You go to the ballpark to see something special happen. That’s the basic truth of it, the reason we pay money to sit out in the rain and snow and sleet instead of watching at home. The HD television argument will always be made now, but if you really want to experience a game you pay to park, pay for your seat and hope for the best.
Outside of the last month of baseball, seeing something really special at the ballpark is a rare thing. You don’t see perfect games every night, and if you did the value would be diminished greatly. The term “special” is reserved for a certain day, a ticket stub that becomes a story worth telling.
The point is that you can’t always predict when these things will happen. Case in point: the three perfect games we’ve had this year have a combined attendance of 55,052. I’m sure plenty more would have paid to see something (usually) so rare, if only they’d known.
But that’s what makes today so interesting, right? We know what the stakes are: This is Stephen Strasburg’s last AAA start. The last time to see the phenom pitcher for under ten bucks. This is the final test before he goes where he belongs, under the bright lights of major league parks. Predictably, this is a big deal. In fact, this might be the biggest deal in the history of Coca Cola Field.
When you think about it, that’s a bit difficult to say considering it hasn’t happened yet. So much of the special moments in sports aren’t realized until after the fact, after we know the final score and how it played out. To consider something great before it even happens is to buy into the hype, but at this point I can’t find any other way to describe The Stephen Strasburg Show.
I’ll save you the trouble of trotting out his numbers, or explaining his scouting report because you already know the story: he’s a ridiculously gifted athlete who is ready to face major leaguers. He has three great pitches and a cannon arm, and his location is unreal. He is ready for the show, and all he has to do is face one last AAA team, who happens to play in Buffalo.
By all accounts, the hype is legitimate. And still pretty crushing. The usually sparse Bisons press box will be so full there isn’t room for me, and about 12,000 tickets were sold for today’s game by last night’s count. Despite begging fans to plan ahead, the walk up crowd will be crushing. People want to be a part of this thing, and rightfully so. The ticket stub might be worth a story some day, and no one wants to miss out.
I mean really, when a AAA baseball game is getting a national television spotlight, something special is going to happen. Buffalo has always hoped to sustain a major league baseball team, but today they host a major league event for sure.
The question is, what’s going to happen today? Will the Bisons get to Strasburg before he gets shipped off to Washington? Will Hessman vs. Strasburg be the duel a lot of people think it will be? Will the game live up to the impossible hype years of talk and speculation has added to it? Honestly, I have no idea. What I do know is that there was no way I was missing this game.
No matter what the result, today will be a story worth telling.