So how exactly did I become Mrs. Baseball Fan?
It didn’t start in childhood. My Dad followed our hometown team, but I don’t remember going to any games. I grew up with a vague knowledge of baseball, and I knew the basics, but the game seemed slow and not that interesting to me.
Fast forward twenty years.
I met a guy. Well, not just a guy; THE guy. At the time, I didn’t realize that he was also Mr. Baseball Fan. I thought he was just a regular awesome guy. Which was true, then and now: he is a regular awesome guy. But there’s more. There’s Baseball.
Fast forward six months.
Our first baseball game together was in Cleveland, about a three-hour drive away. Since the game was in the middle of the day, there was no talk of doing anything else while we were there, even the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The game was fun, but didn’t turn me into an instant baseball fiend myself.
A few years after that, I officially became Mrs. Baseball Fan. By this time, we had gone to many baseball games together, and although I was still only a nominal fan, I got along well enough. Over the next ten years or so, there were many more games, and we started a tradition of taking our kids to a game every Father’s Day. But one year, our lives changed.
The change came when MR. BF opened his Christmas present from his parents: a baseball “passport,” beautifully leather-bound, with pages for notes about each team and whatever game you went to, and even a spot to get a stamp from each stadium. It really was the perfect gift for someone who wants to see all the stadiums. It was too bad that he’d already been to so many of them, right?
When I looked at his face, I realized that he didn’t think it was too bad he’d already been to so many of them. He didn’t think that at all. As he started talking about when he could go back to Atlanta and Miami, I sputtered, “But…but…no. No, you’ve already been! Why would you go AGAIN?” He simply opened the book to show me the blank pages as if it were the most obvious answer in the world.
And there you go. It’s not like you can argue with a blank book, waiting to be filled.
Fast forward about five more years.
When we went to major league games at this point, they were relatively small parts of the family vacations to Seattle or Boston or wherever, not the whole vacation. By this time, there were only seven more stadiums left to see, and none of them fell into the category of “an easy drive.” Two in New York = a major trip, because it would include, well…New York. Five in California = even more to see and do. All together = “not happening soon.”
What’s a Baseball Fan to do, now that his passport is almost full, but the remaining pages will probably take a few more years before they’re completed? If you’re Mr. Baseball Fan, you go to several minor league baseball games in your areas. Even if it’s not a NEW stadium, it’s still fun.
And then life changed again.
While at one of those minor league games one sweltering summer afternoon, an idle thought popped into my head. The heat must have short circuited the wiring to my mouth, because instead of keeping that thought in my head where it belonged, I heard myself say, “just how many minor league teams ARE there, anyway?” And thus our fate was sealed. Mr. BF’s curiosity had been piqued, and there was no turning back.
Mr. BF discovered that there are not 10, not 25, not even 50 or 100 minor league teams in the United States and Canada. There are 160 minor league teams that are affiliated with major league teams, aka “farm teams.”
You know what’s coming next, right? Of course you do. There are new stadiums to see! I won’t go to every single one of them, but that’s ok. When I do go, I’ll need more incentive than just a baseball game to get me there. I need the frosting on that cupcake.
Luckily, Mr. BF likes those kinds of things as well, and there certainly are lots of things like that to be found throughout the entire country.
So although I might snark about going to yet ANOTHER baseball game, I’m truly looking forward to doing just that.