I got to take my 7-year-old son to his first professional Baseball game last night.
Pirates VS Reds. If you have never been to PNC Park, I highly recommend you go. There isn’t a single bad seat in the house. The concessions don’t completely rape your wallet like a Pro-Football game or Hockey game, and in early May weather the venue is to die for.
I grew up with the love of baseball. The game of anticipation. My first game was at Three Rivers Stadium back in the early 90’s with the “Killer B’s” I got to see legends like Andy Van Slyke, Bobby Bonilla, Barry Bonds, Sid Bream, Jay Bell, R.J. Reynolds and Mike Lavalliere play. I even got to see Nolan Ryan pitch when he played the Pirates. My father got to see Pittsburgh greats at Forbes Field. Roberto Clemente, Milt May, Many Sanguillin, Don Hoak, Bill Mazerosky and Willie Stargell. It seemed only right that the 3rd generation got to see modern day greats like McCutcheon, Jung Ho Kang and Starling Marte.
The anticipation for my little boy was almost too much for him to bare. “Daddy, are we going to see real baseball men?” “Daddy, how will the baseball men know we’re here and cheering for them?” and my favorite, “Daddy, can we sing the baseball song? (Take me out to the Ballgame)”
We have our fourth amendment rights violated at the front gate (not as bad as TSA) and enter the park. The smell of burgers, hot dogs and popcorn fill our noses. I am immediately taken back to when I was a boy and one of the few things I got to do with my dad alone was go to a ball game. (I come from a big family)
We find our seats and settle in. Popcorn and drinks in hand. We enjoy the music and announcements. I get to tell him stories of when I was a boy and how Baseball had a positive and huge impact on my life.
Then it comes time for the National anthem. We stand. We’re only 2 out of maybe a dozen that do so in our section. By rough count, there were at least 150 people in our section.
Most people are taking selfies with those dumb selfie sticks, or noses buried in their smart phones. I take my hat off and cover my heart as I instruct my little boy to do the same, as a cub scout troop on the field delivers the anthem. I sing our Great Countries anthem and glance around me as I do. I am the only one singing.
I would have snapped a pic for you all, but I was too busy respecting our country and those that have fought, bled and died for that flag to do so. Both teams stood in procession with their hats covering their hearts. Even the visiting players.
It is truly a sad state that this country is in, when over 2/3rds of the crowd at a baseball game can’t even respect the National Anthem. Thirty years ago, this wouldn’t have happened. I remember going to a baseball game with my Dad, and everyone stood for the National anthem. They may not all have been singing, but they stood and placed their hands over their hearts at least. Not anymore it would seem. It appeared that the majority of those in attendance couldn’t be bothered to show respect for the National Anthem, our Country and the American flag, which so many have sacrificed their lives paying the ultimate price for so that we can have the freedoms that we have today.
God Help Us! I never thought I would witness the Death of an American Past time. Our National Anthem.
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