The last time I went to a baseball game was in 1992—the year the Blue Jays won the World Series. It was a time in my life when I found myself in Toronto often, and on this particular afternoon the Blue Jays were playing one of the final play-off games at the Sky Dome. A colleague had come upon a couple of tickets to the game, so I went along. I have little recollection of the game itself—I have trouble focusing on what “really matters” at sports events, losing track of balls, pucks, etc. because I’m watching what’s going on around me. And lots was that afternoon. The fans were hysterical, waving flags, shouting, doing the wave. I was nearly hysterical myself, in spite of my usual “who cares” attitude about all things sports.
When Jack urged me to go with him to a ball game at the ball park here in Guanajuato yesterday, I shrugged agreement. After all, he does stuff with me that doesn’t interest him much. We paid a whopping 80 pesos each (about 7 dollars) for seats in the shade, though the weather here is still emerging from a week of rain and the sun wasn’t much in evidence. (This is more than we pay for the symphony.)
The game was a pre-season game between two professional teams. (Apparently the “world” of professional baseball extends well beyond those eligible for the “World” Series) Neither was a local team, but the fans appeared to favour the ones in white—the ones who, at the end of the seventh inning when we left, had yet to score a run against the purple team, who had scored fourteen.
When I told Jack I was going to blog about the game, he said “That will surprise everyone you know,” but I don’t think so, really, because I assumed my usual disinterest in the game itself. I won’t be boring you with that. Instead, I focused on the ambiance.
And the food. There were peanuts, but no cracker-jacks. And no hot dogs that I saw. But the array of typically Mexican possibilities was nearly endless, and the aroma of grilled meat and onions drifting in from outside the stadium was almost irresistible.
Here’s the chip guy. Note the bottle in his apron pocket. Why eat chips unless you can drown them in hot sauce?
I paid enough attention to the game to be reminded how civilized a game it is. No one knocks anyone over, there are no fights in the corners, people take their turns and know where to stand. Nobody ends up in a penalty box (though one pitcher did seem to get a talking-to and then disappeared). The pace is relaxed, with time to look around and chat with your neighbour between bouts of frenzied activity on the field.
An expanse of flat land like this is rare in Guanajuato. Recent improvements to the playing field have now made it unnecessary (or impossible) for outfielders to risk their lives by scaling the rocks in pursuit of a fly ball. But the scoreboard is still up there. The scorekeeper climbs the rocks at the end of each inning and hangs the numbers on hooks.
By 5:30, the stadium lights were on (though it was far from dark) and the sun was low in the sky, reflecting off the hills that surround this city. We left at the end of the seventh inning and headed home.Me, caught en route by the guy with the camera. A typical Guanajuato scene with one of the city’s many tunnels in the background