Once upon a time I had a baseball bucket list.
Go to a home opener at Busch? Check. Attend a World Series game at Busch? Check. Overspend on baseball memorabilia? Been there, got the jersey(s). Selfie with Tyler Greene….could still happen. To be perfectly frank, I’ve checked off most things on my baseball bucket list, and for years it seemed unlikely that there would be any major additions to it.
I desperately want to see the Stanley Cup on a giant beer wagon drawn by Clydesdales for a victory lap around Busch. One might argue that this isn’t a baseball bucket list item per se, and that’s fine. It’s a hockey thing in a baseball setting, and that’s good enough. My bucket list, my rules after all, so please indulge me.
Imagine the energy in downtown. Picture the drunken revelers decked out in their finest jorts. You can practically smell the scent of stale Bud Light lingering as you walk past the Best Panhandlers in Baseball.
Even better than celebrating after the fact is actually being there when history happens. If you are thinking about buying tickets to a Stanley Cup Final game and are put off by sticker shock, I have some advice for you.
Pull the trigger. Sell a kidney, rob a bank, or raid your Teletubby piggy bank. Just pull the trigger.
I was in a similar position in 2011. I had already gone to a couple of playoff games that year, and I dismissed World Series tickets as preposterous. We had already funded my baseball habit with a substantial amount of US currency, and I wasn’t about to commit the equivalent of two month’s worth of mortgage payments to one game. Nope. Not even a consideration.
Then my wife (taking the form of God or God taking the form of my wife) intervened.
“There may not be a next time, or at least you don’t know when that will be. Carpe diem and crap.”
Seize the baseball.
So, I called up Citibank to make sure the purchase wouldn’t be interrupted by a fraud alert, and then I proceeded to the virtual checkout counter. Minutes later I was printing out a receipt from my email for what could’ve passed as an all-inclusive cruise to the Bahamas.
It’s fine. I was fine.
I had buyer’s remorse before even buying.
Then I walked up to the stadium with my family before game 1, and everything else became inconsequential.
My wife (or the deity she represented) was right.
Your life is an accumulation of experiences which affect and shape you, and your memories are the intangible, invaluable recordings of those experiences.
When I look back at that game, I can remember everything. We had seats in the left field porch, and it was so cold that I briefly pondered the consequences of dumping hot chocolate over my own head. Chris Carpenter was doing the most Chris Carpenter thing ever – battling through a big game without his best stuff and still getting the job done – all while looking like he could/would fight an actual grizzly between innings.
Allen Craig came through with what would turn out to be the game winning RBI back when he was practically automatic with runners in scoring position. Somehow a combination of Salas, Rzepczynski, Dotel, Rhodes, and Motte locked down the game for 3 innings of one-hit ball.
Most importantly, I remember being with my wife and son for my favorite sportsball experience ever. I also remember the following month’s credit card bill, but I hope to pay that off soon.