, the Frisco Rough Riders, and I'm thinking we should go to some of those games. And wondering what kind of bribe would get Hub to go....

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  9. At malice! And in transit... more to come!

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  10. I'm a basketball enthusiast, having grown up in a basketball family. My mother played in a state championship in the mid to late 1920s. My brother played, I cheered, and now my niece plays and just got a scholarship to college because of it. I love college ball, and March Madness is a favorite time of year.

    However, when I was growing up, I was also a captive audience of the Cincinnati Reds baseball, as my father listened to the games on the car radio and watched it on television (there weren't multiple televisions in the house then, just the one family one). This was the age of Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Cesar Geronimo, and Ken Griffey (sr.). They were collectively known as The Big Red Machine, and it was the glory days of the Reds. I only went to one game at the ballpark. I don't know why only the one.

    My daughter and her family go to their local AA team and they all really enjoy it. I like that the grandgirls are growing up with that.

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    1. So sweet that they love baseball! You are a good grandma! xoxo

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  11. Being from the Chicago area, I have been a Cubs fan since I was old enough to know what baseball was. My Grandpa and I used to watch together and he rooted for the Cubs unless they were playing the Cards. I don't think I have to tell you what it meant winning the World Series in November. I was in England at the time and stayed up all night following the game on my phone since it wasn't televised there. When it got down to the last inning of game 7, I called my daughter back home via FaceTime and she turned her phone to the TV so that I could see my beloved Cubbies win. I was a sobbing fool. Breaking the 108 year "curse" is what kept me from a falling apart just one week later. And every day since, I have never been more thankful for baseball to help keep me distracted. Go Cubs Go!

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    1. Even Sox fan me has to agree about the Cubs. Plus I was born in Chicago. So--if not the Sox ,then, the Cubs. Such fun to hear of your victory experience! SO great!

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  12. As a lifelong CT resident, and therefore a lifelong Yankee fan, I was an adult before I realized that some CT residents are Red Sox fans. Why???!!!:-) My dad's family has consisted of such dedicated Yankee fans that half of them have had their team affiliation listed in their obituaries!

    My youngest sister was a Mets fan but we cut her some slack; she was, after all, the Baby.

    Deb Romano

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    1. Deborah- I know! In college, half my friends were Yankee fans and half Red Sox. It truly is a divided state.

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    2. Yes, DebRo, Jonathan is from New York. He alleges he is a Sox fan, but that may be to avoid conflict. :-)

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  13. Hubs played AAA for the Phillies back in the stone age so I should say Philadelphia, but that dream went away when he was drafted and when he came home, he ended up working and living in the greater Boston area, so guess who his team is - yep - the Sox. Me, I still haven't forgiven the Dodgers for leaving Brooklyn, but I'm beginning to think it's time to let that one go (it has been a decade or six) so I'm gonna have to tag along on hubs love of the Sox. I try to get him spring training tix for his birthday every year in Fort Myers. Some years are more successful than others. Those spring training games are more fun than the regular season ones on TV, but a game in the Big Green Monster is on my bucket list.

    Would I want to bring up the tail in a real game - Love it as a batter. Hit or miss, you put it all on the line and take your best shot. Just like life. As a pitcher, nope, those poor guys always look like they have dislocated body parts - painful! I keep expecting the entire arm to come down the alley from the mound. Yipes!

    Enjoy Malice those who are there.

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    1. Kait! Really? That is amazing!

      And okay, Kait, we will put you in!

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    2. Drafted into the Marines - not the big leagues - he ended up in Vietnam. Yep. He played six months I think.

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  14. I went to a Mariners game last summer, and I was floored by the variety and quality of the concession stands at Safeco Field. People rave about the garlic fries, and you can even get grasshoppers toasted in a chili lime sauce. Yes, bugs. I didn't partake; maybe next time! What about you guys? Any ballpark favorites when it comes to snacks?

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    1. Ummm...that's something that won't be an experiment I try. No grasshoppers for me.

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  15. Ingrid - I love baseball food and the Chicago Dog is the greatest thing EVER. It's up there right next to my love of pizza and beer and nachos...now, I'm hungry.

