Saturday, March 30, 2013

Baseball at the Alamodome...

San Antonio always comes up with new and exciting ways to get people to enjoy the beautiful downtown area and this time around, they came up with the idea of playing baseball in the Alamodome.  The idea has been discussed for years, but realistically, how do you fit a baseball diamond onto a football field?  Apparently, you do it by having a short right field.
 I don't recall the year, but I stopped watching Major League Baseball after the second time the players went on strike.  During my youth, it was easy to be a Cincinnati Reds fan, given that we lived in nearby Dayton and the players made it easy to enjoy.  Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffy and of course, Sparky Anderson as their skipper.  It is interesting to go back in time and look at the salaries of some of these guys.  In 1974, Pete Rose was making $166,000 (on the field) but most of the other players were making $15,000.  I read somewhere that A-Rod makes more money then the entirety of the rest of his team.  Not important.
What was important was that my son and I were more interested in the logistics of playing baseball in the Alamodome, and being part of a first in history sort of thing, so we payed for some cheap seats along the first base line and made our way up to the 300 level which provided a very good view of the action.  Nothing like the more intimate view you get at The Wolf for a Missions game, but very reasonable.
This image is taken from the outfield looking toward home plate.  I snapped it as we were walking to the opposite side where our seats were.
Before throwing out the first ball, the US Army had some guys fast rope down from the ceiling so they could provide the baseball.
Mayor Julian Garza Castro threw out the first pitch of the game.  His pitch was a lot better than the sprinkling of applause and chorus of boos he got from the crowd. They must have been thinking of the former Mayor, Ed Castro Garza.  Puro San Anto; classy.
There was what I thought to be a pretty good showing.  As the first inning proceeded, seats began to fill and frankly, I think the players appreciated the huge turn out.  You could feel that people wanted to get into it.  The problem was, the people at the Alamodome had no idea how to handle a baseball game.  After the initial applause at the beginning, the place was dead silent.  It would have been a perfect Verizon, you can hear a pin drop moment, because it was as if everybody was looking around, waiting for the announcer to say something, waiting for some fun baseball music to happen, or really, anything.  It was an uncomfortable silence interrupted by the occasional stating of the next batters name.  
It wasn't until local favorite, Lance Berkman got up to the plate that the organist showed up for work and then, once he struck out, the music was gone for the next 20 minutes or so.  Later in the 4th inning, the scoreboards along the outer walls flashed a "Let's Make Some Noise", but they only did it once or twice and that was the end of it.
But of course, that's just me wanting to be entertained beyond the actual playing of the game and perhaps that says something about me.  I recall back in the late 70's or maybe early 80's, the NFL had this idea of just showing football games on TV without any announcers.  They simply showed the game with no commentary or announcing.  Boring!  The reason why people in this country love the Superbowl, even those who don't otherwise follow football, is all of the energy surrounding the game.  We can't wait to see who sings the National Anthem, can't wait for the cheers of the opening kick-off, and most importantly, we can't wait for the very first commercial!

At the baseball game, there was more excitement in between innings when they brought kids down on the field to play the various games.  A kid tries to throw three strikes at a net (fail), or some people try to get huge foam French fries into a What-a-Burger French fry box.  That is real entertainment.

In fairness, there was some baseball excitement.  This is video of a great hit for Texas with runners advancing.
There was one other bit of excitement.  In the stands, people kept tossing around beach balls, and this kept people in the crowd happy.  Unfortunately, as you'd expect, one ball made it to the field and an usher had to run out and grab it.  We also saw ushers in the stands confiscating the balls.  Oh Well.

We left at the start of the 5th inning so we could get home to watch the Florida vs Florida Gulf Coast University basketball game on TV (much more exciting), but it was nice to at least have been part of the first baseball game at the Alamodome.  Let's hope they got some lessons learned from Friday night and make adjustments for the Saturday game.


Maureen said...

It's Castro, isn't it? Julian Castro. LOL looks like a snoozer. Sorry....SA needs baseball!

Anonymous said...

Omg he must of meant his brother Joaquin Garza J/K) lol :) . See what happens when he goes places without me :) hehe

Dave said...

@Maureen: It's Castro, isn't it? Julian Castro.

I'm a dumbass.

MsBelinda said...

Wonder why they boo-ed mayor Castro? Thought he was popular.

We get the local news from San Antonio and you would have thought it was an exciting game from their point of view...I like a regular citizens point of view better.

Not much of a baseball fan would go to sleep at the Astros games all the time, lol :D

Dave said...

@MsBelinda: I really have no idea why people boo'd him. Could have been a chorus of conservatives in the stands since he is clearly a liberal.

According tot he news and the paper, the games played were very popular with the SA fans. People certainly turned out - I heard there were 35,000 fans Friday night when we attended. I love the idea of it, I just didn't think it was very well executed.

Maureen said...

Dumbass is a bit harsh. I think they don't like him due to preK4SA from what I've read. Not just conservatives,either. But booing him at a baseball game is pretty low rent Hi Eva.

Maureen said...

OK....Castro didn't get the opening pitch across home plate? There we go. It wasn't political booing, it was lame-ass booing.


I used to love living in San Antonio...of course I lived on Kelly or at Kelly Homes, but loved San Antonio..loved the food....back then not that many gringo's ate at the 'Mexican restaurants'..(50's)but my Daddy and I did..we loved it..and still do..