FanPost Friday - Gameday Experience - tflach2

The first thing to know about my Orioles Gameday experience is that it doesn't happen at OPACY. It happens at Tropicana Field. Gameday usually starts like this: The O's are in town, and I want to go to the game. I don't have tickets, and have no intention of buying tickets from the Box Office, because it's the Rays and I know my best bet is the secondary market.

At around noon, I pick the most fanciest of all tickets I can find on Stub Hub, open the page that is one click away from actually buying tickets, and wait... and wait... and wait. I do about five minutes of work and hit refresh. It is the longest I will go without refreshing all day. Like a woman in labor, my muscles keep contracting in closer and closer intervals. But instead of making a human child, all I make is a webpage that looks exactly like the webpage that was there before my incessant clicking.

At around 4, I give up on the fancy tickets, not because someone snatched them up, but because the seller isn't getting desperate fast enough. They have until 6 to sell the seat, but I only have until 5 before I have to leave work if I am going to drive all the way home, get my shit together and then drive down to that abomination in St. Pete. So now I set my eyes on regular lower level seats, third base side. I still don't buy, because I know I'll get a deal if I just keep on waiting. Someone will get antsy, drop the price too much, and since I'm the only buyer, I'll swoop in and get the best deal. Sometimes it works and I feel like a winner; sometimes it doesn't and I don't go to the game. The important thing is that no work has been done that day.

I live 1 hour 15 minutes north of the stadium and work 15 minutes north of the stadium. But I have to go home and let the dog out (and pick up the wife and kid) after work. So, it's off to the races. If traffic is bad, I will miss first pitch and be grumpy. If traffic is good... well I'll let you know once that happens. There must be a formula to calculate traffic, where the more of a hurry you are in, the more stupid everyone else on the road becomes.

We eventually get the Trop (Frog Protect Home!), and go straight to our seats, usually getting there right after the Orioles have Oriol'd the Top of the 1st. I position myself so that I am between the plate and my kid, so that I can lunge in the way and take one off the chest if I have to. I have been going to baseball games regularly for 35 years and have never gotten a foul ball hit at/to me... but I still don't understand how parents can not be super-vigilant at all times when they bring their kids to games.

Since I am attending road games, I clap politely when my team does good, groan when my team does bad, and engage in civil conversation with home fans if they are as interested in baseball as I am. I live here and listen to sports radio, so I am almost as intimately familiar with the Rays players as I am with the Orioles, and I actually like a good number of them, even if I want the Orioles to stomp their babies and eat their necks and such while they are playing each other. My biggest pet peeves at the Rays/Orioles games are cowbells, obviously, and obnoxious Orioles fans. I hate road fans who are jerks, it sucks even more when they root for the same team as I do.

My son is 4 and plays T-ball now, so he is very close to being able to sit through 9 innings without distractions. Last year I went to the ray touch-tank, and the drawing center, and the kids carnival type games, but so far this year (in 1 game) we have stayed almost exclusively in our seats. Kid #2 is on the way, though, so it will only be a matter of time before I have to work in some of the non-baseball experience stuff from the stadium back into our trips.

Around the 7th inning, my wife wants to leave. Around the 8th inning, my kid wants to leave. When the game is over, we leave. Connor falls asleep in the back seat. Much like in Stacey's example, I listen to the radio after O's wins (it's even better when you're the road team... hey, I can be an obnoxious road fan in the privacy of my own car), and stew in silence if they don't (or Wendy listens to radio, I'm honestly too annoyed to even notice). Now I have to drive the hour fifteen home, and try to get to bed for work the next day. After a win, I'm pumped and want to watch highlights on any media device I can get my eyeballs in front of. After a loss, I am up all night thinking about all of the things that are bad about life in general and how the world is a cruel and unloving place.

The next day I go back to work and start stalking the next game's tickets.

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