Play Ball! The Midland Rockhounds are Returning to the Diamond Tonight!
Tonight is a big night. A very important night. A night that only comes once a year. The Rockhounds are back!
Now, before you close this blog thinking that it's going to be some crazed sports nut rattling off statistics and such...don't. I don't know statistics. I struggle with player names. In fact, I'm more of a casual observer than a fan. And I really think that's what makes it fun to go to a Rockhounds game.
When I was a kid, it was the Midland Angels. My dad and his buddies had a "box" there at Christensen Stadium. I put "box" in quotation marks because it was much less luxurious than it sounds. It was more like six seats with some baby blue pipe surrounding three sides. My dad and his buddies would sit in that box and were, by far, the most vocal guys in the stadium. They'd sing songs like, "Daaaaaaaay-o. Daylight come and me want to go home." They'd chastise the umpire on a bad call. "Come on, blue!" They got to know the beer vendors on a name-by-name basis. Many times during the games, they'd yell out "Laaaaaaaaaaarrrrrryyyyyyyyy!" or they would scan the stadium to find a kid who they called "Big Dan Miller, The Lady Killer."
Meanwhile, I'd be downstairs in the concourse, playing catch with my friends. We would see other kids we knew from school. We'd sneak into the exclusive picnic area for a free hot dog, pretending like we belonged there. We'd buy so much candy and soda that my lack of diabetes is almost miraculous.
As I grew older, the whole thing lost its appeal. My friends weren't going there anymore, and I really couldn't understand why a non-fan of baseball would even go. Being outside watching some guys play a game wasn't anywhere near as cool as staying home with some video games or performing for some people.
Years later, I decided to go the game with some friends. In my mind, it was just an excuse to get out of the house. Game? What game? There's food and beer. Good enough for me.
Guess what happened. I had fun. Being out in the open air, getting invested in what was happening out there on the field, and enjoying the company of friends...who could ask for more? Fast forward a few years, and I was introduced to concept of "Thirsty Thursday," where the beer is cheaper, and the crowds are usually larger and more energetic. To this day, we have a pretty hard-and-fast rule. If we aren't busy on a Thursday night when the Rockhounds are in town, we're there.
That brings us to tonight. I'll be there. My wife will be there. Two of our best friends will be there with us. Us guys will be enjoying the cheap beer. The girls will be checking out the uniformed butts of the baseball players. All vices are fulfilled, everybody is happy. Note to self: Google "baseball pants" and see where I can get the cheapest pair.
My advice to you? Go to a game. Whether it's Thirsty Thursday or a Sunday afternoon, go to a game. Whether you're a lifelong fan or know nothing about the sport, go to a game. Whether you are sitting in the "cheap seats," or you finagle access to one of the luxury suites (which is, in itself, a whole new way to experience a Rockhounds game), go to a game. And if you hate it, at least you can be happy about one thing: it's not a Rangers game. BOOOOOOOOOM!