Opening Day 2011!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love baseball. I don’t know why I love baseball, I just do. I can’t even explain why I love it so much, I think I really just like the atmosphere of the ballpark, which doesn’t make much sense since I love watching it on tv too.

Today, I made sure to be home to watch opening day festivities, which is always my favorite part, even though I can’t remember the last time that I actually got to watch. And, technically, I didn’t make sure to be home since I was done with work at 1:30, but I did make sure to save any work for tomorrow so that I could come home πŸ™‚

My love of the sport probably comes from my parents. They went to many games in St. Louis and in Kansas City while dating and through their early years of marriage. They have many stories of cheap seats (which, apparently all seats were cheap back then) and bringing their own coolers filled with beer into the park (why oh why wasn’t I born like 20 years earlier??).

I didn’t actually attend my first major league game (or any professional game I think, for that matter) until like 1994 or 19995. I know we still lived in Freeport because we were visiting Mama C in Jacksonville (I can remember that, but can’t remember to put deodorant on some mornings…what is wrong with that picture) & dad decided to take me & Reid to St. Louis for our first Cardinals game since we were only a few hours away. I remember that we sat way at the top of Old Busch. Then, later in the game we moved down to better seats and Reid & I were worried because there were some uneaten nachos and we were afraid the nacho owner would come back and kick us back up to the top. I remember we played the Marlins. I don’t remember who won, but I do remember it was awesome.

My next major league experience was when we visited my Uncle Kerwin & Cousin Olivia in Houston during the summer of 1997. It was the Astros vs the Cardinals in the old Houston Astrodome and I think it was right around the time Mark McGwire got traded to St. Louis. Again, I don’t remember much about the game or who won. I just remember that, again, it was awesome.

A few months later, I went to a White Sox vs Astros game at Comisky with a friend and her family. We were living up by Joliet at the time, so my friend’s family were Sox fans. I, even back then, will never cheer for a Chicago team (that’s a lie- I like the Bulls), and since I was enthused about having been to an Astros game a month earlier, that’s who I was cheering for. I think the Sox lost…but I don’t remember. I do, however, remember watching the news at my friend’s house and seeing that Princess Diana had been killed.

The next few games are kind of a blur. We started going to Kansas City Royals games on our way to Kansas in the summer. I think the first one we went to was a spontaneous-John decision. I think we were driving along 36, made it to Cameron, MO and turned on 35 just like that (I know that happened one time, I don’t know if it was the first). I remember that we got there in like the 3rd inning, so didn’t have to pay for parking πŸ™‚ A few summers later, we took our summer vacay in KC and met up with JoAnne, who my parents went to many games with (and drank their own beer) back in the day.

Plevka's at Kaufman Stadium

Sometime in the middle of all the KC games I went to a Cardinals game with the family that I babysat in high school. It was fun, but not as fun as with my fam.

Also, I cannot not mention all of the Peoria Chiefs games that we went to when we first moved to Morton. This is where I fell in love with minor league baseball. Also, part of it might have had to do with the fact that Albert Pujols played in Peoria one of the first years we really got into it. We have a video of a news recording that shows the Chiefs & has a clip of Albert- it’s pretty awesome πŸ™‚ Over the years, while the Chiefs were still affiliated with the Cards, we got to see big-league guys start their careers- the most memorable were definitely Albert & Yadier Molina. We also got to see some Cards (and now see some Cubs too) rehab in Peoria. I feel that minor league baseball is a whole other post for a whole other day.

Me & Chris Duncan in 2000

I had to come back & add this in! When I moved to Eastern, I met a bunch of boys (which was weird because I had no guy friends in high school). Most of them were Cardinals fans, one was a Cubs. A few weeks into the school year, I overheard them talking about going to a game in St. Louis. Somehow, I managed to get myself invited and tagged along. I should probably mention that one of those Cardinals fans was Michael πŸ™‚ I don’t know how it worked out that we both have a love of baseball, but it did and it’s awesome.

Me & my friend Chris

Summer 06 was the last time that my fam took a vacation together. We packed up the family van and made the 15ish hour trip (it was when both Reid & I had our licenses and said we’d help…we didn’t) to Colorado Springs and then Denver. While planning the trip, we saw that the Redbirds would be playing at Coors, so we just had to get tickets. We got cheap seats, then somehow dad mentioned to someone at work that we were going to those game. He got tickets for the five of us for two games. The seats were 19 rows behind home plate. We got to see bp and I got to see Dan & Al up close. It was awesome.

The Plevka's in Cardinal Red at Coors Stadium

Me & Johnny

During the summer of 07, the kids and John headed out to Kansas without Jeanenne. We hadn’t been to a Royals game in a while, so we decided to go to a game. It rained. They played the Rangers. Sammy Sosa was on the Rangers at the time and, even though it had happened years before, we yelled things about cork whenever he was up to bat (then I think he hit a home run…probably had cork in his bat). There was an awesome fireworks display afterward.

Really good pic of me & Reid

Fireworks Show

That next summer, John & Jeanenne were supposed to go to a game with the G’s. However, mom had lots of work to do before school started, so I begged dad to take me with. It was my first (and only…thus far) New Busch experience.

Outside of Busch

Sad that they lost 😦

That was the last time I’ve been to Busch, but not the last time I’ve been to a game since then. Somehow Michael and I have never been to a Cardinals game at Busch together (hoping to change that this year…but we’ve been saying that every year). As a graduation gift, Michael bought us Reds/Cardinals tickets in Cincinnati. Kind of a random trip (well, it was planned a few days in advance), but it was fun. On the Sunday after my graduation, we drove to Ohio! Cardinals beat the Reds in extra innings.

Michael & I at Great American Ballpark...after the Cardinals won

Almost a year ago, we went up to Chicago to visit our friend Evan and to see a game at Wrigley (remember that Cubs fan friend from a few paragraphs ago? It’s okay, we still like him…usually). It was my first time to see a game there. It was the middle of April and we were in the shade so it was chilly and lame. But! The Cubs lost so it was okay πŸ™‚

Michael & I at Wrigley

Then, last fall we decided to take a weekend vacay to Milwaukee. Mike got tickets off of stubhub for two Brewers games. We had really good seats for the first game, then I think our Sunday afternoon seats were like 75 cents each πŸ™‚ Oh, they played the Cubs. Oh well. Still fun.

After the Brewers game on Friday night

After the Brewers game on Sunday afternoon

It is now like three minutes away from the opening pitch πŸ™‚ I have always wanted to compile my baseball stories, so I guess that’s what I just did! I plan on passing down the baseball-fan tradition to my kids. I don’t think they will have the choice not to like baseball with Mike & I as their parents (except the only games we’ll be able to afford will be local little league games, sorry kids).

Now, excuse me while I finish my frozen za, drink my caffeine free Dr. Pepper & watch the game.

Happy baseball season! Go Cards πŸ™‚

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