When a Puerto Rican Goes to Her First Baseball Game

July 6, 2017Raquel Sofia

I’ve never been into sports.

In high school, I had an arsenal of excuses to get out of gym class and if I ever did participate, I put in minimal effort and still managed to almost always get hit in the face with a volleyball. I recently called the San Francisco football team “The Sixty-Niners” and I can’t tell you who won the Super Bowl or wether or not the Heat made the NBA finals this year. Knowing this about me, everyone was really surprised when I told them in a bubbly, excited voice: “I’m going to my first baseball game tonight!” A friend asked who was playing and I responded with all the confidence in the world: “the Marlins versus the Knicks”. If you didn’t believe me when I said I’ve never been into sports, I’m sure you do now. So, why does a girl like me, who isn’t sporty and doesn’t even eat hot dogs, want to go to a baseball game? It’s simple- life gets boring if you don’t try new stuff.

Before the game, everyone told me the same thing: “Baseball is really boring. You’re gonna hate it.” Guess what? Everyone was wrong. I walked into Marlins Park not expecting much and was immediately awe-struck. WOW THIS PLACE IS AWESOME! It’s huge! And the ceiling moves? Whoa! Theres a colorful statue with marlins that dance whenever there’s a home run! There’s a bobble head collection! There’s tons of beer! AND THEY SELL CROQUETAS? If you’re one of those “too cool for school” people, you might find all of these things extremely cheesy. I on the other hand was in heaven. I’m a firm believer that we all need a little cheese in our lives in order to be happy. So with “Despacito” bumping in the background, I set off to explore Marlins Park.

The coolest thing about the park is that from the top tier where all the important stuff like alcohol and food is, you can still see the field and watch the game. I walked past food stands selling “pan con bistec” and empanadas and I considered abandoning all my vegetarian principles for seven minutes in heaven with a Cuban sandwich from La Carreta. I passed a SuViche pop up, a Don Camarón stand serving up the restaurant’s signature fried seafood, Calle Ocho’s own Azúcar Ice Cream Company and different vendors selling local craft beers. I have to say, good job Miami. Good job representing our culture and featuring local food in our baseball park. I don’t know much about sports, but I’m willing to bet there’s no other park in the US where you can get a “media noche” sandwich at the bottom of the sixth.

Side note- as I wrote “bottom of the sixth” I gave myself a high five for being sick at baseball talk.

I’m going to be honest, when the game started, my first major concern was finding out if the players were hot. I craned my head and peeked over the railing like a thirteen year old at a One Direction concert, but unfortunately, it was impossible to tell. You see, they wear caps that cover their faces and long, baggy uniforms. I suspect they’re super hot underneath all that extra fabric, but I’ll never know for sure. What I did find really cool, however, was that the Marlins have a developed a system that lets me know which players are potential future husband material and which ones aren’t. When a player goes up to bat, the stadium blasts his favorite song over the speakers, so that I know his musical taste and can judge him accordingly. It’s like a new, better form of Tinder. Most guys pick songs in the realms of country (Swipe left), hip-hop (Swipe Left) and trap (SWIPE LEFT AF), but once in a while a guy would surprise me with a salsa classic or a rock jam and I would think: “there he is, that’s my boy.” (Swipe right, baby)

As far as the actual game, I was completely lost. I found myself singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” every inning to remember the rules, but I quickly realized baseball is way more complicated than that. The song should really go “One, two, three strikes you’re out, unless the last out is a foul and then you have another chance to hit in the ol’ ball gaaaaaame!” My good friend Conrad, an ex football player turned yogi, was nice enough to walk me through every single play and I have to say, by the time the Marlins beat the Mets, I was pretty fucking into it.

But my favorite part of the night wasn’t the baseball, or the guys, or the food, it was the crowd. Miami Marlins games are a family affair. I saw little kids twirling and jumping with abandon while their parents did a dance for the cameras. I saw old couples kissing and a few fathers watching the game with their daughters. Everywhere I looked I saw grandparents, cousins, brothers, sisters, moms, dads, all enjoying America’s pastime together. It warms my heart just thinking about it. Going to a baseball game with the people you love seems to be the thing to do in Miami and that right there makes me a Marlins fan for life.

Follow Raquel’s adventures on her blog or on the social sphere @raquelsofia