When I was 6 years old, my father, Howard, and uncle Mike took me to a Rochester Red Wings game, a western New Yorkbased minor league team then affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles.
After devouring a hot dog drenched in ketchup, I asked them if we could leave.
Problem is, the game’s first pitch was just thrown and nobody else wanted to go.
Once my father denied the request, I started blubbering as if TV executives had canceled “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Fast forward 20 years, and my love for sitting in upper decks and filling out scorecards has grown into an almost unhealthy obsession for seeing baseball games live in person.
I’ve attended hundreds of minor league, major league and college level games.
None come to mind more than watching the World Series in Detroit a year ago.
With a good college buddy, I parlayed a successful casino trip into purchasing World Series tickets just before Game 4 started. On a whim with some extra cash, we drove up to Detroit and bought tickets from someone wanting to get rid of the seats.
I joyfully yelled as the usher successfully scanned my ticket. Already lucky once that day, I needed to take another gamble to watch the Fall Classic. The game had been sold out for days, and the only way to get in was to buy tickets from someone selling them.
We ended up seeing the San Francisco Giants win their second championship in three years. My buddy was ecstatic, being a lifelong Giants fan and all.
I took a risk because I love watching baseball.
From kids screaming for their favorite players to vendors hollering personal beer calls, it’s all fun for me.
Another good sound? Take a walk to the bullpen the next time a relief pitcher is warming up. I love hearing a catcher’s mitt snap when catching a fastball. It sounds like one huge popcorn kernel popping.
I’ve been to about 15 Major League Baseball stadiums — including to Progressive Field at least 50 times — in my life, about half as many as the Seilers.
But one day, a dream of mine is to visit each professional stadium at least once during one individual season and chronicle my experiences. I’d like to talk to ushers, vendors, fans and stadium workers to hear their stories and share them with others.