Saturday, April 30, 2005

The end of my rookie year

I didn't grow up loving baseball--I was an NBA man, a John Elway-era Bronco fan, and baseball was a distant third in my loves. As an adult...well, I've matured. I've traveled to 37 major league baseball stadiums and have had a 16-game package to the Mariners for a few years.

And I noticed over the off-season that my 162nd major league game was imminent. And it seemed to me that I need to mark that milestone somehow. I considered inviting everyone I've ever been to a game with to head up here to join me for a game. But there are problems with that...do I invite them to game 162 or 163? Will the 7 or 8 ex-girlfriends I've been to MLB games with be offended at the invitation? Well, never mind. I've decided to go a different route.

As of this moment, I've been to 159 major league games. Game 162--the end of one full season of baseball--is slated for Saturday night, May 14th (Red Sox at Mariners). I will commemorate this only-important-to-me milestone HERE on this blog. All through these years, I have never, with all the silly lists I've made about baseball, made a list of the best games I've ever been to. I busted out the six-plus scorebooks I've filled and jotted down games I found especially good. There were 22 games on my list. I eliminated two and ranked the other 20.

And, you lucky dogs, I will count down the best 20 baseball games I've ever attended, with a quick note and what I liked best. I'll do games 20-14 tonight, then get closer to the top, Casey Kasem style, until I celebrate the end of my rookie year by writing about the best game I've ever been to on May 14, the night of my 162nd game.

CRITERIA: I have tried to look at the game and only the game. I try not to factor in the disappointment of my Rockies or Mariners losing. A huge playoff win by the Mariners, featuring the longest home run ever hit by my beloved Edgar Martinez has great personal meaning to me. So does the first game I ever went to with my fiancee, after which we waited for a long time at the downtown bus stop, arm-in-arm, and I felt myself knowing I was falling into something very special. (Perhaps I should have given those two examples in the opposite order. Sorry, honey.) But neither of those GAMES were very good, so they don't make the list.

What makes a good game, then? I don't even know for sure. Maybe upon looking at the list, we can figure out what kind of baseball I like.

Enjoy the list.

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