Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 359: Baseball for Beginners: Lesson #10 - You're Ready!

Well... it's the final week of the Baseball for Beginners series and here we are at Lesson #10. Hold me. {{sniff sniff}} You've learned about the following areas: Pitchers, Catchers, Infielders, Outfielders, the LineupSome Basic RulesLingoMore Lingo and What Not to Wear. I've tried my best to prepare you newcomers to the game of baseball for all aspects of the game.

My goal at the outset of this series of posts was to hopefully get someone who's never been a fan of baseball, to at least considering giving it a shot. Maybe by knowing more about the game—some of the rules, equipment and, of course, the lingo, you might feel more comfortable heading out to your local team's stadium to take in a game.

You don't have to go to a major league ballpark... some of the best fun you'll have is at a minor league ballpark. The setting is more intimate and it costs a lot less. The minor league players are usually a lot more accessible, especially if you have kids. These still humble guys are cutting their teeth and have yet to be ruined by a big contract. There's no mistake that these guys are working their asses off to try and make it to "the Show"—there's not a ton of money to be made in the minors!

McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI, the home of the Red Sox Triple-A team, has a unique feature. Because their dugouts are built into the wall under the grandstands, fans looking for autographs actually go "fishing." They'll lower the item they would like signed in a bucket and the players can sign the item, tug on the line, and the fans then pull up their newly autographed memorabilia. That would never happen at a major league park.

Be patient with the ballgame though. Baseball isn't the speediest sport around. But the slow pace of the game gives you a chance to enjoy the sights and you also don't run the risk of missing a big play like you do if you're watching hockey or football live. Games can be long. If there's a lot of offense, or the game is tied and goes into extra innings, you might be there for a while—you should set aside a good three to four hour block.

Buy a program so you can get to know the names of the players and can recognize them from their numbers. Try your hand at keeping score for a couple innings on the scorecard provided in the program. It will force you to pay attention to the action, as well as getting you more comfortable with the terminology.

So I think you're ready... grab a beer, some peanuts and cracker jacks, and maybe even a big 'ol sausage bomb (I like to eat a lot at the ballpark) and enjoy the game. And learn this song because most likely, you're going to be required to sing it!
Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd; buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don't care if I never get back. Let me root, root, root for the home team, If they don't win, it's a shame. For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out, At the old ball game.
If you do get to a game, let me know how you like it.

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