We went to watch the local minor-league team, The Tulsa Drillers, play on Friday night. I’m not a big fan of baseball and I can’t really hold my interest for longer than five innings but I enjoy going to these games anyway. For what it’s worth, I do actually stay the entire game. I might also add that the kids can usually only maintain an interest for three innings so I’ve got them beat there.

But it’s such a pleasant excursion compared to major league games. I’ve attended a few of the Texas Ranger’s games (the team for whom the Drillers are a farm team) and the experience is much different. I can remember everything in Texas being much more expensive, pretentious, and frantic. It began in the parking lot with attendants leaning in demanding $5.00 and taking the attitude that we were privileged to even be there and we should be lucky to only having to pay $5 and now get moving you’re holding up the line. We were frantically waved into our spots by other attendants who clearly thought that this was as important as a space shuttle launch. And the $5 amount was 15 years ago!

Inside it was little different: expensive concessions and all sorts of people who took the whole thing to such a religious fervor that you began to wonder what they did with the rest of their lives.

This is in stark contrast to the Tulsa Drillers. Like many minor league teams these days, they have cleaned up their presentation and really try to gather in the families. Friday night was free admission night and the stadium may have been half full. They were also giving away notebooks for the kids – back to school season you know. I went down to the concession stand to buy something for everybody and the entire family of four got something and I paid a total of $10.50. Not bad – that might have bought two drinks down in Arlington.

Parking is also free. They share a parking lot with the fairgrounds and the local horse racing track so you might be sharing the lot with baseball fans, horse-racing fans, people showing horses in one of the barns, the state fair, or the department of health offices. It’s an eclectic crowd.

So we tromped from our dirt parking space, passing up the free ride on a tractor-pulled wagon, to our free seats along the third base line and met up with some friends – one of whom was with the church choir that was presenting the national anthem.

It’s almost as entertaining to watch all the other people in the stadium as it is to watch the game. I particularly like the drink vendors in the stands. One guy was a hit with the kids since he was wearing a cowboy hat of his own making – it had been constructed out of the cardboard of a Budweiser 24-pack box. He had a booming bass voice and was calling out “Iiiiiiiiice Cooooooooooold Beeeeeeeeeeeer!” The kids liked the hat.

I had to go over it all again: why I don’t drink beer when everybody else does. Sheesh! I don’t see teetotaling as an “alternative lifestyle” and resent having to explain it. Perhaps it is an alternative lifestyle.

Evan was there with one of his buddies. They were sitting in front of us and eventually, the two little girls next to them began looking at them and giggling. My first reaction was to say “Hey, are you making fun of my boy!?” but Mel kept me from it. She seemed to think there was some other chemistry at work but either way I didn’t like it.

But, everybody had a good time. The giggling gaggle of girls left early leaving us to our sweating. Tulsa won 9-5 over the Wichita Wranglers.