There have been many social media posts stating how much people miss hugging but what I am missing is quite different, I am terribly missing going to a baseball game. Without fail, every summer, I attend at least one game and depending on who’s willing to go with me, I’ll squeeze in another one or two.
After a delay of over 3 months, tomorrow, July 23rd is “Opening Day”, and there will be no fans in the stadiums' seats due to Covid-19. Worst of all there will not be any Fenway Franks, no boxes of Cracker Jacks, no bags of peanuts, no beer, and none of my personal favorite — soft ice cream served in a plastic baseball hat cup.
I started my childhood in the Bronx and whether I realized it or not immediately became a Yankees fan, attending games at the original Yankee Stadium until it was demolished to make way for a new one in 1973 (the new stadium opened in 1976 only then to be replaced by yet another new stadium in 2009). Attending at least one game each summer was a ritual in my family. And although my mother and brother had no interest, they too were dragged along but perhaps only to see if the uniforms had been redesigned that year. It was my dad and I that truly enjoyed the game.
When I moved to Boston in 1979 for college I attended my first Yankees — Red Sox game at Fenway Park and very quickly realized I was on the wrong side of the rivalry. So like many NYC transplants to Boston, I too soon, over the years, became a Red Sox fan — it was much easier than getting boos and food items thrown at me in the stadium. However, after meeting Ellen in 1983 and finding out she was a Mets fan, it was unclear to me as to how this love of baseball would proceed. Many years later our nephew went to work for the Yankees so whether or not I was still a Yankees fan I’ve now been adorned head to toe in Yankee hats, shirts, bags, etc.
So here we are, so many years later but now in a pandemic and I along with so many others are just simply missing the game of baseball as we know it. I feel a bit like my late father who towards the end of his life had subscribed to the MLB cable station in order to watch baseball — any and all baseball, it no longer mattered which team was playing or who was winning for that matter. I have as of late been on the cable station NESN watching past Red Sox games from previous years as if they were being played in real-time.
So if you are like me and are missing those peanuts, hot dogs, Cracker Jacks, beer, soft ice cream served in a plastic baseball hat cup, singing at the top of your lungs “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and in Boston “Sweet Caroline”, or just the beautiful sound of the crack of the bat hitting the ball, sadly this is the year we’ll be caught looking.
Be strong, be well, and stay safe!