Summer is right around the corner, and for those of us in southern California that means sunshine, beaches and —you guessed it —baseball. California has a whopping five Major League Baseball teams. Two teams are based right here in the Los Angeles area, so there is almost always a game to go see.
“But what if I don’t like baseball?” you ask.
There are plenty of reasons why you can enjoy a baseball game, even if you are not familiar with the sport. Here are some reasons anyone can enjoy a baseball game, and don’t worry, I already organized them from the beginning of the game to the end.
Yes, tailgating is most commonly associated with football, especially college football, but baseball games bring out tailgates as well. It’s basically just a big cookout in the parking lot of the stadium with food, games and music. Bring out your cornhole set and a speaker to join in on one of the greatest parts of America’s favorite pastime.
California is known for its beautiful views over the ocean, mountains and city skylines. With all this natural beauty around, stadiums can easily take advantage and show off the beauty within the state. For us northern Californians, Oracle Park —formerly known as AT&T Park— in San Francisco is located in the heart of the city and has beautiful views over the bay. If you catch a late afternoon game, chances are you’ll be watching the sunset rather than the game. Petco Park in San Diego boasts a view into Downtown that is hard to beat. Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles looks out at the mountains in the distance and with the palm trees in the foreground, the feel of Southern California stays alive.
Before the game starts, the baseball nerds love to go into the stadium and watch the players take batting practice. If you don’t understand why someone would go to watch professional athletes practice, let me explain: these players are just warming up and they are still hitting baseballs over 350 or 400 feet with casual swings. If that doesn’t interest you, maybe you’ll like seeing the famous singers, choirs or military veterans sing the national anthem. Or maybe you want to see celebrities try and throw out the first pitch, a la 50 Cent. Maybe seeing a 100-year-old fan clad in their favorite team’s gear start the game by saying “play ball” into a microphone will warm your heart. If none of this tickles your fancy, you can just go get some food.
The Game Itself
I know this article is for people who don’t necessarily like baseball that much, but come on, the game is cool too. Think about it like this: you’re watching human beings throw a ball over 90 mph and sometimes with physics-breaking spins that make the ball curve and drop off the edge of a table, so to speak. If you go 90 miles per hour in your car, most of the time you’re getting pulled over and receiving a speeding ticket. That is how fast the ball is moving. On the other end, a dude with a decently large stick is trying to hit the round ball. Sometimes, he hits it over 400 feet. For reference, a football field is 360 feet. For those of you that do like baseball, you can attest to how much fun it is to watch a close game in the ninth inning.
Baseball stadiums are notorious for their wild food options. From the classic Dodger Dog at Dodger Stadium, to the Closer in Pittsburgh —two grilled cheese sandwiches with more cheese and bacon stuffed between them —you can never go wrong with baseball food, expensive as it may be. Other food options include, the Dodgers’ meatball marinara fries, The Angels’ poke burrito and the Padres’ triple threat — pulled pork, bacon and schnitzel.
The Interactions With Strangers
“Cole, what are you doing with that title? Are you telling me to talk to strangers?”
I absolutely am. This one is for the extroverts out there. Make friends with the people sitting near you. If you don’t know much about the sport, chances are they’ll be glad to help you out. Plus, it is always fun to have someone to be excited with when exciting things happen in the game. Have you ever high-fived a random people because another person, that none of you know personally, hit a ball really far? I have. And it was great.
The Walk Up and Pitching Songs
Baseball players choose some of the best songs to walk up to the plate with for their at bat. Xander Bogaerts uses “X Gon’ Give it to Ya” by DMX, for obvious reasons. Mariano Rivera used “Enter Sandman” by Metallica just because it was dope. Anthony Rizzo and Kike Hernandez, among others, used a “Lovesick Blues” remix sung by the Yodelling Walmart Kid, Mason Ramsey. I have even heard “Gasolina” by Daddy Yankee and “Day ‘n’ Nite” by Kid Cudi used as walk up songs. Whatever music you like to listen to it will probably be represented, and it’s always fun to see an entire stadium rock out to “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan.
Baseball stadiums and teams have their own set of traditions for home games, and they are always fun to be a part of. The Boston Red Sox famously sing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” in the middle of the eighth inning. The Milwaukee Brewers have a Sausage race, which is where people dress up in sausage costumes and race around Miller Park. The Los Angeles Angels have a rally monkey, and the San Francisco Giants have fans in boats and kayaks in McCovey Cove waiting for home run balls to find the water outside the stadium.
The atmosphere at baseball games is different than any other sporting event. Baseball brings in a lot of casual fans because the game lends itself to that type of environment. Of course, there are the occasional fans who want to argue with the umpire even though those fans are sitting in the nosebleeds and the umpire is two feet away from the play. However, most of the stadium will band together to make those people chill out. So take a minute and just walk around the stadium to take in all the things it has to offer: the food, drinks, views and games. Chances are you won’t miss much of the game on your journey.
Since number six was for the extroverts, this one is for the introverts. Going home is arguably the best part of going to a baseball game. I mean, have you ever met a person that doesn’t like going home at the end of a long day? No. No, you haven’t. Going to a baseball game is a long time commitment. Although going to a baseball game is a very rewarding and fun experience, going home after the game is a great feeling. Yes, you have to deal with the foot and car traffic while leaving the game, but that is what good music and friends are for: they make the time pass quickly.