- Approaching the ticket office, we were offered field-level tickets for $20 each ("drinkin' money," in the words of their owner). Throwing caution to the wind, we upgraded from our usual View-Level Reserved ($12) and enjoyed $72 worth of seats, located in section 122 behind home plate and just in line with the third base line, for $40.
- Our team played miserably against the unclean Cleveland Indians for seven innings. Then a miracle happened. Behind 7-0 in the eighth, our beloved Reds scored four times, including a three-run tater by pinch-hitter Juan Castro, a normally light-hitting infield utility player. Allowing Cleveland one more run in the ninth, they came back in their half with five runs, capped by Adam Dunn's epic grand-slam with two outs (reportedly since 1936 the first such four-run knock to win the game for the Reds when they were three runs down). Hit down the right field line, Dunn's dinger was the only play of the game of which we had an obstructed view, but the moment was all the finer for us as we had to rely on other fans' reactions to know whether the ball was fair and cleared the fence.
- The win catapulted our inconsistent home team into a tie for first place in the National League Central Division with the St. Louis Cardinals, historically baseball's second most successful franchise. (That standing was lost today, of course.)
- After the game we were treated to a delightful fireworks spectacle, planned and executed by the superb Rozzi family and financed by National City Bank.
We cannot begin to describe what a delightful evening it was for all who stayed for the entirety. We guess you had to be there, as the saying goes.
And that's why we can't understand why so many (including our ticket source, for whom the money from the sale bought three beers each for himself and his female companion) left the ballpark before the game was over. Granted, the odds of a comeback were slim. But if baseball is so dreadful to watch on its own terms, why pay the outrageous sums charged for admission to begin with? And since when are free fireworks not worth staying for?
Everyone who stayed saw something that they'll remember for a long time. Everyone who left now feels like a fool, like a child who begged to be excused from the table before dessert so that he could go to bed early.
We remember several years ago reviewing with our SWNIDish spawn the excellent book Chess for Children. Having explained that a player can end a chess game at any point by resigning, the book offered the advice that the developing player should never resign, no matter how hopeless one's position. Why? Because no one ever learned anything about chess by resigning.
Something similar can be said for attending a baseball game. No one ever saw anything amazing at a baseball game by leaving before the last out.
The one who endures to the end will be saved.