Baseball season started this week. For me, it started yesterday with the first game of the season that I attended. I saw the White Sox play the Kansas City Royals at US Cellular Field with a friend. The game surprisingly didn’t have that many people. I thought after last year’s performance, they would have sold more seats. That and my efforts to get tickets to Cubs games have been loads of no fun because so few seats are available. In order to save some money ($4 a bottle of water, $4 for a funnel cake, $3.25 for a large hot chocolate that is a small at McDonalds, etc) and resist the urge to eat my way through the game, my friend and I went out to eat in China Town before the game. This was a very smart decision. I could appreciate the baseball game food with out spending huge amounts on food and feeling totally icky and disgusting afterward. I was sitting on the lower level so I didn’t have that fear of falling that I have because of how awful the upperdeck is at The Cell. (It seems like it is almost an attempt at deterring the poor people sitting up there from getting truly rowdy by making them scared of exactly that so as to limit their alcohol consumption, lest they lose their balance and fall off. Except White Sox fans in that deck drink possibly more than people on the bottom.)
The above paragraph sounds like I didn’t have fun, but I did! I did! (I’m just more Cubs fan than Sox fan.) I love baseball. I love going to games. Going to a game is unlike any other fan experience I have as part of say media fandom. With sporting events, I feel like I’m part of a community. I’m sitting there with a few thousand other fans. You can yell at the players, scream at the coach, mock the umpire, boo with everyone else. It is very much a communal thing. You’re very passionate in the moment but you can let it go when you leave. Everyone around you can get your angst regarding what is taking place on the field. When the team wins, there is collective joy and ownership. When the game is done, you can come back again and relive it. The cycle can go on and on. I love that after the game, while I’m walking around Union Station, people will randomly talk to me about the White Sox because I’m wearing a White Sox jersey. With television and movies, so much of the experience is so much more internalized. It is a solitary viewing experience or limited to a small group. Yes, you can find communities for it to discuss a show but you aren’t sharing that experience when you watch with several thousand people and after the movie ends, random people aren’t going to ask you about it.
I love baseball. I missed baseball. It just feels like a way of connecting to a larger community that can be hard to find in our society at the moment. I love it. I can’t wait to see more games this season.