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  16. I like attending one MLB per year - the experience is just fun. This years marks the 60th anniversary of our town hosting the NJCAA World Series, which is 7 days of baseball, a total of 18 games. Some years I have attended every game, some only a couple. Since the games are now streaming live I usually watch from home and listen to the stellar announcers. We have 2 grands still playing softball, and I am out at the field 2 to 3 games a week cheering them on for spring season, all-stars, and fall ball.

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    1. Pauline! That is so cool! What fun. Aw. oxo

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  17. Grew up in SoCal, so a Dodgers fan: love Dodgers, hate Yankees, who cares about the rest of the teams? Now I live in Oregon, and that means the only pro teams are NBA Trailblazers (meh) and Soccer Timbers (double meh). I'm a Seahawks fan, but for baseball...when's football start?

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  18. Football! We'll definitely talk in a few months!

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  19. Well, I'm a huge sports fan. And like all right thinking people, I'm a Red Sox fan (which means I hate the Yankees as well). Would I want to be up to bat with the game on the line? YES. If for no other reason, then I would be a big league ball player.

    Of course, my grandfather managed the team for 60 years or so, not that anyone knew it. Like most Sox fans, he always knew more than the manager. And my grandmother...the only time she ever swore was at the Red Sox. Of course, like the demure lady she pretended to be, 5 minutes later she denied she ever used that kind of language.

    I would love to go to more games than I have, but tickets are so freaking expensive. But the thing about the games is that I still remember them.

    My first game was Sox-Twins, Boston lost 3-2 when Gary Gaetti hit a 2 run homer in the 8th inning. I was with my dad who dropped everything to take me when I got offered the tickets just 3 hours before the game. I was about 10.

    A school trip to a game against the Indians saw Boston win 6-4.

    A friend's dad gave us tickets to a ESPN Sunday night Sox-Yankees game that saw Mo Vaughn crush two homers to lead the victory.

    A total blowout 11-0 loss to the Rangers saw me and a friend leave before the only memorable part of the game (a brawl) happened. But it was that game that also introduced me to the music of Beth Hart, for which I'm eternally grateful.

    I was at a game in 2005, the year after the Curse was Reversed, and the Red Sox won in extra innings. Best part of that game (besides the free $75 tickets) was getting to see the World Series championship ring up close. The guy sitting next to me had a friend in the front office who came down to show him so I got to see it up close.

    And thanks to my collection of otherwise useless information, I won tickets to the August 27th game against the Orioles this year. Gotta love Trivia Night at the 99.

    As for other sports, I love football (GO PATS!). I'm a follow through the paper fan of the Bruins (I used to root for the Hartford Whalers when I was a kid.) The one game I attended was Boston-Hartford and it was quite the experience to be cheering like a madman when the Whalers scored the game winner with a couple minutes left and you forget that you are surrounded by drunk Bruins fans. But I was very excited when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

    My sports passion has always been basketball. Which is amusing since I was never all that good of a player. I knew what to do, I just couldn't do it. I've only been to 2 Celtics games but watched and screamed at so many that I was banished to watching the games in my room growing up. I also like women's college hoops, though my fandom has decreased a bit since the retirement and passing of Tennesee Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt.

    I follow my ex-players in their high school careers though that comes to an end next season. And that leads into where my passion became a kind of profession. I coached in the town's youth league for 25 years. I started when I was 14 after 3 years as a bench warming player. Moderately successful, having had former players come back and coach with me and go out on their own as well. And was the coach of 8 title winning boys teams and 3 championship girls teams.

    So yeah, I've lived the life of a sports fan. Hard to argue with the results.

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    1. Oh and I don't eat at the ballparks/stadiums/arenas. I bring food with me or I go to a restaurant in the immediate area.

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  20. I'm late to commenting but on the very day this terrific post went up Vince and I were in Washington, D.C. watching our beloved New York Mets play the Washington Nationals. The ballpark is lovely and our seats were ideal: on the third base side but in the shade. Our Mets had won the previous two games in the series so they were on a roll -- maybe even a streak!

    I'll leave out the horror that followed in deference to those with sensitive constitutions and merely report the final score: Nationals 23 - Mets 5.

    I love going to baseball games (hot dogs without guilt!) but after that one I'm thinking of taking some time off.

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