I took some time during my extended stay in the USA to visit family as well as friends. This past week I’ve been down in Florida visiting my Mom’s side of the family, and enjoying the sunshine. My aunt Laurie has a season ticket package to the local major league baseball games and asked if I would like to come along – of course I did.
Here is the first pitch of the game. We were up in the top level of the stadium, but it didn’t really matter because our view was still pretty good. My aunt’s team is the Tampa Bay Rays and their opponent was the San Diego Padres. I didn’t have a horse in the race because my team is the Detroit Tigers, but I figured it was bad form to cheer for the visiting team, so I cheered for the Rays.
As you do at baseball games, I also drank a lot of beer. My beer is from Yuengling, America’s oldest brewery. Not a lot of choices for beer at a baseball game, it was this, Budweiser or Miller, the latter two of which are essentially water but are perfect for an afternoon in the stands. On my way through the stadium I was stopped by a guy who asked where I got the dark beer. I laughed and said the bar on the first floor, and then he continued to go on about how much he loves dark beer like this one. This is barely amber. I considered telling him about what real dark beer is like but let discretion be the better part of valor.
Ask any American what foods are associated with baseball and I bet they say beer, hot dogs and peanuts. I already had my fill of a ballpark hot dog in the first inning, but was itching for something salty and unhealthy to go with my beers in the later innings. I decided to go with nachos. Mostly to show my European friends what American liquid cheese product looks like. I’ve only seen that type of cheese in the USA and it has a very particular smell and taste – I was craving it. It was as disgusting as it looks but so awesome at the same time. Tastes like diabetes.
The game turned out to be really exciting in the end. The home team was winning for most of the game but gave up the lead in the second to last inning. They were down one run in the last inning with a chance to win. The first two batters are out and it is down to one last guy. He draws a walk and this means that he could be the tying score with the new batter as the winning score. The new batter is their best player. Almost on command, he smacks one really hard right out of the stadium. This means two players score and the home team wins. The place went bonkers. A walk off home run for the home team is one of the most exciting things I’ve seen in person at a pro sports event.
Everyone was in a good mood because their team had just won in dramatic fashion, and we were treated to a bonus at the end – a concert. It was 80’s night in the stadium, so the musical guest was likely to be something from the 80’s. It was Kenny Loggins. The guy responsible for this and this. Only he didn’t play either one of those songs. He didn’t even look much like Kenny Loggins, he has shaved off his beard and cut his hair and decided to play new versions of old songs with guest guitar solos. We left after about 40 minutes without hearing any of the 80’s songs I know the best from Kenny Loggins, oh well.
So in the end it was a lot of fun and definitely an American experience. Baseball, beer, hot dogs, nachos, Kenny Loggins. What more could you ask for?