Pitch to a bunt at college baseball game

Take Me Out To The Ballgame, College Style

Here’s a fun and inexpensive night out: go to a local college baseball game and enjoy an evening under the lights.

Bob is an idea man, and every so often, he comes up with a really good one!

Recently, he suggested we attend a baseball game at the nearby college. At first, I was a little ambivalent. I mean, none of our kids attended Stetson University. In fact, we didn’t know anyone who had gone there. So would it be any fun watching a team you didn’t have a vested interest in?

Here in Florida, college sports are a big deal for most people.

Lots of families live in a “house divided” if members of the household are divided as to which Florida team they root for. I consider our family an all-Florida household, since our three kids attended FSU, UNF, and UF respectively. So I decided it wouldn’t hurt to add the Stetson Hatters to the mix, since we now live in the town where the campus is located.

Turns out, our experience at the game was actually really fun. The stadium where the team plays is state of the art. It was almost like going to a professional game, on a slightly smaller scale. As an added bonus, it was fairly inexpensive. Tickets for decent seats behind home plate were less than $40 total for both of us, and the concessions were reasonable. Another plus was that we were able to park close to the entrance and there was no charge for parking. All in all, I call that a good deal.

When our boys were little in the 1980’s, we often took them to Tinker Field for an Orlando Twins game.

Back then, that was really cheap entertainment. In fact, if you brought your church bulletin to a Sunday afternoon game, your whole family got in free. (General seating, of course.) The Orlando Twins were the farm team for the Minnesota Twins, and since that is where Bob and I grew up, we felt like they were our home team two ways. I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I always enjoyed sitting in the stands eating peanuts in the shell and drinking an ice-cold lemonade. Our boys would watch for a chance to catch a foul ball, and thought it was cool when the players came to the fence after a game to greet the fans and sign autographs. It was a relaxing way to spend an afternoon with the family.

Pitch to a bunt at college baseball game

By the time our kids attended college, it was all about football, and we wore our colors proudly.

We attended games in person and if we couldn’t be there, we were glued to the TV. Over the years, we learned all the chants, hand motions, and traditions. Even the “swoop” for the University of North Florida Ospreys.

We didn’t know anything about the Stetson Hatters before we attended their baseball game. We didn’t even know what their colors were. (They are green and white.) It was interesting to sit and watch as the fans interacted during the game. Some of their traditions are amusing. We were a bit confused when a number of people donned crazy masks and led the crowd in a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” But observing all the fan responses was part of the fun.

We also noticed a large percentage of the people in attendance at the college baseball game could be called “seniors.”

I was expecting the crowd to be made up mostly of students. But I was wrong. We’re not sure if it’s always the case, but on the night we attended the game almost everyone around us was our age or older. We can only speculate why. DeLand isn’t known as a retirement community or anything. Maybe they were alumni who still root for the home team, or maybe their children attended Stetson. Maybe they’re just lifelong residents of the area who enjoy supporting the local college. Or maybe they have more time on their hands and don’t have to be up early the next day to go to work. Whatever the reason, we fit right in with the demographic.

Umpire at baseball game

While I was looking around people-watching, Bob was paying attention to the baseball game.

It was a pretty good game, too. In the first two innings the opposing team scored three unanswered runs. Stetson scored one run in the third inning, and then there were no runs by either team until the sixth inning. Stetson scored four more runs in the sixth and ended up winning the game five to three. We left the game feeling a little bit proud of our new home team.

Going to a college baseball game is something we will definitely do more often.

If the weather is nice, and we aren’t busy with anything else, there are worse ways to spend an evening. Like sitting home in front of the TV. If you have a college or university near you, maybe you should check out their baseball games. Or maybe your local high school if you don’t live near a college. You might enjoy experiencing their version of “America’s Pastime” as much as we did.

Have you attended a college or high school sporting event? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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