I’m a girl who loves baseball.
I didn’t play softball. I didn’t inherit my passion from my father. I can’t spew out statistics and I don’t have “a team.” Still, my plan was to visit all 30 Major League baseball parks in the League. I don’t have a timeline, deadline or “plan of attack,” but I wanted to get it done in about two seasons and just take them as they come and enjoy the travels — and the people I met — along the way.
My passion for the game is simple – it’s family, history, drama all in Technicolor. I love the basics…the green grass, the brown dirt, and the blue skies (which is why I’m not a fan of domes) – the colors all seem to “pop” at the ballpark. Lacking any athletic ability, I marvel over those that do and, that on any given day, in any of those 30 parks across the country (and Canada), records could be made, will be made, will be broken, or in some cases, shattered.
For the most part, I went it alone – which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy the occasional travel partner – but solo travel ensured certain things. I was always on time. I was always in my seat to enjoy the National Anthem. I always rooted for the home team at each new ball park. I happily pay for great seats. I never leave before the seventh-inning stretch and I always swing by the souvenir shop to pick up my obligatory magnet and, when so inspired (like I was with Albert Pujols), will buy a jersey to celebrate the greats! I’m a food purist and will enjoy a hot dog and soda, despite the other “signature” culinary trappings of each city – to me, nothing but a “dog” will do.
I make no excuses for my preferences or dislikes, or my random reasoning, because at the end of the day, it’s a “game,” and I chose to play the “chase” by my rules.
And, I won! In September 2012, I visited my last park in Houston. Oddly enough, it was a bit bittersweet. On one hand, I was thrilled…so excited that I had completed a baseball “tour de force” in less than two years after returning from Japan. And, on the other, I was also sad. What would occupy my time? What would drive me during the subsequent seasons? Thankfully, I reasoned that it wasn’t an end of my tour, but the beginning of another chance to re-visit some of my favorite parks…any park, for no reason, other than the sheer love of the game.
I still am a girl who loves baseball…and some days…most days…it loves me back!
With comments, please email: “The Girl” (aka Linda) at firstname.lastname@example.org