Feels Like the First Time

Last night in what felt like the first time in forever, the kid and I ventured out to mingle with the masses in the most public way possible: at a baseball game.

Surprisingly it wasn’t at Dodger Stadium as it usually is. This time, we drove those short 13 miles down to Anaheim Stadium to watch the Angels take on the Colorado Rockies which, for all intents and purposes, was a completely meaningless game with both teams not being in the best position for post-season contention.

Stadium entrance.

But there are several reasons we went. First, Shohei Ohtani was pitching and unless you’ve been living under a rock, the man is putting up Ruthian numbers and still going. For the uninformed, he’s a Japanese two-way player meaning he both pitches and bats and he’s good at both of those things – very good. It’s an extraordinary talent that we had to see for ourselves.

Shohei Ohtani warming up pre-game. Maxed out the zoom on my iPhone for this, obviously.

Second, the tickets were cheap. Like dirt cheap. And third, Anaheim Stadium is close, convenient, and honestly a pretty nice ballpark. Despite my allegiance to the Dodgers, the first baseball game I went to was here so there’s a little sentimental factor as well. Plus my brother and I went to plenty games there for years and I know my way around. It was also where Anthony saw his first ballgame but it was so long ago, he doesn’t remember it.

But beyond those reasons, the biggest deal was being in a group this large in well over a year. With Major League Baseball restricting fans to attend games during the shortened 2020 season, then local governments starting to ease up on COVID restrictions and allowing fans in low numbers then finally full capacity, going back to a ballgame was a bigger deal than it had been in the past and we were ready for it. But things were a little different.

The main thing is that the venue is now cashless. Only credit and debit cards are accepted so if you want to pay cash for those peanuts and Cracker Jacks, tough nuts. The other, of course, pertains to wearing a facial covering. Fully vaccinated fans are not required to wear one but non-vaccinated fans must. With nobody checking for vax cards, it’s an honor system and most in attendance were maskless. Let’s hope for the best.

Our seats were pretty good with a slightly obscured view. We arrived during batting practice and almost got a few baseballs that were hit into the seats – and also watched as a few fans who were not paying attention almost got their teeth knocked out by hit balls. Lesson: it’s a ballgame, not karaoke night at the bar.

Wide-angle view from our seats.

The vibe was the same as any other pre-COVID game and everyone was having a good time so if you didn’t know any better, the thought of where we were just a year ago would have never entered your mind. We’re still not where we should be (nor do I believe we’ll ever get there with anti-vaxxers being anti-vaxxers), but just to step out of the house for a few hours and take in something so normal as a baseball game felt brand new. And it was nice.

Fireworks during pre-game introductions.

We ate a lot. We participated in The Wave. We ate some more. Chatted with fans around us, took some pictures, had a good time. Then rolled on home and went to bed.

It was about the most normal thing we’ve done in a long time and it was good to be a part of it, or at least get some semblance of normalcy back into our lives.

Our next big adventure: the rescheduled Foo Fighters concert in about a month. This will be our first concert since Elton John a few years ago and out first time seeing them live, so it’s already on its way to being an epic happening.

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