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Before Los Alamos’ Day at the Isotopes stadium, the last baseball game I attended was in Havana, Cuba.
It felt a little surreal watching America’s favorite pastime in a foreign country. None of the sights I had grown accustomed to at a ball field were visible. There were no spectators sipping beer or munching on hot dogs and the stadium was completely bare of a glitzy scoreboard with dancing lights and electronic sounds.
Even though my companions managed to get the crowd to do the wave, I still felt like an outsider. I didn’t know the locals’ popular chants or common practices for going to a ballgame.
Attending the Isotopes’ game a couple of weeks ago brought me back to familiar turf. Whenever the crowd would cheer on a player or sing along to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” it was as though we were all united.
I loved watching a sea of hands stretch excitedly in the air, hoping to catch a fly ball. It was also endearing to observe young boys lean over the Isotopes’ dugout, asking for an autograph or some similar priceless souvenir.
No matter the country, the details of baseball are a mystery to me. As a result, I never pay much attention to a player’s batting average or how well he performs in the field.
I prefer the details that anyone can understand. The moments when the adrenaline is high as a player dives into a cloud of dust to reach the plate or when the team lines up to congratulate one another at the conclusion of the game, as if to host a mini celebration.
During the game I observed along with my co-workers, there seemed to be a strong cause for celebration. Not only did the Isotopes win, but those of us in the stands enjoyed Los Alamos Day.
Los Alamos residents came in the hundreds to pay tribute to the county’s 60th anniversary. They proudly wore stickers with the Los Alamos County logo printed on them, applauded members of Pierotti’s clowns as they threw the first pitch and admired Los Alamos resident Erica Bowman who performed the national anthem.
With all the highlights of the evening, the brightest thing was how in the spirit of true sportsmanship locals opened the celebration to everyone else in the stadium. No one needed to live in Los Alamos to be included in the fun; the invitation was open to anyone.
No wonder they call this America’s favorite pastime.