The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Nostalgialistic: Another day at the ballpark

The life-long love for the game of baseball
My friends from high school and I posing for a picture before a game between the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers. I made the amateur decision of buying tickets directly in the sun and not bringing sunglasses with me to the game.

For as long as I can remember, baseball has been an ever-constant presence throughout my life. My earliest memories resort to me glued to the TV screen during a baseball game and going out in the backyard with a wiffleball bat and imitating every batting stance of my favorite players. 

Whether it be Gary Sheffield’s iconic bat waggle as he looked to hit a ball into the stratosphere or the incredibly smooth stance of Albert Pujols, a young impressionable mind dreamt of being on the same stage as those players. 

While things may have not worked out the way I thought they would as I simply couldn’t hit water if I fell off the boat when I played the game, my love for America’s pastime has never faded. 

Watching baseball on TV is one thing and while it can be exciting in spurts, sometimes a game on TV is best suited for ambient noise for an afternoon nap. Where the real magic happens for me with baseball is watching games in person. 

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Having the privilege of going to games at six different major league stadiums is something I’ve never taken for granted and every game I’ve gone to has had its unique charms and stories. 

The first game I ever went to was Father’s Day 2008 when the Brewers played the Minnesota Twins and the tickets my mom got us were a surprise gift for my dad. Out of the three of us, I was probably the most excited to go and ever since that game, we’ve made it a tradition to venture down to Milwaukee for a game during the summertime. 

Those traditions have kept up every summer and we have never missed an opportunity to go to games anywhere, which has created some iconic and sometimes embarrassing moments for me.  

Whether it be almost getting drilled in the face with a batting practice home run in Denver because I lost the ball in the high Colorado sky or falling on my rear end trying to get a ball thrown to me by Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, nothing fails to amuse me quite like a day at the ballpark. 

I’ve also had great opportunities to catch game-used balls at games (I’ve got six in my collection) and get autographs from some of the biggest names in the game such as future Hall of Fame manager Dusty Baker and five-time Gold Glover Jason Heyward

For those who want to venture out to a game this season, my advice to you is to get to the game when the gates open and walk around the stadium. Each stadium, no matter how good or bad it looks (Oakland Coliseum I’m looking at you) has its unique charms that give the whole game experience character.

Why I also recommend getting to games early because you can watch the spectacle of batting practice and get the opportunity to get close to the field to get autographs from your favorite players. 

As this new season gets underway, take the chance of going to a baseball game at any level because you never know what can happen on a given day. Whether you witness a no-hitter, a walk-off home run or an offensive scoring fest, you never know what you will see at the ballpark. 

Watching a game in person is such a treat not because of the on-field action but the bleacher creatures that give the game its full awesomeness. I’ve heard Mets fans yell some of the most creative insults at Cubs players that it felt like I was watching the game at a comedy club.

Some fanbases give this game more zest and flavor, whether it be those relentless hecklers with the Mets and the Yankees or the most politely smug fans in St. Louis and Chicago, watching games with those people makes the experience even more awesome. 

So as this new MLB season gets kicked off, grab yourself a ticket and head out to the ballpark for a game. Don’t be like me playing baseball and strike out looking every time, take a swing and enjoy a day at the ballpark. Play ball!!

Mikalofsky can be reached at [email protected].

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