Jul 6, 2011

Take me out to the ball game...

I'm currently in the very last week of my five week honeymoon (how lucky am I!?). So far we've relaxed in beautiful Hoi An, Vietnam; shopped, gone to shows and gambled ($10...my husband and I are not big gamblers) in Las Vegas; explored New York (and I spent an incredible five days attending the RWA conference) and now we're in Los Angeles. We've seen so much, done so much... but how to choose just one thing to blog about?

All that excitement and glamour and I've decided to blog about...


Now, although my husband plays baseball, and we even have a friend that plays major league, I can't say that I'm a huge fan of the game. Give me a game of AFL any day! (FYI, this is my team) However I was really keen to go to a baseball game in New York, I thought it would be a great way to actually experience America, rather than being such a tourist and just looking at things.

So off we went, catching a train from Manhattan to Citi Field, which is the home of the New York Mets. My adopted team for the day was the New York Yankees (I even had a Yankee's t-shirt for the occasion). The train was packed full of baseball fans, and actually felt exactly the same as catching public transport to a footy match back home - the underlying hum of anticipation, plus the excited smiles and enthusiastic conversations of dedicated fans. I guess sports fans are pretty similar the world over!

I was completely blown away by Citi Field, it is such a well designed stadium. Despite the sell out crowd, moving throughout the stadium was easy and there was So Much Food (more on that, later!). We were right up the top of the stadium, it felt like we just kept going up and up and up! But once at our seats, our view was sensational.
At the amazing Citi Field
At a baseball game there is a lot more entertainment than at a football match, because of the stop/start nature of the game (there is a few minutes gap whenever the teams change from offense to defense). So we have this absolutely HUGE scoreboard that shows all sorts of fun stuff - like quizzes, random fans who've been picked out to win prizes, a "pass the pizza box" race in one block, or my favourite - kiss cam! This is where the camera focuses on an unsuspecting couple in the crowd who then kiss. Awww!

(oh, and yes, the scoreboard is used to introduce each batter, to show the score...etc etc)

Compare the size of the scoreboard to the tiny people around it!
There's even a blimp that shows the birds eye view of the stadium during the game. Very cool:

I'm there somewhere!
Now... the food. This was incredible, I'm so not used to the food coming to me! Every few minutes we'd have someone come to our block selling everything from hotdogs to fairy floss (called cotton candy) to beer. And they didn't just walk silently up and down the steps, they'd hold up their wares, yell and do their best to sell them. And when they did, I loved the way the crowd worked together to pass the food to the purchaser - cash would be passed from stranger to stranger and the food would safely make it's way back exactly the same way.

The crowd was probably what I had most fun observing. The heckling, the cheers, the chants - and just the chatter - was fascinating. As you may have guessed, I barely watched the game, I was too busy watching the food vendors, the scoreboard and the crowd.

So the little things ended up being more interesting to me than the main event. If I really wanted to, I could watch a baseball game on TV whenever I want, but how often would I get to experience a real life American baseball game?

Has this ever happened to you? Have you visited a place and surprised yourself by what it was that really resonated with you?

Oh, and by the way - the Yankees won :)

Part of lunch, yum!


  1. Hi Leah!!! Welcome back :)))

    I luuuurv food too ;) Here in Canada, I go out on the "Canada Day" just to sample all the variety of foods...... LOL! And Baseball in the stadium sounds really interesting your way..

  2. Leah, sounds like you're having a blast!! I went to the USA a *long* time ago and absolutely loved it!! Never thought to attend a game though, dammit!!!!
    I'm sure your travels will inspire lots of books too! =)

  3. Hi Ju! I'm not quite back in Australia (another week here in LA to go), but it's lovely to have reliable wifi again and be back at the LoveCats :D

    I love all the American food, as I write this we are having an american junk food picnic in our hotel room for dinner :D

  4. Hi Mel! Yes, the US definitely has my mind whirring with book ideas! The girl selling beer while wearing huge silver hoop earrings and looking generally glamourous would make the perfect heroine :)

  5. Take me out to the ball game!

    I love a baseball game for the crowd watching as well as the game. We have only a minor league team in Calgary these days but the fun is still there. We used to have a triple A team and thus we could look forward to seeing some of the team moving up to the majors. We used to love sitting behind the player's wives and listening to their hopes,dreams and general conversation.

