C’mon in, there’s no social distancing here.
I know it looks like the sports room in my house, but once I close that door, it’s going to be something else.
After all, if someone is suggesting escaping … you know … by sleeping in the guest room and imagining it’s a trip, we can turn a room full of sports books, pictures and other memorabilia into a portal to where sports haven’t changed.
Just ignore the scratching. Our cat Sasha hates when I shut the door.
Not only does everyone stand up, whatever noises people are making combine into a single “oooohhhhh” as we collectively watch the ball fly.
Is it going to go out, or not?
It goes out, dropping deep into the bleachers in left field. Music plays and people yell and high-five both friends and strangers as Aaron Judge rounds the bases.
Watching the Yankees beat up on Detroit … this is what we imagined over the winter. Everyone is healthy and hitting, and Gerrit Cole looks like he has been pitching in New York his whole life.
Suzi and I follow our pregame pizza with ice cream after the sixth inning. Two more Yankees mini-helmets for the collection. That makes five.
Having once gone to a game while being pounded by crosswinds and had another we supposed to go to cancelled because of one of the rainiest days in the history of New York City, I know games in April and May can be sketchy weather-wise.
However, the weather is glorious for this one. My portal, my rules, my weather.
The Red Sox come to Yankee Stadium in a couple weeks for their first series. It would be just awful to whip up on them.
This is my first game of the year, but hopefully far from the last, since the New Hampshire Fisher Cats are an hour away in Manchester and the Lowell Spinners will be starting up pretty soon.
Plus, I have to get back to Hartford for a Yard Goats game when we visit my in-laws. That I’ve only been once is almost a crime.
For now, though, we need to count noses at our meeting point outside the stadium. It’s off to the next stop. I hope you brought something for your ears.
If you’re not paying attention, the rumble will shake you to your stomach.
It goes by in an instant, lessening as it gets farther away, then growing to a crescendo until it’s on top of you again.
All in less than 25 seconds … 400 times, give or take.
We’re in Dover, Delaware, at the one-mile concrete bowl known as “The Monster Mile,” for a NASCAR race.
We’re high above the track between the third and fourth turns. You can see (and hear) everything that’s going on.
I can’t complain about the results. Kevin Harvick and Alex Bowman finish 1-2, and Kyle Busch crashes early. I’m listening to the race broadcast on my phone — another reason why you should bring something for your ears — so I hear him complain like he always does when he doesn’t get his way.
I’ve been here for races twice before, the first time 20 years ago. I got to see Dale Earnhardt race. My mother and I came the next year, too, and Suzi and I stopped by the empty track while on vacation in Philadelphia, which is only about 80 miles away.
If you go past the track and make a couple of turns, Dover’s actually a pretty nice town, but we’re going to save that (and what I assume is still brutal traffic getting out of the track) for another day, because we have one more stop to make.
Sorry, everyone. Yes, I know I can’t sing, but there was no way I wasn’t going to take part in “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at Anfield, even if it was less “signing” and more “shouting along to the words.”
They played it at Fenway Park when I went for a Liverpool preseason game, but I was stuck at the concession stand, and, let’s face it, it’s not the same.
Is everyone feeling OK? I know we’ve picked up a few locals for this part of our journey, but I wasn’t sure if jet lag was a thing when you teleported across the Atlantic via an upstairs bedroom in Massachusetts and a racetrack in Delaware.
I had taken a tour the year before, but my effort to get tickets six years ago met with failure, the game selling out as I sat in an online queue at my computer, having gotten up at 3 a.m.
Just as well, the game against Hull City ended in a scoreless tie.
However, today — well, actually a few days ago, but again, my portal, my rules, so we can go backwards and forwards in time — Liverpool is having a glorious day against Burnley.
Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino are putting on a clinic up front, and in the back, the mountainous Virgil van Dijk his usual dominant self.
Liverpool have long won this year’s Premier League, so the day is pure celebration.
“Mo Salah! Mo Salah! Mo Salah!
Running down the wing
Salah, la, la, la
The Egyptian King!”
“He’s our centre-half
He’s number four
Watch him defend
And we watch him score
He’ll pass the ball
Calm as you like
He’s Virgil van Dijk
He’s Virgil van Dijk”
Suzi grew up Catholic, and I once asked her how everyone knew what to do in church without being told. She said if you do it long enough, you just know.
I’m assuming that’s how it is here with the chants and the songs.
The party continues after the final whistle, but unfortunately, it’s time to open the door.
Everyone’s gone. It’s just Suzi, Sasha and me.
Walking, going to the store and picking up dinner are basically adventures … as long as you do your best to stay six feet away from everyone and wear your mask if you’re in a crowd of any kind.
And loaves of banana bread are like gold doubloons, with the advantage being basically anybody can make them.
No one has any idea when sports will come back, and if they do, we probably won’t even be able to go.
But it was still fun to think about closing a door and going wherever we want.
Did everyone have a good time?