September 4, 2017

McDEVITT | My Trip to See the Auburn Doubledays

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Baseball is a great spectator sport at every level. And of course, there are standard activities in which any well-seasoned spectator should partake. Hot dogs, scorecards and an enthusiastic rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” are all hallmarks of a well-executed ballpark experience.

Two weeks ago, a few of my friends and I decided that we could use some more of those things in our life. The hustle and bustle of life on East Hill too often precludes us from fostering enjoyable experiences. So naturally, we did what any baseball fans would do in the given situation. We piled five grown men into a small Volkswagen Jetta and drove an hour to see everyone’s favorite low-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals — the Auburn Doubledays.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. How could we, mere unemployed college students, manage to afford such a highly coveted ticket? Luckily for us, a friend of ours knew a player on the visiting team, the State College Spikes, and we were able to score free seats. (It pays to know people.)

I loaded up my Yeti cooler and grabbed my glove, donning my favorite item of sports paraphernalia: a vintage Mariano Rivera jersey in pinstripes. Before too long, the Jetta, teeming with testosterone and trendy ballcaps, began its journey up Route 34. With the windows down and our boyish glee up, we listened to classic rock and Taylor Swift all the way to Auburn.

I won’t forget the moment we first laid eyes on the stadium. There it was in all its glory, a normality of modern architecture that would give any local diamond a run for its money: Falcon Park, home of the Doubledays. The words left our mouths simultaneously, as the sheer size of the stadium had left all five of us bewildered. “Is that it?” We asked each other in unison. After a brief tailgate complete with Yeti cooled refreshments and ballgame banter, we locked up the car and strolled to the will call window, V.I.P. style.

Falcon Park adopts the Southwest Airlines method of seating. The best and worst seats in the house were ours for the picking. We agreed on the first base line, right in the first row, so close to the field we could have a spitting contest to the bag. As we settled in for first pitch in the sweltering August heat, we began to grow a bit thirsty. We were right in the sun, so cool refreshments were in high demand in our party. After a brief back and forth about who would fetch the first round, a lovely young woman, dressed in ballpark attire, offered to take our order.

Looks shot across the row. Does this place have in-seat service? Boy, we could get used to this. Why don’t we come here more often? We thanked the waitress and gave her our order. Time to kick back, relax and enjoy some good old fashioned baseball, or so we thought.

Just when everything was perfect, a ballpark employee came over and asked to see our tickets. “These are the club seats,” he said. “There for our season ticket holders only.” We looked around our section, brimming with empty seats, and made a half hearted effort to convince the gentleman to let us keep our seats. Alas, it seems that this airline offers first class tickets after all.

With our heads hung, we marched in file back to the canopy covered bleacher seats behind home plate, before even the waitress got back with our drinks. We selected our seats, and finally, we were settled. Still thirsty, I offered to go and get us our first round of drinks. Upon my return, the waitress who we ordered from at the club seats was there to greet me. After searching far and wide, she located our seats, desperate for her tip money it seemed. Doubled up on drinks and having a blast, we enjoyed nine innings of solid baseball.

So if you’re looking for a fun experience as classes begin to go full swing, head out to Auburn to see the Doubledays. Just don’t get a hot dog. It was the worst I’ve ever had.