Sunday, May 13, 2007

Baseball, German Style

Went to our first German baseball game today. It was the Regensburg Legionäre (our home team, if you will) vs. the Gauting Indians. The home team leads the league right now, in both leagues (Bundesliga 1 & 2). We didn’t get to see much of the actual game, as we took turns watching Wee Laddie. They had a small sandbox there, so you can guess where we were. Nice, though, that they had something. Wee Laddie was very excited, talking all morning about the baseball game, but he only watched maybe 10 minutes of it.

We went with Christina and her husband Rainer, who also seemed very nice, from what little I got to talk with him. I hope we didn’t scare them too much about what it’s like with an active little one… their little Oliver (I keep forgetting to ask her whether that’s his actual name or his in-utero nickname) is already kicking up a storm like Wee Laddie was back in those days. They may think they’ll never be able to have a grownup conversation again. They may be right. ;)

We got completely lost, having followed the directions from the Legionäres website. We were running about 20 minutes late to begin with (it’s different with a kid since you can’t say “Oh, well, we’ll just eat when we get there. Here, have a cracker to tide you over.” Well, you can, but only to a point, and we’re really fighting the cycle of letting him fill up on crackers—or whatever super-easy but usually carb-loaded snack we can think of—and then him not eating the more nutritious meal because now he’s not hungry. So lunch got us a late start…) and then when we followed the directions, we ended up in an empty parking lot by the Donau Arena. I thought it a bit odd that it was so empty, but you know, Coors Field has *tons* of overflow parking, so I figured it was something like that, and that we might as well park there and walk over rather than trying to get closer parking only to find it full. Our directions had said there was a footpath that took only 4 minutes. So I thought we were all set.

We walk a few minutes and come to the Donau Arena. There’s not a single car there either. Nor a person. Hmmm. I think, “Maybe I’ll just call Christina and see where it is from here.” And realize that I’ve left the handy (that’s the German term for a cell phone) in the car. Yup, handy. (When I said I’d left it in the car, Wee Laddie said, “Have to go back & get it?” the reasoning for which rather impressed his father and me.) So we walk around the whole Donau Arena and only see one other person, and no other sports facilities at all. I’m getting a little stressed at this point, partly because I know that Germans as a people are put off by the relative lateness of Americans, and partly because I’m thinking that I don’t want Christina and Rainer to think we’re totally rude. (If they had any idea how absolutely punctual Guitarman usually is, they would guess that we’d gotten lost or something… but last time we met Christina, I’d gotten totally lost, too. She must think I’m a moron.)

We finally work our way back to the car and Guitarman thinks he sees stadium lights across the highway. So we leave the parking lot we’re in. For some unknown reason, we cannot go straight across the street, so I turn right and will flip a u-turn, right? Hah! Not yet, missy. We seriously had to go like a mile in the opposite direction before there was a place where I could turn around. Aaaargh! So when we finally turned around and were getting close-ish to the turn I called Christina to see if she could help us find it. She did and we finally arrived about an hour late. Luckily it was a tiny stadium and the seating is unreserved, so she and Rainer had already gone in and were watching the 1st game of the double-header. We got there just in time for the ½ hour break they took in between games. Oy vey. (I almost edited this down, but decided to keep the long explanation so that you really get the feel of how long it took us.)

I thought it was fun to see a baseball game here. It didn’t really feel that different culturally (though Rainer and Christina noted that there were no hot dogs), but it felt mostly like a very small town game rather than a pro sporting event. (This stadium is apparently the largest baseball stadium in Germany… it holds 2000 people.) During the break between games, the ballplayers all came out into the bleachers to sit with their girlfriends and families.

Rough start for us, but a nice afternoon.

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