Thursday, August 23, 2007

An American Evening at the Ballpark

One thing I've always wanted to do with Mizuho and Tokiko is go to a ballgame. During the season they watch baseball on television nearly every night, but they never go to the park. Their favorite team, the Hanshin Tigers, play a considerable distance from their home in Kobe, so I can understand their reluctance. On the other hand, even though we live a 20 minute walk to Fukuoka Dome they've never been eager to accept my suggestion for a night at the ballpark.

Since we were in America and could see a different version of the game than they are used to, as they might not ever be in America again, as we had to do something with our time in America besides sit around the house, and because planning was up to Mutsumi and I, we decided - actually, I decided and Mutsumi relented - to go to a Braves game at Turner Field. Mutsumi wasn't sure it was such a great idea. But it was. We all had a great time and it was for me one of the best nights at a baseball game I can remember in many years.

It helped, of course, that the Braves beat the Giants, and to make it more exciting, did so in the bottom of the ninth. Barry Bonds had broken Hank Aaron's homerun record only the week before and fans of the game angry with his drug use, as well as hometown fans protective of Aaron, booed vociferously whenever his name was announced or came up to bat. So much for southern hospitality.

It was also Law Enforcement Appreciation Night, and the Atlanta Police had a nice display of gear outside the stadium, including bomb disposal trucks and robots, police dogs, and helicopters.

I found in one of the stadium parking lots this amazing tree. Amazing because it has managed to thrive despite all the construction that has gone on around it, despite its neighbors having been bulldozed, despite the day to day pollution from traffic and threat of being hit by an out of control truck, bus or automobile.

We had an amusing collection of neighbors, from the guy in front who sat through the evening playing games on his mobile phone, to the family of what my mother (who sat directly next to them) described as the "morbidly obese." They spent a good portion of the evening eating.

Towards the end of the evening I ventured up to the top of the stadium for some shots of the city skyline.

That makes two baseball games already this year. Haven't done that, I don't think, since the late '80's.

And we also made it on to the Braves website. Click here and order your own mousepad, coffecup, or calendar.



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