  6. Hi Kaelee! I love watching live sport in general, I've been watching my AFL team play live since I was 14 (um, that's 16 years :)).

    That would have been fantastic listening to the wives and girlfriends! My husband went to go watch his friend play (for Minnesota) and he got to sit with the families - turns out a few of the wives were romance readers! So the poor women got told all about my book - how embarassing :)

  7. Hey Leah,
    I'm glad you are enjoying your honeymoon - as well as working! (it was great to sprint with you while you were sipping cocktails in Vietnam). Baseball games are a cultural experience not to miss - ditto basketball games in the US. My most surreal experience was the 'Family Gun Range' on a Saturday - the guns are free, you only pay for the ammo... Only in America.

  8. Leah, it sounds as if you're having a divine time on your honeymoon! If I ever make it to the US I'd love to go to either a gridiron or baseball game -- they both sound like so much fun.

    My first English Premier League game in London was the most amazing experience. It hooked me for life :-).

    Hope the rest of your honeymoon is fabulous fun!

  9. Wow, fabulous honeymoon, Leah!!!

    I went to a baseball game in San Francisco and it was fantastic -- but I have to say that the ice hockey match I went to in Stockton, CA beat it hands down -- now THAT was an experience! The speed and violence of it, but also the balletic grace -- wow. And as for all the fights on the ice ... no way would that be allowed on a rugby field!

  10. Sounds like awesome fun... more for the atmosphere than the sport, which I'm not a HUGE fan of. LOVE the look of that pretzel and love the idea of strangers passing food and money! Glad you're having a fab honeymoon too. Getting used to saying 'my husband' yet?

  11. Leah, wonderful to hear you two are having such a fabulous time!!
    My husband would kill to go to a NY baseball game. They must be HUGE!
    I worked behind the scenes airing AFL games years ago, but it wasn't until I went to a match in Melbourne (I go for the Bombers!) and sat in the stands that I anywhere near appreciated the electric atmosphere!

    Loved your pics, too! Funny, isn't it, about 'national' foods. We eat Four'n'Twenty's at the footy. Americans have their pretzels.

  12. Leah, sounds like you're having a fab time!

    Great to hear your impressions of the baseball - especially the food system! Your pretzel looks like a whole mean on its own.

    The stadium is mind-bogglingly LARGE! Hey, nice that the Yankees won since you were wearing the t-shirt! Makes the day extra special! LOL

    Trying to think of a sporting event we've attended like this but all I can think of is going to the Broome races while we were up there... entertaining when a couple of guys on trail bikes raced around the red soil track to chase off the kangaroos! And actually having been horse riding when there were kangaroos around, it was probably a jolly good idea to shoo them off before the equines got a look!

  13. Sarah - family gun range? That sounds like an oxymoron :) I need to start sprinting again soon, I miss it!

    Michelle - I didn't think to go to a soccer match when I was in the UK last year, definitely something to do next time! One thing I noticed at the baseball was how good natured the crowd was (even though the home team lost). What was it like at the premier league?

  14. Emily - Oh I'd LOVE to go to an ice hockey game! And to Canada too, actually... ugh, always so many places I want to go too, so little time!

    Rach - yep, it's weird, but "husband" sounded normal remarkably quickly! Maybe because I had to introduce him to so many people at RWA - it was good practise :)

  15. Oh yes Robyn, not a pie to be seen at the baseball, how strange! I love going to AFL matches, the games in Melbourne are even better than in Perth, it's just so fanatical. Love it!

    Sharon - the stadium was something else! But so brilliantly organised, even catching the train home was stress-free, despite the huge crowds (not what I expected!). The coolest thing was this huge outdoor eating area all the way up on our level (the top tier), it was surreal to have this big open space so high up! And there were so many food vendors the lines were all short. Bliss!

  16. Leah, what an amazing experience! Just the sheer size of the crowd and event would have me transfixed. Love the image of everyone passing the food along the chain. :)

    Have a fabulous rest-of-your-honeymoon!

  17. Thanks Rach! Only a few days to go... although to be honest we're both keen to get home now and see our pets :)

    Tracie - are you a Dockers fan too??