Editor’s note: I think every fan has some version of a baseball bucket list. Here is Doug Bird’s.
I’ve been a baseball fan (actually fanatic would be more accurate), all of my life but living in Canada has made it any easier, until the advent of the Internet and various television packages.
Sure, there are the Blue Jays, a mere six hour drive from my door, but that is in Toronto, a place reviled by the vast majority of Canadians.
Besides, until recently, the Jays have always struck me as a whiney “look at us we won a game; or we lost, and it’s not our fault” collection of prima donnas. I get enough of that from other sources.
There are four events which still remain on my to do baseball list and although time is certainly not running out (knock on my Louisville Slugger), I would like to cross them off my list in the near future.
I’ve never experienced the warmth of a March day while seated blissfully in the stands, watching my favourite players go through the rituals of exhibition baseball. There is a relaxed ” we are still tied for first place mentality on the field and in the stands, a kind of let’s get reacquainted with each other” experience, or so I’m told. It would be a chance to get away from the finances and scandals and any of the other distractions which eventually see the light of day during the regular season. Besides, it would give me a chance to see my Pirates lose and still enjoy the weather.
The baseball Hall of Fame is nestled in a quiet corner of northern New York state just far enough off the beaten track on my way to Pittsburgh to causes my wife, the driver, to exclaim, “Maybe next time honey, I only have four days off” I’ve shown her the pamphlet, the pictures of the inductee plaques, the interactive exhibitions and the beautiful grounds yet still I have not ventured onto this sacred place. Not even the induction of our beloved Montreal Expo Andre Dawson was enough to take that right turn. I’d like to visit before it becomes tainted with the likes of Bonds, Clemens et al.
The World Serious
Not a typo. Football fans can talk about their Super Bowl, (really, a championship game named after something you put chips or tacos in?), the endless NHL and NBA playoffs, or any other championship events– baseball is the one. Why do you think they refer to it as the World Serious?
The difficulty in attending one of these hallowed games, officially called the World Series, is the uncertainty of the participants until only days prior. A game could be on the far away west coast, the only slightly closer Southern coast, or the Midwest or Southwest. Why mention New York or Boston as in the event one could even find scalpers tickets or a hotel room or flight for that matter, well, no one pays me that much money? Maybe the Pirates (that should give me time to save up.)
The All-Star Game
At least there is lots of advance warning for this game. Baseball designates the host city at minimum two years in advance, plenty of time for me to plan my all-star weekend adventure. I’d spring for the whole extravaganza, the heck with the mortgage money. I’d want to meet all the players I could, get everything signed and maybe even shake the hand of my childhood heroes (if Hank and Willie managed to be there.) I’d like to catch a baseball from the homerun derby. I’d like to step out onto the field, if only for a second or two. Sit down Mr. McCutchen, I’m buying.
One of these days-one of these days.