Take Me Out to the Ballgame... But Leave Your Cellphone at Home
I am a huge baseball fan, and so the start of any new season is exciting for me. Sadly though, over the last few years work commitments and a distinct lack of money have prevented me from experiencing games in any other way than via the far too expensive - but well worth it - big screen TV that the boyfriend and I did indulge ourselves in (not only good for sports, things like the zombies from the Walking Dead look so much better in 1080p hi def too!)
However, as a New York Yankees fan and with the Captain himself Derek Jeter retiring this year, we have made a pact that we will get to at least a few games this season, even if it means on cutting out a few other excursions. So last week off we went to the ballpark, gloves in hand (catching a Derek Jeter foul ball this season would be pretty special) looking forward to a great afternoon of baseball and brews.
Not having been to the ballpark in a while I could not help but notice that more than a few things have changed. And more than a few have not. Parking is still a nightmare at the stadium and beer is still laughably expensive, $6.50 for about 8oz. Against that soda is $4 so why not go for the hard stuff, if Coors Light can really be called that. 'Real' baseball food is getting harder to find as well, we had to pass by five or six 'gourmet' food stands (who eats gourmet food the ballpark?) to find a good old fashioned hot dog, a plain one with just the dog and the bun, not a myriad of weird looking toppings.
All of those things have been minor annoyances at the ballpark for years though. And it's not just baseball or even just sports events, everywhere you go food is getting more ridiculously expensive and further away from the food we used to know. So it was not these expected problems that almost ruined my day, it was the behavior of some of the other fans.
Having not treated ourselves to a day at the ballpark for so long we had opted for mid-priced seats. It was a good turnout on the day, if the weather is decent it usually is for an afternoon game, but for once no one appeared to have stolen our seats although the row was otherwise packed. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted what looked like a group of business people - there were both men and women - who appeared to be playing hooky from the office. At the time I thought good for them, nothing like leaving work behind for a great day of hardball. I wasn't thinking that soon though.
From the moment the first pitch was thrown I could not hear the sounds that I love so much when watching baseball; the crack of the bat, the smack of the ball hitting leather. No, all I could hear was incessant ringing of cellphones and constant chatter from the group of business types who were obviously still conducting business and paying no attention to the game - or to the fact that their behavior was disturbing other people's enjoyment - at all. They did get some dirty looks and one man asked them to quiet it down, but it did no good. Eventually it became so annoying we left our good seats and headed up to sit in a couple of empty spots in the nosebleed section. We could obviously not see as well and had no chance of catching a ball, but at least we were away from all of that.
So I have a message for those business people and everyone else too. Cellphones are great. I love mine. But there are certain places that they do not belong. The ballpark is one of them but so is the movie theater or a concert. If you are really so important that you cannot live without your phone for a few hours then please go back to your glass tower and let the rest of us get on with enjoying ourselves and escaping the world for a while!