August 24, 2016
Take Me Out To The Ballgame
My love affair with " The Nat " began back in the 60's when the venerable old ballpark was home to the Vancouver Mounties of the Pacific Coast League. I wish I could tell you my father often took me places, but that would not be true. He did take to Nat Bailey stadium one night and I distinctly remember how I was in a dreamlike state the whole time we were at the game. It was overwhelming how many sights and sounds I absorbed that evening. The night out was capped out off catching a foul ball that came out over the wall as we were leaving (early.)
In the 80's the lure of a woman led me to living in Vancouver for a decade before finally bringing my Kitsilano Kutie home to White Rock.
In the 80's the now Vancouver Canadians were the farm team for the California/Anaheim Angels. The level of ball players hoping to make the final step to the majors was incredible. Baseball fans know the names of TROY GLAUS, DARREN ERSTAD and JIM ABBOTT. All players I had the good fortune of seeing up close and personal.
In the day Safeway had specially priced tickets for $4.00 that basically got you through the door and a General Admission seat up in the rafters. Now don't forget "up in the rafters" at Nat Bailey was a seat you would have killed for in a major league ballpark. Of course we soon invoked the time honoured tradition of "upgrading" our seats. This entailed watching closely for a couple of innings and picking out a pair of seats no one seemed to be sitting in down in the lower section. Between innings we would simply wander down and park ourselves in our newly upgraded seats. The Nat was so dear to me in the 80's my friends and I booked the "special" group area for my wedding stag. A story for another day ha ha.
I received a call from a friend recently who had bid on and won "a night out for a group" in support of some worthwhile cause at a fund raiser. Lucky me. Off to "The Nat" we went.
Some of the surroundings of the stadium located in the shadow of Little Mountain Park had changed considerably since I had last been out to the field of dreams. Inside a slight makeover made the rotunda area a little easier to navigate. Kudos to the new owners for finally creating show places for the many league championship banners, a sports broadcaster wall of fame and generally a nod to the past was well represented throughout the lobby.
The first thing you really notice when attending a game at "the Nat" is the vast number of children in attendance. With tickets priced at around $15.00 (slightly less for kids) it is within reach of most families to have a fun night out. Ballooning salaries for professional athletes has driven the price of a hockey game for instance right out of the question for most people to be dragging a couple of kids out to a Canucks game.
So my baseball love, it has been a few years since I saw you, but you still look beautiful to me.
Oh yes..........and ace pitcher for the 1960 Hjorth Road Yankees