August 2021


Baseball Thoughts…

Earlier this summer I attended a few Berlin Flamingos baseball games – for the first time in two years, since last summer was, well, coronaed.

One cool thing about the Flamingos is that their home field is about an hour long walk from my new home, meaning that – if I want to – I can walk there and back.

There are two big differences between the games in 2019 and the games in 2021: first, the Flamingos climbed into Germany’s first league, meaning that the competition is much better. Second, the field now comes with light fixtures that illuminate the field for night games.

Not to grumble about the latter, but the lights were installed directly behind the fences that define the field. Along the leftfield line, this is problematic since that’s where all the seating is located: it is all to easy to have a light stanchion blocking your view of the field. I wish they had put the lighting up maybe 4-5 meters back from the fence, behind the seating.

This is, however, only an annoyance – if you get there early enough, one can usually claim a seat where the stanchion issue is minimized.

Watching the Flamingos play reminded me of my last experience watching the Colorado Rockies in Denver and of a story my grandfather would occasionally tell when I was a kid.

Whenever a ball leaves the field, the Flamingos make an effort to retrieve it, with the balls promptly returned to the umpire for further use.

This stands in stark contrast to the Colorado Rockies. I wholly understand that MLB is (to be blunt) rich: that baseballs are inexpensive (relatively speaking) and that MLB pitchers demand the best, most perfect, balls to pitch.

However, it felt like to me that nearly every ball pitched was shunted aside to somebody who took some notes – and on the main concourse of Coors Field there was a stand selling game-day baseballs and more, including the bases. They even market it on their website:

Take Home a Piece of the Game

MLB authenticators are on site each Rockies game to collect and authenticate memorabilia used by the Colorado Rockies and all visiting teams. Game-used and team issued memorabilia is sold at Coors Field, on the online auction site and by phone/email!

This is different from what I remember in my childhood – not that the Colorado Rockies existed then – but extraneous, game used, baseballs were thrown into the stands – especially damaged baseballs.

Now it is all about the money.

Which brings me back to my grandfather – he told this story about going to a Dodger’s game (no – not the LA Dodgers, the Brooklyn Dodgers) during, as I recall, the depression; though my memory says it might have been during World War II. The story works as set during the depression or during World War II.

During the game a foul ball flew into his section. In my memory it is unclear whether my Grandfather caught the ball or if he was relating the general story – but regardless, the ball was caught by somebody in the section, then the ball was hidden by the fans.

In that era, baseballs were extremely expensive and difficult to obtain (hence, this story works during the depression or during World War II) – so ushers were sent to the section to find the ball – nobody fessed up to knowing where the ball went and who had it.

2 comments to Baseball Thoughts…

  • Bopper

    We go to Mets games and if you get a foul ball that is for you to keep…but the game worn Jerseys, bases etc. are to purchase for sure.

    How do I get Berlin Flamingos merchandise?