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I attended my first Opening Day on Monday and it. was. AMAZING. Can’t believe I’ve gone 27 years without this life experience! The game had sold out in about 5 minutes, but Alex and I monitored tickets on StubHub and ended up purchasing day of. I have the ultimate budget tip for you… get your dad to buy your tickets! My dad joined us for the game and picked up our ticket tab- $15 each. Not bad for Opening Day with the Yankees in town right?

Waiting for this game paid off and in keeping with the budget theme, we opted to take the bus down to the ballpark since there is a stop at the top of our street. It was quick and we weren’t the only people who wanted to skip the hassle of traffic and parking, though we were the only Yankee fans on the bus…

Once in the city we had to walk a couple of blocks to Progressive, but it was nice to see all the fans out and about tailgating. Excitement was in the air, and some rainy looking clouds. Last season I attended 29 games without any weather issues, so I was hoping my luck would run over for at least one more! As we walked up to the park we were sad to see the Nick Swisher banner- this was our guy!

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Alex and I being big fans of batting practice, headed straight down to the field, while my dad hung back to find a good standing room spot. We were too late and hit that weird period were the grounds crew is getting the field set. As we waited we took a few pictures of our signs for the game and I met up with a friend from high school, Tina. A creepy dude set his young son on Alex and asked her to take a picture of her kissing his son’s cheek because of her shirt- it says “I only kiss Yankee fans” though this kid wasn’t what she had in mind!

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Finally the Opening Day festivities commenced and the teams were brought out, line ups announced, and the anthem was played. Five pairs of father/sons including Tito and Terry Francona threw the first pitch and the oldest Tribe fan via satellite yelled the greatest two words in baseball- play ball!

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I was happy to see Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound for the Tribe and he didn’t let me down as former Indian Travis Hafner launched a three run homer. When he was announced during the pre-game he was given a standing ovation and this first at bat the crowd cheered. That homer solidified his fate- this was the end of his grace period. I yelled a hearty “PROOOONKKK” for good measure. My joy was a little premature as Kuroda came out the bottom of the inning and struggled. As he proceeded to throw into the dirt and walk guys left and right, I inwardly groaned hoping he could get out of this mess. He did but not without giving up three runs. After seeing Nick Swisher return to the mound in a Tribe jersey I knew he was dead to me. I know he’s a Buckeye, but there’s nothing worse than seeing him score on my team. After savoring the Indians fans’ misery over Hafner I was served a little taste of my own medicine! It is funny to note that he and Hafner both wear #33 and were playing against their former clubs. I didn’t notice Hafner talking to his former teammates, but Swisher jawed at Robinson Cano a little. Wish him luck, but not against the Yankees!

Alex and I stayed in the standing room along the first baseline for the entire game… we were glued to the action! This game had everything- pre-game festivities, an early lead by the Yankees, a little drama as the Tribe tied it up, the Yankees rediscovering their offense, Cano going the yard twice (this made Alex happy!),  a little bit of life by the Indians… just enough to make the late innings exciting, and a fan on the field to cap off the night. The guy (wearing a feather around his head no less) ran onto the field from right field and poor Ichiro took the blunt of this distaste for the Yanks getting plenty of middle fingers before the fan continued to center field and did the Bernie and very patiently waited for the police to surround him. He even willingly offered up his arms to the cop to arrest him. The crowd went wild as they escorted him off. My dad commented, “that was nothing like 10 cent beer night.” I can only imagine! Though the Indians have lowered some of their beers to $4, that stand is in a far corner of the park. There were plenty of inebriated fans around us shelling out $10.75 a beer. Towards the end of the game we saw a couple fights and surprisingly they were between just Indians fans. Alex and I had observed there weren’t many Yankee fans present at this game, so they had to make due!

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The Yankees ended up winning 11-6, so the Barnharts were happy! We still aren’t sure how much we want to cheer for Kevin Youkilis, but we are eating our words about Travis Hafner. He was the hero of the game and fans surrounded the Yankees’ dug out during his post game interview. We hurried back to the bus stop since my dad was anxious to get back home to watch the basketball game… couldn’t believe the game lasted almost four hours! We got our money’s worth on this one!

For this trip I spent $30 on gas and had I paid for my ticket it would have been $15 and my bus trips $4.50 round trip ( $49.50 in all). We didn’t indulge in any ballpark snacks or beverages this time, electing to eat at home instead. I was on cloud nine as I enjoyed my first game of the season with my family and Tina. It was a bit of a Brecksville reunion as I ran into quite a few people from my hometown. All in all this was my favorite baseball experience without Derek Jeter being present. I guess life does go on, even if your favorite player isn’t on the field. Hopefully he gets back next month, because I’m not ready to part completely with him just yet! As always you can have a memorable outing to a ballpark without shelling out the cash and I will do my best to provide testament to that this summer. I also am working on some other post ideas, so check back often!

Did you attend an Opening Day? Please share, I love baseball stories!

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