The last time I went to a professional baseball game was in 2017 – during the week of my college graduation.
This was back when Chad and I lived in Denver. When I say “live” I really mean “went to school;” at the time, we didn’t have the budget to enjoy the city in the ways it’s most celebrated, from foodie spots to concerts to one of several theme park adventures.
We really couldn’t afford to visit Coors Field regularly, outside of those college nights when you had to go with a group of people you didn’t really know and had to show up to a mandatory pizza party before hopping on the light rail. There was a time for me, during my freshman year (2013—the same year that Todd Helton played his last games) when I got to go to five or six games that season for about $5 each a ticket, craning my neck from the Rock Pile. Those were the days.
Even growing up, going to a Rockies game was an Event. My family lived four hours away, so a game couldn’t just be a game—we made it into a weekend, which involved getting a hotel, parking, dog sitters, food (both in-stadium and restaurants), tickets, and something else fun to balance the sports scale (my mom, for example, would prefer to go to a museum, so we’d try to fit in both). This turned into a pretty expensive trip just to see nine innings that may or may not involve a rain delay or a big (and boring) loss. Because of this, I can count those Rockies game trips on one hand. They were fun, but like I said…a whole ass Event.
I’ve always wanted to be able to just “pop” by a major league baseball game—to go on a whim, casually. No extensive planning or anxiety, just a simple ball game, with a hot dog and Dr. Pepper.
Our first Brewer’s game
Last Friday, Chad and I finally got our chance at some casual baseball.
It was about 6 o’clock at night, and I was feeling a little bored. We’d already gone to happy hour and went for a walk. I wasn’t in the mood to watch something on TV. I expressed this to Chad, who texted me three minutes later: “How soon can you be ready?” We jumped in the car and went straight to American Family Field for a 7 p.m. Brewer’s game.
It wasn’t an Event (except that it was our first game and that the spontaneous was very unlike us). It wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t even expensive (well, beers could be a little cheaper, in my opinion). It was a simple experience: me, Chad, a tough-on-the-butt bleacher seat, sunshine that quickly spread into color as it set, and a couple hours of baseball.
It wasn’t even a very good game (a little boring, to be honest), but we reminded ourselves gleefully that there’d be no pressure if we wanted to leave…because we’ll return soon, without a doubt.
Overall, the vibes were casual, fun, unexpected. Our first Brewer’s game was a dream. My hot dog hit the spot, especially since it was loaded with cheese curds. Chad and I held hands and huddled close as the breeze of an early June evening settled around us.
I loved the new-to-us, unpretentious stadium, the parking lot tailgating, and the unwavering support from fans in special edition Hawaiian shirts. I was comfortable and excited, even just to be around the game again.
My sentiment of the night was, I could get used to this. And you know what? I think I will.