So, that’s it. My baseball stadium trip is over. Fifteen of thirty visited. Those of you with a maths degree will know that that is exactly 50% of them. Hopefully in 2009 or 2010 I will be able to come back and do the rest of them.
I’ve seen 15 Major League games (3 American League, 7 National League, and 5 Interleague games); I’ve seen 12 home-team victories; and I’ve seen 107 runs scored by 21 teams. It’s been fucking magnificent.
The game I saw earlier was at PETCO Park, home of the San Diego Padres. They were playing the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team who I don’t really like, and have managed to see three times on this trip. Decent stadium. The best bit, though, is “The Park in the Park,” a nice bit that’s outside the actual stadium, where there’s some bleachers and a little grassy hill where people can put down a rug and have a picnic whilst watching the game. Yay for that.
I didn’t sit there, though. Being the last game of my tour, I decided to splash out and get a good seat; seven rows behind the Padres’ dugout. It was pretty good being so close. I enjoyed all the more for being sat next to two very knowledgeable fellows who were entertaining all the way through (“84mph fastball? That’s an oxymoron right there!”). I’ve had some good luck with seeing good pitchers, but it was nice that I got to see two of the all-time greats pitch for the Padres. The starting pitcher was Greg Maddux (below), ninth on the all-time wins list. And their closing pitcher was Trevor Hoffman, first on the all-time saves list.
It was a good game, too. A fine game with home runs, errors, bases loaded jams, and a few broken bats. Eventually, Hoffman got the final out, the Padres won, and, well, it was time to leave. I lingered more than I normally would after a game. I kept taking one last look at the field, one last look at the stadium, and vowed to myself that I would come back as soon as possible to visit the other 15 stadiums. Of course, by then, I’ll feel a tinge of completism, and will need to go to Oakland again to see a game rather than just taking the stadium tour. And there’ll be two new stadiums in New York to see, too. Hurrah for baseball: you’re a fucking magic sport.
My time in the United States is also over; bar a few hours of sleep, my morning ablutions, a cab ride, and faffing around in the airport. It’s been an excellent two months here. I’d only ever been to the East Coast before coming on this trip, and I’ve loved exploring different places. Chicago was excellent, Milwaukee and Denver, too. But, for me the West Coast states – Washington, Oregon, and California – have been the highlights. It’s pretty special out here. Can I have a green card please, Mr Obama or Mr McCain?
Mexico City, here I come.