Our 2022 Road Trip #2: A Night Off for Steel City Sports

Willie Stargell statue!

Ladies and gentlemen, Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer Willie Stargell!

Longtime MCC readers are well aware we’re not into sports. We don’t actively hate them, but they’re not among our hobbies and we only attend games if we’re handed free tickets. Sports-related tourism pops up on rare occasions in our trips — like that time we loitered around Camden Yards back in 2017 — but we don’t go out of our way for it. When it’s directly in our path and we have the free time…eh, why not take a gander.

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Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 23: Camden Yards on $0.00 a Day

Babe's Dream!

“Babe’s Dream” commemorates baseball legend Babe Ruth, who was born in Baltimore and who’s among the very, very few players I read about during my short-lived baseball phase back in third grade.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

Longtime MC readers know my wife and I aren’t sports fans. We’ll attend games, matches, or races if an employer holds an event at one of our local venues, such as that time we saw a Pacers game from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse cheap seats, or that time we took in a July 4th Indians game at Victory Field, or that time I spent an afternoon at Indy 500 practice. But when it comes to our independent leisure time or our vacations, sports arenas — even the famous ones — almost never factor into our planning. If they’re a convenient neighbor or backdrop to the attraction we actually came to visit, we’ll include them if they catch our eye.

Since 1992 Oriole Park at Camden Yards has been the home of the Baltimore Orioles. Their 2017 season recently ended in depressing fashion, but their stomping grounds seemed nice. The Orioles were out of town while we were in Baltimore, but Anne and I had two other reasons for dropping in. The park was next door to the next tourist attraction I wanted to see. More importantly, Anne’s sources told her there was a smashed-penny machine on the premises. Smashed pennies are kind of her thing.

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MCC Live-Tweeting: July 4th Sportsball


Longtime MCC readers know I’m not the world’s biggest sports fan. I probably wouldn’t rank among the top 2 billion sports fans alive. I know more about baseball than any other sport by a slim margin because in third grade I read a book about baseball that contained a thorough glossary. I learned; I tried to stick with it; I fell away quickly. The passion never developed, but the vocabulary remained.

From time to time I’ll find opportunities to attend ballgames anyway. Our hometown minor league team, the Indianapolis Indians, provide occasional diversions, free tickets, and/or reasons to get out of the house. For tonight’s feature presentation, the primary objective was to get my mom some fresh air and holiday spirit. She hasn’t been out of the house much since her retirement at the end of May, but she does love some good old-fashioned fireworks displays. Anne and I could take or leave ’em. Nevertheless, we figured the outing would do her some good.

Occasionally, though, I got bored. Or in a mood. Some light phone usage may have occurred.

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A Photo Salute to the Little Things About Baseball

night game, Louisville Bats, Victory Field, Indianapolis

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Anyone who knows me is well aware of my aversion to sports… [but] a boon from my employer facilitated tonight’s very special date with my wife at fabulous Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians, our local minor-league baseball team.

(We took many photos for sharing, but the night and I are no longer young. Another time for those, I think, along with the story of how I earned those free tickets…)

I later shared the story of how I earned the tickets, but tonight we present the long-missing conclusion of the Great MCC Baseball Trilogy — i.e., those photos I said I’d share. With the 2013 World Series underway this week, pitting our old pastor’s favorite team against the guys from Fever Pitch, now seemed as good a time as any to recapture that date night my wife and I spent at Victory Field. Our best photos focused largely on the ephemera surrounding the showdown between our Indianapolis Indians and the Louisville Bats. We were more intrigued by the details around the edges rather than by the game itself. We’re weird, atypical Americans like that.

That’s not to say the game didn’t have its moments. Night games in particular are fun for me at Victory Field, chiefly because this was a rare excuse for me to remember what nightlife looks like. I’m not one for barhopping or full-price matinees, and nighttime is when all the best TV shows are on, not to mention it’s my key time slot for internet typing. Diversions from routine can be invigorating, though.

This way for more ballgame memories…

A Night at the Ballgame (Baseball Optional)

Victory Field, Indianapolis Indians

Anyone who knows me is well aware of my aversion to sports. I was raised in a household with zero male authority figures and consequently never acquired the stereotypical male’s tastes for sports, among other fields. (Also: car repair, gas-powered tools, alcohol, partying, sexual conquest, bar fights…) That’s not to say I’m ignorant of sports. I learned most of the rules during childhood, so I can follow most games if necessary. American football still puzzles me, but it’s a relief to me that its order of operations has yet to factor into any life-or-death situations.

In fact, one of my little-known secret rules is that, schedule permitting, I’ll gladly attend any sports event to which I’m given free tickets. Invited by a friend? Won ’em in a contest? Someone had extras? Deal. I’m sold. So far in my life I’ve been a guest at one college basketball game (Butler vs. Purdue, though there was more shoving than dribbling); won tickets to the RCA Tennis Tournament when it was Indianapolis years ago; watched a few events at the 1987 Pan Am games back; was invited along to two (or was it three?) runnings of the Indianapolis 500; and tried to attend two of our niece’s junior-high softball games, but one was rained out and the other was held at a completely different park from where we’d driven.

In that same spirit, a boon from my employer facilitated tonight’s very special date with my wife at fabulous Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians, our local minor-league baseball team.

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