The coronavirus pandemic has kept us away from live sporting events this summer. The Los Angeles Times reports that the highest percentage of the population is mourning the loss of baseball (25%). As a nation, we are really missing the ballpark.
Monmouth University polled 807 adults and found that most people say they’ve missed being able to watch sporting events, at least to some degree (38% a lot, 26% a little, 42% not at all). Half of Liberals and 54% of people ages 18-34 said that they did not miss watching sports.
And what are we missing most? Baseball (25%), basketball (19%) and football (14%). All the other sports were in the single digits. Between baseball and basketball, women seem to prefer baseball over basketball (26% to 15%), and men are fairly evenly split (25% to 23%).
Yes, we are missing the ballpark. But not just for the ballgame. National Hot Dog Day was in July, but there were no dogs being sold in stadiums across the country. Another casualty of the coronavirus.
Food editor Suzanne Corbett of St. Louis says that over a half million dogs are sold at Busch Stadium during a regular season. She is a purist, preferring to dress her dogs with yellow mustard and sweet pickle relish. But over the years, other favorites have emerged, such as “the St. Louis Dog, topped with barbecue sauce, Provel cheese and crumbled Red Hot Riplets.”
At PNC Park in Pittsburgh, she reports that you can get a “footlong beef dog layered with mac & cheese, drizzled with salted caramel sauce and topped with deep-fried pickled jalapeños and Cracker Jack.” And at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City is another “footlong dog topped with crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese slices, white sausage gravy and a fried egg.”
In my novel City of Peace, pastor Harley Camden takes a group from his church to a ballgame at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. He loads the group in his boat in Occoquan, Virginia, and they travel the Potomac River to the ballpark. Among the passengers are a pair of older parishioners and their two granddaughters.
The boat pulls up to the dock outside Nationals Park in time for the first pitch, and the group has a great time watching the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets, four to three. Harley enjoys seeing the little girls enter the ballpark for the first time, eyes wide with amazement at the size of the park, the deep green of the field, and the bright lights of the digital scoreboard.
As they munch on popcorn and hot dogs, he remembers taking his daughter Jessica to her first game at Camden Yards in Baltimore, since there was no Nats Park at the time — a magical moment for any parent and child.
Yes, we are missing the ballpark, not only for the games but for the food and the atmosphere. What are your fondest memories of live sporting events? Join the conversation through a comment below.