Playing Out the String

It’s late August. One month left of the baseball season. Many teams are out of the playoff race. The games mean nothing. They are playing out the string. One benefit though these days, with the convenience of on-line ticket shops, great deals can be had, especially in cities with losing teams.


Before these ticket shops became commonplace, a small-town boy visiting a cosmopolitan city was at the mercy of its sharks.


July 23, 2008. I found myself in NYC. Last season of the vaunted old Yankee Stadium. And it also happened to be a down year for the Yankees. Additionally, the hometown Twins happened to be in town and I was available for a Wednesday afternoon get-away game matinee. Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer & Co. Seemed like it was destiny.


Now the only question was how much to pay for a ticket. Living in Japan had prevented me from having any inside knowledge on the market value, but common sense said Yankee fans don’t follow losers. And they definitely won’t want to spend a weekday afternoon watching the lowly Twins. That should be in my favor. Now, I recalled Cubs box seats costing $10 in 1990 and I distinctly remember in 2007 the White Sox guy telling me anything less than $30 was only upper deck. Going against me was this was NY. And I noticed gasoline prices were skyrocketing at around $4.50/gallon (this was right before Lehman shock), so I tried to prepare myself for what a scalper would ask.


I didn’t prepare well enough. $100. Five rows behind Twins dugout. Ludicrous. Laughable. Inconceivable. I would never pay $100 for a ball game…even though this was a once-in-a-lifetime shot. No more old Yankee Stadium…when the Twins are in town…and I’m in town…


Fine. Trying to put aside what I could do to a Greek restaurant with a $100, I sat down ready to enjoy the Twins vs. Yankees with box seats. Here we are. Ruth, DiMaggio, and Mantle. Hot Dog, Peanuts. Let’s see the starting lineup!


No Mauer. No Cuddyer. Looks like Morneau and Co. And let’s look closer at that infield ready to challenge Tinker to Evers to Chance.


3rd- Brendan Harris (utility infielder, six teams) SS- Nick Punto (utility infielder, six teams) 2nd- Alexi Casilla (had +300AB/season three years)

1st- Mike Lamb (had a mere 40AB in MLB after this season)

C- Mike Redmond (most famous for naked batting practice)


The only memorable moment was Rivera coming into the game to get one out.


Lessons learned= Don’t expect to see a star catcher on getaway day

Games that mean nothing will get done in 2 1/2 hours

Next time I choose the Greek restaurant

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