The Baseball Expedition

December 4, 2009
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“Back, back, back, back…gone. Home run!” The great Chris Berman’s home run call gets to me as I hear it so much on ESPN while many baseball players hit monstrous homeruns that travel over four hundred feet. I wish I could witness that in person.

One night, the idea of a homerun came to me as I was going to my first Cardinals game. I was just so excited I couldn’t stand still; I felt some sort of adrenaline come over me, and I just couldn’t stay calm. Just picturing myself in the stadium with all the ball players and other fans gave me a sense of belonging.

As my family and I were headed down town, images of the stadium came to mind. I could picture seeing it from the outside. The arches on top faced toward the sky as a reflection of the sun beamed through them. All the walkways in the stadium were slanting upward and downward. Railings support the outside of the walkway as it shines in a dull red. People lined up to go into the stadium as some waited to pickup tickets, and others anticipated the rush into the stadium to find their seats. I just couldn’t wait.

My dad found a parking spot for five dollars right near the Scottrade Center (where the St. Louis Blues play). I felt such a burst of energy rush through me, willing me to get in the stadium so quick. We walked a few blocks as the Arch came into play right behind Busch Stadium. The Arch was so tall compared to the forty year old stadium. Once we hurried to our seats, I could smell the freshly cooked hot dogs and feel the stickiness of the old, concrete floor. I could feel a sense of rivalry going on as taunts were shared among the fans.
Watching all the ball players playing long toss made me remember when I do that with my dad, but their batting practice didn’t compare to how I batted (Just kidding). As I watched the practice, I saw all the players hitting the ball well as it clearly traveled over three hundred feet every time. Such power rushed over me as I knew that I wanted to be able to do that. Back in our hard, red seats, we watched the game as McGwire hit a homerun midway through the game. I remember the loud cheers that couldn’t over power the noise from the big fireworks. The mad outburst got louder when the fireworks came after each other one by one. Each went higher than the previous sudden burst of color. The cheers then faded out as McGwire headed in toward his dugout to get ready to play out in the field, but suddenly, cheers got louder again when no one was batting. This was a strange phenomenon as I didn’t know what was going on.
It turned out that everyone couldn’t hold their excitement as McGwire was called out for a standing ovation. I clapped my hands so hard they got sore and numb; adrenaline was rushing through that excitement which caused me such exhilaration. All people ranging in different heights, expressions, and ethnicities sat down as they wanted the game to continue. The Cardinals won the game; I believed that I was their good luck charm. Whenever I cheered as loud as I could, I believed that was how I knew I was good luck. I left the jam packed stadium with a big smile on my face that grew more and more as I couldn’t get over the fact about the outcome of the game. I felt that I gained more experience of the sport by being their in person; it felt better then watching the game on ESPN. I knew I would get more detail in person.
After the game, I felt that the stadiums of all ballparks were significant to Busch Stadium in a way that all portray so many visuals and all the smells of fresh cooked food in the air. It was then when my goal was to visit every stadium in the country someday. Up to this day, I have only been to two major league stadiums: Busch Stadium, and the Great American Ball Park (where the Cincinnati Reds play). The Cardinals played the Reds that day.
This ballpark was different. When you walked up to it, there were windows of glass and many double doors beneath it. Couldn’t see much from the outside, but the red smoke stacks had my attention. They had the Reds logo on it and smoke would come out through them along with fireworks whenever the home team hit a homerun. The lights poles hanged so high as it towered over the stadium. The sunlight beamed to create a great contrast of light and dark on the field as part of the field had some shade. The outfield was mowed in perfect rows with a pattern of dark grass to light grass as it repeated. I felt as if the hot dogs taunted me here as they did at Busch Stadium. Very few ramps slanted up and down to get to other seats. The seats were like a fierce red as it forced me to sit. The giant scoreboard also caught my attention as it stretched well over thirty feet.
Lucky for me, Albert Pujols and Rick Ankiel hit back to back homeruns. It was another momentous moment that I would cherish forever. Mitchell Boggs pitched for us that day as he was just called up from the minors. He was on fire when he went through five innings of pitching while only allowing four hits. Ludwick also hit a homerun that day as I was ecstatic to see so many homeruns by the Cardinals that day. Ludwick also had four RBIs that day (runs batted in) as that the most by any player that day. Cardinals won the game 7-2 as I left the stadium with a smile. As long as I followed the Cardinals as I try to visit all major league stadiums, they should always win.
Visiting stadiums makes me feel like a kid as I always get too excited going from game to game. One thing I knew was that I wouldn’t be this little kid forever, and I would have to grow up; this kid couldn’t be the one who controls the rest of my life. As the great Roy Campanella says, “You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you.”

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