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#resound11: My best gift? Unplugging (at the game)

Today’s #resound11 prompt was an easy one to tackle. I’m still enjoying some of the benefits associated with it too.

What was the best gift you gave yourself this year?

Pilgrimage to Fenway. acnatta/Flickr.The best gift I gave myself this year was permission to enjoy myself while I was out on the road for the latter part of September. I did it doing the one thing I know that calms me down quickly – watching baseball.

The only thing better than watching baseball is watching baseball in cities with insanely loyal baseball fans. It just so happened that I got to visit three of those cities during that trip – and visit four of their ballparks.

It had long been a goal of mine to visit more Major League ballparks. Growing up a Yankees fan meant I didn’t have to necessarily wonder what it was like to go to oneI still wanted to know what it was like to watch a game somewhere else. I’d found it was the best way to escape the rest of the world for a while while letting the action just happen.

I wasn’t disappointed.

My first stop was Fenway Park in Boston, home to the Red Sox. I had a free evening before the ONA conference began. I fully expected to be standing for most of the game, assuming it would be an excuse to leave early. I arrived to learn it wasn’t sold out and scored a grandstand seat along the right field line. That yellow bar that looks like it’s coming out of my head in the photo is Pesky’s Pole. There was something about sitting in a wooden seat and being able to look out at the Green Monster that would make even the most diehard Yankees fan smile in sheer enjoyment. The scene around the ballpark was one that felt more like a festival – and one that was appreciated on the first evening of a long trip.

From New Yankee Stadium 9/25/2011. acnatta/Flickr.The next stop on the journey was a chance to enjoy New Yankee Stadium during my first visit home in two years. It also apparently not only marked the first time my brother and I attended a Yankees game together and his first ever Yankees vs. Red Sox game. The only thing weirder for me was the fact that the last time I’d attended a Yankees home game five years before, it was Yankees vs. Red Sox on the last Sunday evening of the regular season during a trip home.

Despite only getting to go to my first Yankees game at 14, I’d spent many spring and summer evenings at the old ballpark across the street before heading off to college. Being in the new ballpark was a bit surreal; knowing that the bleacher creatures now had full access to the entire stadium – from the Yankees Museum to the sushi bar to the Hard Rock Café – seemed a little wrong. The view from the upper deck though was incredible.

If only the final score had been. Luckily, I did get to see Mariano Rivera come in and pitch a perfect ninth inning (and I can say that I did get to see a classic Yanks/Red Sox game – all 15 innings of it).

Greetings from U.S. Cellular Field. acnatta/Flickr.The last official stop on the tour involved a stop on Chicago’s South Side to take in the home finale for the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. They were playing the Toronto Blue Jays and I got insanely cheap box seats along the third base line on what turned out to be a sunny afternoon in the Windy City. This is where I point out all three games were forecast to be affected by rainfall; all three games were played in entirety without so much as a delay.

The Cell was a nice ballpark, but it was also the smallest crowd of the three games. As a kid watching games on satellite television (The Bronx didn’t get cable until the mid 90s), I’d always wondered what it would have been like to watch a game at old Comiskey Park.

An interesting use of the bullpen by the Sox’s interim manager meant I never saw the home team win during this trip. I did get to enjoy four of MLB’s most cherished ballparks. Yes, I said four…

The Trip - bonus points @ Wrigley. acnatta/FlickrIt seems that my seventh trip to Chicago (in nearly nine years) would finally be my lucky one in one respect. While I did not see a game at the corner of Clark and Addison, I did get to make some history with 10,000 of my closest friends while getting a chance to watch one of my favorite movies of all time.

The folks at Groupon decided to host a 25th anniversary screening of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – complete with a Guinness World Record attempt for the most people singing in a round – at Wrigley Field. I didn’t think I’d be able to score tickets, but once I did I knew I couldn’t pass up the chance to step into yet another cathedral of the game.

What they didn’t tell us was we’d be attempting to sing Danke Schoen.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Z0i-H5EX8&w=625&autohide=0&showinfo=0]

Every once in a while you need an escape, even when you don’t want one. This is one time where I’m happy I let myself take the time to escape even if I wasn’t always sure I should. It’s suddenly become a lot easier to let myself relax more often as a result of unplugging from the rest of the world for a few hours at a time to enjoy the national pastime.

What kinds of gifts do you let yourself have and enjoy?

Cheers.

Photos: acnatta/Flickr.

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