A Night at the Ballpark

My dad loves going to baseball games, but he’s not really a fan. What he is, is a fan of the atmosphere. He loves ballparks, peanuts, popcorn, and kosher hot dogs. He doesn’t go to too many games, but ever since he’s lived in Houston he goes to a few Astros games a year.

I’m even less of a fan than dad is. I didn’t grow up with a favorite team, or in a city with MLB. I never watched it on TV, though I did, inexplicably, play on my high school team. Still, I usually don’t mind sitting at the park on a nice night once in a while. (I learned my lesson not to go to summer day games in Texas anymore.)

The season is drawing to a close now, and dad hadn’t seen any games so far this year, and this was the last week in his schedule that there would be an Astros’ homestand. So I obliged him, and we took off to Minute Maid Field last night sans wives (much to their relief).

If there’s anything sadder than a Monday night game, it’s a September Monday night game featuring two teams fighting for last place in their division. Actually, it wasn’t much of a fight, as the Cubs, 15 games out of fourth place, are about 10 games ahead of the woeful Astros.

Let’s just say we had the park to ourselves:

If a Realtor® ever tells you to unclutter your house before you show it to potential buyers, that’s what it should look like.

I’m sure it was a good game, but when the radio announcer piped into the bathroom says that it’s a slow game, you know you’re in for quite a night. I haven’t been to a ballgame in a while, but I don’t remember it taking three hours to get to the seventh inning stretch.

But let’s get to the good stuff. The roof was open. I’ve never been at Minute Maid with the roof open, and it’s a good place to play. And the weather was bearable until about 10 pm, when the humidity became stultifying. I had a tasty turkey burger with avocado, not something I would ever get at a baseball game, but hey, dad got us tickets in the fancy club section. When you’re 50 games out of first, you sell $35 club seats, including a $15 voucher for food. We ate in the A/C too. Alas, since Nathan’s took over this year, there were no kosher hot dogs for dad, so he had chicken fingers instead. They passed my quality assurance test.

Another advantage of attending a weeknight game between losers at the end of the season? You get the souvenir bucket of popcorn for the price of a small! Now dad can eat popcorn out of this bucket all winter long.

And finally, what I’m sure everyone has been waiting for, the souvenir I brought home to my wife, as penance for not seeing her all day, since I was gallivanting to the game before she got home from work. Now, she didn’t ask me for a souvenir, and I guarantee you she doesn’t want any Astros paraphernalia sitting around the house. So don’t judge me.

Yes, that’s a genuine pink Astros batting helmet ice cream cup she can throw away as soon as she wants. What better souvenir from such a memorable game?

What did you do last night?

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