“Let’s ride” is the battle cry of Denver’s latest quarterback hopeful, Russell Wilson (love him!!!). But before delving too deeply into the frenzied atmosphere of pro football, kick back some lazy afternoon in Coors Field at a Rockies game.
Yes, the team has been mired at or near the bottom of the NL West and unless they start tearing up the bases, won’t make the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
So what if the baseball gods haven’t smiled down and granted Colorado a winning season lately? The faithful know it’s not always about that.
What it is about is letting yourself soak up as many tranquil and fun-filled moments as possible in a safe, outdoor space after being cooped up during that darn pandemic.
It’s about coming together to enjoy a sport that’s a lot less raucous than testosterone-driven football, basketball, and hockey. No shade … just the truth.
There’s nothing like watching Charlie Blackmon or Randal Grichuk swing for the fences and send one arcing over the field and into the seats. The crack of the bat, followed by the roar of the crowd the second the ball is “outta here,” causes folks to throw up their hands without even thinking.
Unbridled celebrations with high-fives and fist bumps are sometimes greeted with smiles from fans of the visiting team who appreciate the beauty of America’s game.
Temporary camaraderie with a stranger can create good vibes that are dispersed into the universe. Every bit of positivity, no matter how small, is helpful during these troubled times.
Attending a ballgame is not always Kumbaya. There are knuckleheads who drink and get into fights, but they are usually bro’s who come out for night games with other bro’s planning to party and get rowdy.
Afternoon games tend to be populated with more genteel types such as grandparents and moms and dads with kids who don’t act the fool after a few too many sodas.
While bench clearing brawls can happen day or night, the most common on-field flare-up is ignited by a player or manager getting thrown out of the game.
It’s soooo much fun when the skipper pops out of the dugout to jaw with the home plate umpire over a called strike, especially when the home team is losing badly.
The manager’s hilarious performance is often designed to get fans to rain down boos on the dastardly ump and help spark his players to rally and make a comeback.
An understandable knock against major league games is how slow, and boring nine innings can be. It’s been compared to opera, in which restlessness creeps in during periods of lackluster storytelling until a stirring aria is sung.
Similarly, baseball fans who don’t enjoy a pitcher’s duel say a string of hitless innings breeds monotony until an exciting play gets them back into the game. One rule for speeding up the pace goes into effect next year that will place a timer on pitchers between throws.
As for hitters, already gone are the days of wandering away from the batter’s box to un-velcro gloves, take practice swings, adjust protective gear, spit, scratch, or whatever.
Batters are supposed to keep one foot touching the box unless one of several things happen, including but not limited to swinging at a pitch, being forced out of the box by a pitch, a play being made on a baserunner, a wild pitch being thrown or the ball gets by the catcher. The penalty is an automatic strike.
Another change this season is the National League joined the American League with having a designated hitter aka the DH. It’s an opportunity for teams to get more hits and runs instead of fans being subjected to plate appearances by pitchers who strike out 90% of the time.
It’s fabulous that the AVs are cool again following an impressive season that concluded with winning the Stanley Cup. The Nuggets have made the playoffs over the last four years and center Nikola Jokić is the NBA MVP for the second consecutive season.
However, the Broncos reign supreme. And yes, our collective blood pressure will skyrocket if they don’t win at least 10 games and make the playoffs. Anxiety will befall many in Broncos country if Russell Wilson can’t stay upright on his horse.
That’s why it would be good for your health to store up some serenity now with friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, business associates, etc., before baseball season ends in early October.
Root, root, root for the Rock-ies; if they don’t win, it’s a shame. But it’s not about that.
Jo Ann Allen has attended a baseball game in 24 of the current 30 MLB parks and 4 defunct stadiums. The veteran journalist covered the 1999 World Series won by her favorite team, The New York Yankees. She hosts the podcast Been There Done That and was a news anchor at Colorado Public Radio.
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