Can one enjoy attending a baseball game alone?
In a column for The Week, Jeva Lange thoughtfully describes her experience attending a baseball game by herself. She did a bit of research beforehand, finding that a lot of people shared her consternation about showing up at the ballpark alone. Some people advised those flying solo to stay home. In fact, Lange found someone on a social anxiety support forum who wrote, “You might do better just watching it on TV this time. I think going ‘out’ to games is supposed to be a social thing that you do with friends or family. But that’s just me, though.”
Lange went by herself anyway and ended up having a great time at Dodger Stadium.
I had a similar experience the first time I attended a baseball game alone, something like six years ago in September. It was a Braves-Phillies game and my friend, with whom I had typically gone to games at Citizens Bank Park, couldn’t join me that night. (As a nerd, my other friends are way more interested in video games and Magic: the Gathering than sports.) At the time, both teams were competitive and vying for the NL East crown. Cole Hamels was starting and I really didn’t want to miss it.
But then I started to think about it, and I had a similar thought as Lange: is it socially acceptable to go to baseball games alone? As I’m presumably much lazier than her, I didn’t bother to do any research. I just figured, “Eh, screw it, I’ll go anyway.” So I did.
My seats were behind home plate, just a bit to the first base side, in the 200 level. At first, it felt weird having no one to talk to, but then it began to feel like how it feels when I watch baseball every night by myself at home. I occasionally wrote some thoughts in a little notepad I brought -- which I never brought with me when I attended games with companions -- and was able to focus on all of the little things that go on during a game: defensive positioning, who’s warming up in the bullpen, where the catcher is setting up, how long the pitcher takes in between pitches. I could appreciate hearing the smack of Hamels’ fastball in Carlos Ruiz’s catcher’s mitt, and the sound the ball made off of Ryan Howard’s bat.
I had a great time. Lots of people would have. I’m glad Lange shared her experience, and hopefully it helps remove some of the stigma around attending baseball games by one’s self. It really can make for a fun baseball experience.