View From The Bleachers

February 9, 2013

Go: First

Filed under: Featured,General — Lizzie @ 8:00 am

Tell us about your first visit to a Major League baseball park. How old were you? What do you remember best?

This Go question was submitted by Allan (thanks Allan!)

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Do you have a question you’d like us to feature in the Go! column? Send it to lizzie@viewfromthebleachers.com and she’ll see what she can do!

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Elizabeth Pearson stumbled upon VFTB around 2006, and enjoys encouraging conversation among the wide variety of readers brought together by their love of the Cubs. She’s married, has a Cub-loving pug named Phinneaus, and enjoys biking, hiking, cooking and gardening. She calls Chesterton, Indiana home and hopes to one day retire on Mackinac Island. Connect with Lizzie via email or Instagram.

  • 1B7L16P13C2B6

    My first visit to an MLB park was in 2001. It was a birthday present for my 13th bday. (Even though I went 3 months after my bday). It was the last game of the 2001 regular season. It was supposed to have been played 3 weeks earlier but was delayed because of the attacks. I was sitting in the bleachers. I sat in right center field. This is back when Sosa was still popular. He tossed baseballs into the crowd to warm up instead of playing catch. I caught one but I dropped it. The Cubs lost the game, but Sosa went yard. I also remember a shirtless fan going all bonkers throughout the game. I have been meaning to make a video re-enacting him, but haven’t been able to yet.

  • Doc Raker

    I was 5, both my grandfathers, uncle Joe and my older brother accompanied me to Wrigley. I remember driving through the neighborhoods of Chicago which I have never seen before. Big brother had been there before and was priming me up about the glory of it all. As we drove down waveland ave towards the park the edge of the score board became visible from a distance. As we got closer it got bigger and when we got to Clark street I could see the park in all it’s largess with all the street vendors hocking their junk and the smell of hotdogs in the air. We walked into the park and into the concourse below the stands, the field was just steps away. I could see the sunlight coming through the stairwells. I walked up the stair well, my brother was talking in my ear about how big the players are and how green the grass and vines are but his voice was so distant because I was memorized by the anticipation of it all, the sights of it all, the smells of it all, I was in slow motion and everyone around me seemed to vanish as I walked up the stairwell. There it was, my brother was right, I was standing in Wrigley Field just to the third base side of home plate. I got my first view of the bleachers, then I saw the green vines, the big players in their bright white uniforms, I was in awe, time stood still for the moment. Someone bumped me, bringing my attention back to my immediate surroundings, I looked up to find my elders, the were smiling ear to ear, all three of them had the same smile. I had rarely seen them smile like this let alone all at the same time. When I saw there smiles I knew they knew, they knew they were passing the greatest game onto me, they knew I would be hooked on the beauty of Wrigley Field, they knew. We proceeded to our seats where I continued to take it all in. I don’t remember who pitch, I don’t remember who won, I couldn’t tell you if anyone hit a home run all I can remember is my awe of it all, the beauty I saw and all the new things I had seen, heard and smell. Thirty two years later when I walked into Wrigley for the first time with my own two children I walked them up the stairwell just to the third base side of home plate, when we got to the top of the stairwell I saw their smiles as they saw Wrigley Field for the first time. They looked up at me and I couldn’t hold my smile back and the tear in my eye. I knew they now knew.

  • Cap’n Obvious

    My dad and his friend took my to old Comiskey in ’76. We were in the second to last row of the lower deck. In about the 5th inning, an older man with a couple Andy Frains grabbed my brother and I and took us down to the second row. Years later, my dad told me that the old man was Bill Veeck, who often moved children from bad seats down to the unoccupied corporate ‘golden boxes.’ Lou Piniella and Kevin Bell hit home runs. the White Sox lost. The smell of stale beer and urine haunts me to this day.

  • Seymour Butts

    Oh come on, you made that up. How could a 5 year old be that encompassing in his memories. A 5 year old barely knows the difference between being memorized and mesmerized. 

  • Seymour Butts

    I was somewhere around 8 years old in the later part of the 1960s when I first saw Wrigley. Not having the eidetic memory of my friends, I could not tell you who was playing, what month it was or who drove us there (though I think I know that one).
    I do know that for about 5 years, there were about monthly trips, mostly with the same gang of kids who played bb all day long all summer. Often went to double headers as they were scheduled then. Once made a banner out of a window shade that said “make old st. Louis blue” marched it around the concourse between innings.

  • Doc Raker

    That’s a true story, I remember it well. I remember all the anticipation very well and all my first time sights are forever ingrained in my memory. As I said, I don’t remember the game at all. Maybe it was because I had an older brother telling me about it for some time before I ever went. I was prep to be in awe of it all.

  • Doc Raker

    On the ride to Wrigley I sat in the back seat driver side looking at all the neigborhoods I had never seen. I think it was my grandfathers white Galaxy 500 but I could be wrong. I remember hearing my grandfather say, “you are quite today Michael” while I was looking out the window and hearing my other grandfather say , “he’s just watching everything out the window” and then hearing them all laugh. My mom drove Mark and i to my grandfathers house on Mayfield Ave were we all met  and left together from there. I remeber it all vividly.

