54 Years of Watching Major League Baseball Games

Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

June 9 is a special day since the last two major league games I have seen have been at Minute Maid Park in Houston on June 9, 2009 and again last night on the same date two years later.

The first time we were in the nosebleed seats down the left field line when the Cubs played the Astros. The seats were only $7 but were so far from field, it was almost like not being there.

The players looked like little stickmen that night and it was difficult to tell one player from another.


19th Row of Right Field Bleachers

However, last night was totally different as we sat in the 19th row of seats in the right field bleachers in the first deck.

The only negative thing about the seats was that we were on the wrong side of the giant scoreboard so we couldn’t see it at all.


Saved At Least $13

The seats cost $21 each, which included a free hot dog, chips and 16 ounce soft drink. The seats were regularly $27 each so it is safe to say that we saved at least $7 on the free food and $6 on the seats for a savings of at least $13 and maybe even more depending on the price of the food and drinks.

Sitting in the right field seats, we could see the rightfielders Hunter Pence for the Astros and John Jay and Skip Schumaker who both played right field during the game for the Cardinals.


Pence Extended Hitting Streak To 20 Games

It was exciting to see Hunter Pence extend his hitting streak to 20 games on an infield hit in the first inning. Then later that inning Brett Wallace singled to left field scoring Pence, but Carlos Lee was tagged out when caught between second and third, ending the inning.

No reason to go into detail on all the scoring, since it was a one-sided game for the Cardinals. Ryan Theriot and Lance Berkman hit solo homers in the eighth and ninth innings to finish the 9-2 rout by the Cardinals.

One of the highlights of the game, was when reliever Wilkin Lopez sprinted full speed, from the center field bullpen to the pitcher’s mound, when relieving the starter J.A. Happ.


Grandson Enjoyed Cardinals Win

My grandson Matthew, enjoyed the win by the Cardinals, since he is a huge Albert Pujols fan. He wanted to see Pujols wear a Cardinals uniform one last time, since he is likely to test the free agency waters this fall and likely to sign with the highest bidder.

Matthew hopes to play in the major leagues someday and I hope he realizes that dream someday. A lot of things have to fall in place for that to happen, but seeing the game last night didn’t do anything to make him give up on his dream.


Saw My First Game in Philadelphia in 1957

It has been 54 years since I saw my first major league game when the Philadelphia Phillies hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates in Connie Mack Stadium. It was a kid’s dream come true to see the players in person that I had seen on television.

Roberto Clemente played in the game for the Pirates and Richie Ashburn played for the Phillies. Both would be admitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame with Clemente being voted in posthumously after dying in a plane crash to deliver food and supplies to earthquake victims.


Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris in Kansas City

One of my biggest thrills ever was seeing Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hit home runs in a doubleheader between the New York Yankees and Kansas City Athletics in Kansas City in 1962. It had been a year earlier when Maris had set a new season home run record in 1961.

Whitey Ford a Hall of Fame pitcher for the Yankees pitched in one of the games, pitching a nine inning complete game while pitching a 16 hitter. Those days are gone forever as no starter stays in a game today if he allows 16 hits.


Back to Last Night

Meanwhile back to last night, it reminded me once more of how much I love the slow pace of baseball games, which is the reason some people don’t like it.

I can see where fans could tire of the length of the games. Last night’s game was over three hours and played in front of 24,000 fans. Most of the fans left after the Astros failed to score in the seventh inning, as the fans poured out of the stands.

The temperature was 73 degrees since the roof was closed during the game on a muggy day in Houston.


Night to Remember

Last night was a night to remember. The game had plenty of scoring by the Cardinals while the Astros were 1-8 with runners in scoring position which was disappointing to Astros fans.

There is something about a well manicured baseball field that makes watching a baseball game special. The result of the game may not have pleased the Astros fans, but I expect a lot of the same fans to be there tonight when the Atlanta Braves take the field in Minute Maid Park tonight.

The more baseball changes, the more it stays the same. From being a 12-year-old kid watching my first game in Philadelphia 54 years ago to watching the game last night at the age of 66, I am still a kid at heart.