Monday, May 22, 2006

Baylor Ballpark

So as you might have read last week, the Bride and I went to Waco, Texas last weekend to visit her grandmother. During our last visit, I discovered that her grandmother, who is 86, is a HUGE baseball fan. She watches almost all 162 Texas Rangers games, or at least every one that comes on TV. I was totally surprised by her knowledge about the team. She could name probably every player on the roster, and she started by telling me "oh, that Michael Young; I think he's just the best hitter on the team. I don't miss that A-Rod one bit.."

Needless to say, as much as I love baseball, this was quite a find for us. Never would have guessed it.

So after visiting last September or October, we told her that we'd come back in the spring during baseball season and take her to a game at Baylor's shiny new on-campus ballpark. So last weekend, we took her to the Saturday evening game against Nebraska. When we saw some of her other family on Saturday afternoon, they all seemed surprised we were taking her to the game. And the thing was, it was more for her than it was for us. I mean, we love going to baseball games and all, but the whole reason we went that weekend was to take HER to a baseball game.

And let me tell you, she freaking loved it. Baylor was up 2-1 in the third or fourth inning when the Baylor DH cranked a homer over the left field fence and the place went nuts. The Bride's grandmother stood up with us and clapped and cheered with the biggest smile I've ever seen on her face. She looked like she was about to cry.

That moment was worth much more than the bumpy Oklahoma roads, $100 in gas, and price of admission. We'll remember it for a long time.

We asked her if her back was hurting at about the 6th or 7th inning, because it's hard for her to sit in a hard seat for a long time because of some back issues. We told her we could leave whenever she wanted to, even if it was early. She said "I wouldn't miss the rest of this game for the world!"


The stadium was fantastic, if a little antiseptic. Green and brick on the rear facade, which framed a concrete and steel seating area with chairback seats. There were bleachers beyond third base down the line, and a fantastic raised grassy knoll beyond first base down the line. No outfield seats though, which was one of the best things about Foley Field in Athens, Ga. If you've never been there, it's not actually part of the stadium, so students pile in down there (admission would be free for them anyway), and cook out with burgers and beer, jeering the opposition's right fielder unmercifully for 9 innings. (photo below)

Anyway, good stadium though. Better than a lot of colleges and certainly on par with tons of minor league stadiums I've seen. Just a few photos...

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