The 1979 All-Star Game in Seattle.
I'm not quite sure why I still have my ticket to the 1979 All-Star game in Seattle. I'm not much of a saver and the game doesn't rank among the most memorable. But I'm glad it managed to survive in a little plastic bag with a few other old items, none very valuable but all with memories attached.
The first thing I noticed is the price--all of $7. That is ridiculous and impossible now, but back then a college student with a free week could drive to Seattle, see the game and not have to rob a bank somewhere in between.
The mere fact that my brother and I could buy tickets at any price is also impossible now. We heard one day while watching an Angels game that tickets were available. We checked the calendar, figured why not try and sent off a check.
All-star games are now appointment viewing. My sons are making plans for next year's game in Anaheim, hoping they'll be able to get into one of the various events that surround the real game. They don't even consider watching the actual game because those tickets are out of reach for anyone with a budget or a sense of priorities.
But things were much, much simpler in 1979. The tickets arrived and we drove to our eldest brother's house in Portland. After staying a few days, we drove to Seattle straight for the Kingdome, the Mariners' stadium that's long gone now.
We missed most of the game's top play when Dave Parker's throw from right field got the Angels' Brian Downing at home. Parker was in right field and our seats seemed about 1,000 feet above him. He went after a ball in the corner, disappeared from our view and then a throw came out of nowhere headed to the plate. We were probably more surprised than Downing.
My younger son still has a shirt I bought at the game with my last $5. The players are retired now and I couldn't fit half my frame into that shirt.
The memories of the trip linger, of course. Being at an event in a strange city. Fun times with one of my brothers before we both went off to more adult pursuits. The stupidity of driving home from Seattle stopping only for food and gas.
I wish my kids could find adventures that cost so little but are worth so much.