{If you don’t like baseball, you should probably stop reading this post now.}

Thursday my wife and I made a pilgrimage to Yankee Stadium, to mark the imminent passing of one of the most famous and significant of ballparks. Neither of us had ever been to the Stadium before, even though we have both been fairly serious baseball fans most of our lives. I grew up in the New York area in the 1950s, and was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. I went to games at Ebbets field, and, in the early years of the Mets, the Polo Grounds, but I would not have been caught dead at Yankee Stadium. Hating the Yankees was a birthright and a calling.

But the passage of decades change things, and looking back on 50-odd years of watching baseball, it seemed pretty obvious that I should add the Stadium to my life list while I still could. So we cashed in some frequent flier miles, presumed on the good offices of friends to get us good tickets (at prices that let you know what it takes to live in New York), and went to the big city to see the Yankees play the Angels.

The game was not especially well played, and the outcome was never in serious doubt after the 3rd inning, but we had a splendid time, and were reminded of what a wonderful game baseball can be.

We were in the fourth row of the upper deck, a little to the outfield side of 3rd base, with a great view of the infield and of all but the deep left-field corner of the outfield. Yankee Stadium is steep, so even though we were some distance from the field as the pigeon dives or the foul ball sails, we had a sense of being on top of the action. (Hmm, why did I never go to this wonderful place to watch a game, for all those years?) It was a perfect night for baseball. The sky started out blue and slowly darkened with the evening, with the stadium lights taking over from natural light, a phenomenon that never fails to thrill me.

Notwithstanding the hoary truth of the proposition that the game isn’t over ‘til the last man is out, this game was pretty much over in the third inning, when the score was 6-0 Angels, and even more over by the 6th, at 10-2. But the evening got darker (and, magically, the field got brighter) and we stayed to the end. In the bottom of the ninth, with the score at 12-3, the Yanks managed to load the bases with no one out. The few left in the crowd exchanged looks: Could this be the start of one of those miraculous comebacks of the kind that (almost) never happen? No, of course not. The Angels put in a competent pitcher, who let the runners on base score but no one else, and the game ended at 12-6, and was never really as close as that lopsided score.

The Yankees made it easy for me to do something that I had never done before. In that hopeless rally in the ninth, I was rooting for them all the way.