Playin' on Purple: The excitement of summer baseball

This last weekend, I went to the Ogden Raptors Minor League Baseball game. Now, there are certain things that you can only experience at a summer baseball game. Baseball is its own culture. It’s one that every person needs to experience at least once. Baseball has been known as America’s favorite pastime since the early 19th century and I want to discuss why.

As I walked up to the stadium, the scent of hot dogs on the grill hit my nose and immediately my mouth started watering. The scent of the food immediately put me in the baseball-viewing mood. I walk inside, find my family, and indulge in a foot-long hot dog and a nice juicy burger, both smothered in ketchup.

I throw back my Mountain Dew while the great majority of the people in the ball park are throwing back their ice-cold beers. Some might even be on Beer No. 4 or 5 while I am on one Mountain Dew. Beer and hot dogs are the standard and typical food and beverage choices for a baseball game. Classic.

After I settle in with my food, I look around at everyone sitting in the stands. The die-hard fans around me are decked out in their hats and baseball jerseys of favorite players. They are getting ready for the game with chit-chat about the starting lineups. I listen to their prayers to the baseball gods that the home team is at the top of their game and come away from this game with a victory.

The first pitch is thrown and the crowd is captivated. The umpires make bad calls and the crowd erupts with questioning cries. The home team hits one home run after another after another and the fans erupt with cheers.

As the game rolls on, the split-the-pot girls roam in between the sections. The young boys roll through yelling, “PEANUTS OR CRACKER JACKS, PEANUTS, CRACKER JACKS.” The vendors are all a part of the baseball joys; you may not always buy them, but hearing their cries eases you into the game atmosphere.

In between innings, during warm-ups, the classic baseball music is playing — songs like “Centerfield” by John Foegerty, “Cheap Seats” by Alabama, “The Greatest” by Kenny Rogers, even a brief snippet of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First.”

The game slowly but steadily rolls on. Inning after inning goes by. Finally, the seventh-inning stretch is upon fans. The entire crowd stands up and starts to sing the song that defines a summer night at the ball park.

“Take me out to the ball game! / Take me out to the crowd! / Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks / I don’t care if I ever get back / For it’s root, root, root for the home team / If they don’t win it’s a shame! / For it’s ONE, TWO, THREE strikes, you’re OUT at the ol’ ball game!”

The seventh-inning stretch gives the crowd just enough umph to finish out the game. Whether your team wins or loses, you still got your fill of cold drinks, hot dogs, sunflower seeds and Cracker Jacks. Win or lose, everyone rushes down to the front rows of the stands to try and get autographs from the players.

Baseball has so much to offer anyone, and I can think of  no better way to waste my hot summer nights than by watching baseball.