Take Me Out to the Ball Game
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This week signals the start of the All-Star break for Major League Baseball -- and a perfect time to remember what made baseball Americaís pastime all those years ago. Forget about all the talks of work stoppage. Forget the millionaires who complain about not being paid more money to play a kidsí game. Forget the exorbitant price of the tickets -- not to mention parking, concessions, and seven-dollar beers.

Pack the family into the station wagon, and head out to the nearest minor league team you can find. Tickets for a family of four will likely be less than thirty bucks, and youíll get good seats. The cost of a single bottle of beer is about half what a six-pack really costs, and dang it, those hot dogs smell great from every seat in the park. Hang around after the game, and players from both dugouts will sign anything you ask them to.

Baseball in the minor leagues is still a leisurely game. The fans mill around during the game, talking to friends and meeting new folks. The faithful sit with their scorebooks, tracking the game, willing to fill you in on every detail of the season. The mascot bounces around the stands, playing with small kids and flirting up the old ladies -- without a security escort. Local companies hand out freebies on the way in the gate -- and on the way out.

Baseball is still a great sport when guys whose dreams are bigger than their paychecks play it. Those guys are on the field, nine at a time, waiting for the next pitch. Why not pull up a seat in the cheap seats and remember why this country once loved the game as much as they did?

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