A few notes first, though. First off, they seemed to have fixed the internet at work, but they blocked MLB.com with it. I'm not very happy about that development. But, I guess I can't complain too hard. I'll just have to start recording Cubs games. At least I won't ruin them for myself now.
Secondly, I didn't watch much last night, so no recap post today. I bought a car instead. Talked the guy down from $3000 to $2500, mostly on account of the odometer being broken. He probably knew this ahead of time, but he played it like it was a surprise. After he accepted that I wasn't lying to him, though, he caved pretty quick. Nothing special, but it'll get me through a year or two until I get something nicer. Might keep it around if it's as good on gas as I'm anticipating. I'll post a picture of it maybe once I get it cleaned up.
Next, we do have some sports notes, but not baseball. The only thing I did watch last night was the last half of the Blackhawks and Blues. I've finally turned into an unabashed Blackhawks fan, though the Blues do still hold a place in my heart. I didn't even realize they were playing, I thought it was on Thursday. But, my brother sent me a text telling me the Blackhawks weren't looking too good. When I turned the game on, though, it was tied at two. I guess I missed the controversial goal, and the replays I saw were pretty brief. The game went to overtime before nailing a sweet pass to a breaking Jonathan Toews, who put it away for the 4-3 Chicago win. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that punched their playoff ticket. If they can at least manage to get one of these last two games against Detroit to overtime, it definitely will.
On the hardwood, the Pacers did officially punch their ticket to the playoffs. First time in five years. I didn't see any of the game, but they walloped the Wizards from all I read. There are playoff tickets for $20, which I'm sure is up in the nosebleeds, but I've never been to any professional playoff game before, so I'm thinking I might find a way to make it to one of the games. First have to make sure of when and who they're playing. I'm guessing it will be Chicago, so Conseco will probably be pretty Bulls heavy. Still, congrats to the Pacers. I used to be a pretty big NBA fan when I was younger and watched the Pacers a lot. I drifted away through high school and college. Sort of paid attention, but not closely at all. Then after going to a couple Pacers games during my senior year of college, I was back on the bandwagon. I still wouldn't call myself an NBA fan, but I am a Pacers fan.
Now, to the baseball part of this post. I didn't watch any yesterday and only half paid attention to the Cubs game, so I can't really tell you anything about that. What I can tell you about is my first trip to a major league game. That's a big moment for any baseball fan, and I'm sure you ask just about anybody about the first game they went to. Or at least the first one they were old enough to remember. Going to other sporting events is cool, too, but there's something about that first baseball game. Something about walking into that stadium for the first time and seeing the field with your own eyes. I think it has to do with the uniqueness of baseball stadiums. That's a post for another day, though. Maybe soon.
This post is about my trip to old Busch Stadium. I was pretty young, though I don't remember exactly how old. I'll say about 8 or so. That feels right. This was back in the day when you could walk up on game day and buy decent seats for $12 a pop. I don't know why that memory sticks with me, but it does. We sat in the loge section. I was a Cubs fan, but I've always been able to watch about any baseball game that's on, so I was thrilled. My brother was probably even more thrilled, being a Cards fan. Everybody was pretty bummed about Ozzie Smith being hurt, though. It was towards the end of his career. The Cards played the Mets that day, and it was a back and forth game. I remember it being warm, but not too warm. I've been in some pretty miserably hot days in Busch Stadium, this was not one of them.* The big things that stick out from the game itself was an argument about where a ball on the wall. There used to be (maybe still is, I can't remember now) a yellow line that went around the top of the wall at Busch. A ball hit that line, and it was ruled a home run, even though it didn't clear the fence. Some funky ground rule, I guess, I never quite understood that one. The other thing was Bernard Gilkey (as a Cardinal) hitting a no-doubt home run. My brother (we'll say he was six then) jumped out of his seat far enough that it flipped up, but not so far that he was aiming to land on his feet. So, he landed hard on his behind on the cement, which I'm sure smarted, but not as much as his elbow, which he had smashed on the armrest on the way down. It hurt, but I don't think it dampened his day. The Cards won, but I don't remember the final score.
*I would hate to ask my dad how much we spent on soft drinks (mostly lemonade, if I remember right) watching the Cards and Brewers once. The Brewers won that game, which I think was also the first time I'd been to a big league game and the home team lost. I guess I was a bit of a lucky charm or something.
That was also the day I realized what a scourge Astroturf was. I was already kind of set against it from watching on TV. You could definitely tell a big difference between Busch and Wrigley. To see it in person, though, it looked awful, the ball didn't have anything like a natural bounce. It sure didn't look comfortable in any respect. FieldTurf is better, but I can tell you first hand it still doesn't hold a candle to natural grass. The only time FieldTurf ought to be used is when you're in a dome, and if you can have open air stadiums in Minnesota and Boston, there's no reason anybody should be playing baseball in a dome. I'm not a huge fan of football in a dome, either, but again, another day. I hope some day Toronto will come to its senses and either take the roof off Rogers Centre or build a new place where they can play on true Canadian soil. I don't know what to do about Tampa. They need a new stadium, but they need to actually draw some fans before that. My idea would be move them out west. If there's going to be a four team division, I would rather see it be an AL East with New York, Boston, Toronto, and Baltimore than an AL West with Texas, California*, Oakland, and Seattle. Move them to, I don't know, Portland or something. The NBA does well there, surely they would embrace a big league team. Probably have to build a stadium, though. Still, you get the idea.
*Don't get me started on this "Los Angeles of Anaheim" crap. They had a perfectly good name (and uniform) before. I'll try to get used to the Angels being a red team, but I'm still calling them California, or Anaheim if you really twist my arm.
Wow, okay. That's my rambling for today. I was trying to tell a story about my first big league game, and landed on Astroturf and division realignment. I think I've kind of decided on a weekday schedule, probably excluding holidays. But we'll see when one rolls around. See