Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Tickets to paradise
Over the years, I've come to a realization.
I'm kind of a sentimental guy.
I like to be able to tie certain things to single moments. I still have of my Little League trophies displayed nicely in my room. Old, rugged books I haven't read since fifth grade are still proud parts of my bookshelf.
No matter what, they'll always be special pieces to me. Either that, or I'm slowly becoming one of those hoarder people.
In a way, I guess that's why I've come to love the hobby so much over the years. As I always say, every baseball card contains a story.
And, if the photo is just right, you can actually trace some cards to a single moment in time. That method of "dating" cardboard is a pretty popular concept in the blogosphere.
That "moment in time" way of thinking is why I've saved all my tickets over the years. I don't know about you, but I could never bring myself to throw one of these things away.
A ticket to a baseball game is one of the most personal artifacts in this universe.
Take that Pirates-Cubs ticket stub at the top of the post, for instance. As part of my 8th grade "peer leader" group, I got to skip a whole day of school to watch the Cubs on that fateful afternoon.
I was the only one to buy a scorecard. We got there a bit late and missed the first couple batters. As far as the game itself went, it just wasn't the Cubs' day. (It rarely is.)
Even the lowly Pirates managed to crush my beloved Cubbies that afternoon. I distinctly remember Jeromy Burnitz hitting a towering homer in the Bucs' 8-0 victory.
Zach Duke, of all people, tossed a complete-game shutout that day.
Still, I couldn't have asked for much more.
It sure beat the heck out of school.
I blew off studying for my junior year finals to attend this Sox-Angels contest.
When a friend offers you a free ticket to a baseball game, you accept. No questions asked.
The fact that the Angels happen to be my favorite non-Chicago ballclub was just icing on the cake. Because of that, the 3-2 loss the hometown Sox suffered that day was a little less painful.
And, to top it all off, I still did pretty well on my finals that year.
My family and I attended quite a few Kane County Cougars games back in the day.
If you haven't been to a minor league game, I'd definitely recommend making the trek sometime soon. Sure, it might not have the mystique or paradise-like feel that a big-league contest has, but there's still something special about the minors.
And, hey, we managed to get box seats at this 2004 contest for a mere nine bucks a pop.
This sits right next to my modest collection of Cubs and Sox tickets I've accumulated.
In its own way, it's still every bit as special to me.
I've bragged about being able to meet Mark Fidrych a few times before on this blog.
Here's my proof.
This seemingly innocent autograph ticket at the local card show was what made one of the best moments of my life possible.
Even over ten years later, I still remember my dad and I eagerly walking up to "The Bird" like it was yesterday.
I was only ten years old at the time, but even then I knew that it'd be something I'd remember for the rest of my life.
I'm sure a lot of other fans out there save their ticket stubs as well for the same reasons I do. They're a great source of pride and worship among fanatics like myself.
More than anything, though, the real power lies in their sentimental value.
To me, they're priceless pieces of history.
And always will be.