  • Eddie Von White

    I was less than 10 years old. It was in the late 60’s also. My friend Steve, his dad, his two older sisters and I were going to see the Cubs.  I slept over the night before. This was to be the greatest day of my young life. But as we were loading the car the next day, the two sisters got in a big fight over who was going to sit in the front seat and the older one stormed back into the house. Their dad started yelling and cussing loudly. I was in the back seat of the station wagon scared to death and remember just wanting to go home.  Eventually they worked out their differences and we had a quiet and peaceful ride to Wrigley. We parked the car in somebody’s front yard and paid the guy 5 bucks. My friend’s dad complained all day about how much it cost to park. The tickets to the game were less than the parking. 

    It was Billy Williams’ wife’s birthday that day. Her name is Shirley. We made a huge sign the night before and colored the letters with crayons that said: “Hey Billy. Hit it for Shirley.” We left the sign there after the game. The rest is much like Doc said – the scoreboard, the grass, the players – they were all bigger than life. I remember thinking that Jack and Lloyd and Lou and Vince (the tv and radio announcers) were telling us the truth – these players really did exist and play baseball everyday and Wrigley Field was the greatest place on earth.

    I am still in awe every time I walk into that place. 

  • Tom_C

    My Dad always says I was “made” at Wrigley, does that count?!?

  • Allan

    It was 1956 and I was 6 years old.  We went to a Sunday doubleheader against Baltimore in August.  I was excited as we went down Trumbell ave and you could see the light standards sticking up.  When the park came into view I was hooked for life.  It was still Briggs Stadium at that time.  When we walked up from the concourse to our seats the field of green spread out in front of me and I wished I could spend my whole life at that stadium.  I had the pleasure of taking all of my kids to their first baseball games there and when my son was 9 we did a Budweiser fantasy broadcast that I still have 20 years later.  The thoughst of the first time still bring goose bumps when I walked up the ramp and saw the green field and the flags and the smells.  The Tigers swept the Os that day it was a great day!

  • cap’n obvious

    real Doctor school probably takes up more long term memory than sunglass hut-owner doctor school.

  • cap’n obvious

    good old Budweiser.  Marketing to 9 year olds since 1876.

  • Eddie Von White

    Yes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527703478 David M. Beyer

    Six years old. Don’t remember the opponent, but it was the Cubs at Wrigley.  I went with my Uncle Mickey, who was not exactly a fine, upstanding citizen. When we got to Wrigley he stuffed a six-pack of Old Style into my backpack, saying “they don’t check kids’ bags”. Then, during the game, he drank them all and proceeded to drive me and my cousins home an hour and a half away. That’s the last time I got to go to a game with Uncle Mickey.

  • Doc Raker

    Bill Veck was awesome for that kind of stuff. The book ” Veck as in Wreck” is a great biography of Veck. I wish I could of knew him back in his e ra.

  • Doc Raker

    Uncle Mickey must of been a Sox fan with that kind of behavior.

  • Seymour Butts

    I would have thought the ushers would break something like that up.

  • Great Grand Pappy Raker

    The Polo grounds in 1921. Giants were hosting the Dodgers and Grandpa hated the Yankees, but he was getting up there and did not realize they played across town, so spent the game yelling “Ruth Sucks”. Uncle Adolphus snuck in some water and bread, so we were able to have a snack. Great guy, civil war vet. The grass was about 1 5/8 inches long in the infield, slightly longer in the outfield, which was a feat as they used goats to mow in that day. I remember it just like it was yesterday even though I was only 3 at the time. Good memory runs in the family, I guess. Giants won 3-2 on a squeeze bunt in the bottom of the 10th. Snookie Armentrout scored on Aiden Benthorse’s perfectly placed knock between the pitcher and 1st sack person. That Benthorse could really rake the ball, and the outfield grass after the game. Wages were rotten in those days.. 

  • Buddy

    Lil’ Tony Campana was designated for assignment today. 

  • Doc Raker

    Sorry Katie

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    This is my new favorite thing.  

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    2003, Wrigley left field bleachers.  Long time coming for a WGN Cubbie fan.  It was great. 

  • 1B7L16P13C2B6

    Are these the days when a nickel got you a steak and kidney pie, a cup of coffee, a slice of cheesecake and a newsreel… with enough change left over to ride the trolley from Battery Park to the polo grounds?

  • 1B7L16P13C2B6

    Who were they playing, and did you heckle the other team’s left fielder? More importantly, were you sitting in section 304?

  • Doc Raker

    I remember that game. Zachariah Morse, son of former ballist Theodore Morse, pitched the game while hurling 184 pitches.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    Miguel Cabrera was in left for the Fish, oddly enough.  A bunch of a-holes were taunting him about having to wash dishes at the Cubbie Bear after the game.  He stuck one in the basket a few guys down from me…I was about a finger’s length away from being able to toss back a future triple crown winner’s yard work.  

  • 1B7L16P13C2B6

    Was this in the playoffs or regular season? That must have been after Lowell returned from his injury, and the Marlins found a way to keep Cabrera on the field.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    Regular season…day games.  The next game, Kid K fanned a ton of guys.  I’m thinking well over a dozen…he was on fire.  

  • 1B7L16P13C2B6

    So July 8 and 9. The game after you are referring to, Woody had 12 Ks.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN200307090.shtml

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    Crazy…that looks like the game.  Thanks CAPS.  

  • Jedi

    Doc: This is your brain.

    Seymour: This is your brain on drugs.

    Amazing what we’re able to remember when we didn’t smoke our way through HIGH school.

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