Go to a Minor League Baseball game this summer. Just do it. There are not many better ways to spend a couple hours, and there’s likely one somewhat close to where you live because there are professional baseball teams everywhere. Minor league games are great, and sometimes I prefer them to MLB games, as I’ve referenced in past posts. The stadiums are small enough to where there’s not a bad seat in the house, the beer and food is (slightly) cheaper, there are theme nights, and you get to see a bunch of guys trying to live the dream. Just fucking inspiring.
Another reason to go is because MiLB games are an underappreciated spot to people watch. The minors bring in a pretty diverse crowd, and due to the previously mentioned stadium size, pretty much all of them are in your vicinity. If the game is boring to you, just take a look around the stadium and observe the wild cast of characters filling up the stands.
The Guys Skipping Work
You have to attend a day game during the week to get this one, and if you do, that likely makes you one of these guys. While spur of the moment mid-week trips are beyond their pay grade and job benefits, this is something they can pull off, and dammit, they’re going to enjoy every second of it. Each sip of beer is a wonderful reminder that on a normal day they would be sitting at a desk hating life. Take a long look at these guys, because you’ll be looking at the happiest men on Earth who have no idea that they automatically drew the low straw to come in during the weekend because they weren’t there to pick for themselves.
The Die Hard
This guy has been coming to these games for years: like two stadiums, three MLB affiliates, and six team names ago. He shows up every night wearing his custom jersey with his name on the back, settles into his seat that has his cheeks melted in, and cheers like there’s no damn tomorrow if they don’t pull out this mid-June Sunday game. He’s called every player for decades by their first name and can remember all of them- from the future All-Stars to the guys who got released after a week. Management adores his dedication, but they’re probably sick of having to tone down his enthusiasm towards the umps.
God, this guy is just an asshole, and he makes sure every single player on both teams knows it. It doesn’t matter which team, if a guy makes an error or gives up a home run, this dickhead is going to wear him out until the game is over. He does his homework, making sure he knows every player’s full name, stats, and family history, because anything is fair game for this shithead. Nothing frustrates this guy more than a cleanly played game, because then he has to resort to just calling no one in particular a “fucking bum,” or going out by the bullpen and making sure every pitcher warming up knows that he better not blow it. What a clown.
The Former Player
Make no mistake, this guy didn’t play pro ball. He may have played some small college, some juco, or some JV in high school. Regardless, he’s a brilliant baseball mind who knows the game inside and out, and he could really make this team a winner if he was in charge – this all according to himself. He’s his group’s Buzz Killington, scoffing during impressive plays because he isn’t impressed, and using nothing but baseball slang the whole game. The highlight of his season was catching the eye of the batter on-deck, and telling him to be ready for the off-speed. This story is then told to all of future grandkids that hate sports because of him.
Grown Man With His Glove
Nothing was more exciting than being a little kid at a baseball game with your cheap tiny glove ready to catch a foul ball. Nothing is more embarrassing than being a grown man holding your softball glove with the intent of catching a foul ball or just protecting yourself. This dude is definitely wearing socks and sandals and is probably sporting the same hat Smalls wore at the beginning of The Sandlot. Keep an eye on him anytime a foul ball is in his vicinity, because you might get to witness a grown man plowing over a 3rd grader.
The Guy Just There To Drink
He doesn’t care who plays or who wins, and he may not even know either of the team names, because he’s shithoused by the 2nd inning. Baseball games only appeal to him because it’s more socially acceptable to drink there than at a bar at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday. He will never ever be able to tell you the score, but he damn sure will be able to tell you that they stop serving beer in the middle of the 7th, and that Jerry at the beer stand on the 3rd base side gives the most generous pours. Every now and then he will give out a big encouraging “LET’S GO TEAM!” just to seem like he’s actually engaged and not just a sloppy piece of shit, but he always fails to realize that it’s right after the visiting team hit a home run. Stadium security has eyes on him as soon as he enters, and they’re constantly ejecting him like a shitfaced Bobby Cox.
While watching baseball as a profession seems like a pretty cool job, when you’re getting paid minimum wage, you’ve been at the stadium since 7 a.m. to pull tarp, and your hangover still hasn’t broken yet, or it’s a day game and you’re still hammered, it’s hard to appreciate the wonderful game going on around you. That’s what you’ll see when you look at the stadium interns. Sometimes you’ll see them in a good mood, because they do really love some of the things about their job, but if you catch them at the end of a nine-game homestand, you’ll see them walking around with fake smiles, quietly praying that this game goes over quickly so they can go drink out of the leftover kegs in the Diamond Club. You’ll never see a look of despair quite like the one on an interns face when a bottom of the 9th home run sends the game into extra innings and propels their workday into hour 15.
If these people watching examples aren’t good enough to drag you to a MiLB game this summer, just remember that there’s a beer special at least once a week, and baseball is awesome. .
Image via YouTube