But bottom line is that I love BASEBALL! It was love at first "visit". I didn't "grow up" with baseball- and think I must have been in my late 20s/early 30s before I saw my very first game in OKC at the minor league team- the 89er's- a AAA farm team for the Texas Rangers. From that very first summer evening at the ballpark I somehow knew that a summer night spent at a baseball game was a "perfect" way to experience summer! Why the kids and I even went to a couple of major league games in Dallas (we always cheered against Texas- that "anything but Texas" lasts a long, long time if you graduate from OU!) back in the old days- the really old days- pre Cincinnati!
And then I hit paydirt! I married into the Cincinnati Reds "family"! From that very first visit to watch the Reds I was a fan- win or lose! I do love my "boys".
We never watch pro or even college basketball, but we do enjoy baseball, especially Cincinnati Reds baseball. The Reds haven't been to the playoffs since 1995, but this year they won the NL Central. Now I did arrive in Cincinnati in 1994- but I'm afraid the sharing of a home with 6 often very unruly children (I might mention that 4 were teenagers- I didn't notice that there was any life outside of the chaos that was my life!) So I have absolutely no memories of that 1995 success story. By the time the Reds entered my life they had securely established their reputation as a race for the bottom- not the top. But I loved them win or lose!
We enjoy baseball for the pure enjoyment of going to a game, eating Big Red Smokies (hot dogs) on a bun with lots of mustard and saurkraut, eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the ground, and drinking a beer while watching the game go by.
For the last few years Cincinnati Reds have been so far out of contention that there was never any hope of making the playoffs. But we went anyway because we just enjoyed being in the stands with the slow pace of the game, our peanuts, hot dogs, and beverages.
I must admit this year when they played so very poorly in the play-offs, I did worry that "my boys" would be too hard on themselves. They should have played better- not sure how they all fell apart so completely- so together- but they did. I'm sorry - but I hope they know how proud I am- and that next year I'll be back- again.
Most sports you actually have to watch with no time to catch your breath, but baseball gives you time to relax while the pitcher spits, scratches, and adjusts his equipment, then just as he is ready, the batter steps out to tighten his "batting gloves" and adjust his batting helmet. At a baseball game you have time to look at the crowd, eat, drink and still not miss anything. Baseball is as lazy as any summer night might be.
But this year the Reds are in the playoffs but before that we enjoyed going to a few games and watching a whole lot more on TV. I don't think I even noticed that the Reds were usually winning- instead of usually losing- until late in the season. Baseball is that way- it has a way of lulling you quietly- Even the worst teams win some- and the best lose some... Even better we got to see some games from some great seats (thank you Amber and Evan) and even from different stadiums ( thanks again Amber and Evan).
This is the view when we buy our tickets!
But the ball park in Cincinnati remains our favorite. And even better it has a sponsor name that isn't embarrassing. We don't have to go to PetCo Park, or Minute Maid Park, or Tropicana Park. We get to go to Great American Park. For the first few years I just thought it was called that because it is a great American park, but Great American is an insurance company here in Cincinnati, but I'll just keep thinking it is named correctly regardless of the source.
The Reds have a great history ( Reds History ) given that they were the first all professional team in 1869 and were charter members of the original National League, and that they played the very first night game under lights. But in Cincinnati going to a game is a real family event. It is one of the few team sports that the opposing players often have cordial conversations during the game or congratulate one another after making a great play. The game is non-violent, players rarely get hurt by another player, and fans will often cheer a great play by an opposing player. I do need to mention that these very "family" friendly behaviors can be noticed in Chicago at Wrigley- you can sit anywhere and be treated very nicely- or San Francisco- or Cincinnati. But these "family" friendly behaviors are not often noticed in Oakland- and especially not in Philadelphia!
Consequently, baseball is one of our favorite activities in the summer.
But one of the best things about going to Great American is the aforementioned ball park food. We always buy peanuts in the shell on the way into the park (cheaper than inside). And at the ball park you can eat the peanuts and just throw the shells on the floor. We used to try different foods but have now settled into our routine. Going to a games means having a Big Red Smoky (well sometimes two Big Red Smokys) with mustard and saurkraut on a bun. Some may call that a hot dog, but it is so much more. I think I could eat them several times a week if I were to ignore the artery clogging attribute. Max takes great pleasure in making "runs" to the consessions for our food, and she enjoys even more loading the bun with significant amounts of mustard, hoping that I will once again squeeze the mustard out of the bun and onto my face and/or clothes.