ED NOTE: Written and published originally in 2008
It’s been while since I have been up to the ball game at PNC Field. How long? The last time I was inside the joint was called the Lackawanna Multi-Purpose stadium.
Or to put it another way: Last time I sat in the cheap seats I overheard a young boy say “Daddy! The “Grump” TOUCHED me!” So now it’s “PNC Field” and the Red Barons are the dead Barons and the Yankees rule the roost. A lot of peanuts, popcorn and crackerjacks have passed through the 10,310 seats at the old Ball Game. Although it really isn’t as old as all that. 19 years old this past April to be exact.
I have to say it looks great. I watched nine innings of pretty good baseball and half an hour or so of great fireworks on July Fourth and I felt as American as apple pie which is the only thing I didn’t eat. Somehow a visit to a ballgame, any ball game is not complete without a “Haw Dawg.” So I had two. Along with nachos and a big pretzel (seven bucks!)
But the memories that night brought back. Like the game that Kent Westling the ex-announcer called out “One ball on John Kruc” and he was right in more ways than one. Looking at the fancy video scoreboard with every statistic you could ever want including the speed of the pitch I remembered the old scoreboard which I believe was three guys with big post it notes and magic markers. But now of course everything is sponsored so it’s big and shiny and new.
Freddie the M.C. (Baseball games now have an M.C. ?) runs around and directs between inning fun and games usually involving kids and American flags, a somewhat different endeavor than one of his previous gigs at the Diamond club. Something that involved whipped cream and…well I was never actually there so I can’t say much more.
Back to baseball. My buddy had great seats on the third baseline, close enough so the threat of a line drive right between the eyes was a distinct possibility. Watching one pop fly soar right above our heads his girlfriend shouted “Jeepers Cats” which I think about sums it up. How many other spectator sports promise on the ticket that you may be hurt? I was nearly hurt myself when I dragged out all my old baseball jokes. I think the one about the young couple in the stands was the best one: He kisses her on the strikes and she kisses him on the….
So it’s one, two, three strikes and you’re OUT at the old ball game.
By the way the Yankees lost to the Syracuse Chiefs 8-5.
And I still don’t understand that play at third base.