I recently returned from a 10-day trip to France and Belgium. It was my first time visiting the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, and I spent the weeks prior wondering if I’d be able to keep up with the fast-moving sports world while there.
I was walking past Notre Dame for the third time that week when someone yelled those words at me. It took a second for me to process. It was the first time that I had worn the orange-and-brown Padres hat that I brought along on the trip. Apparently, fandom and tourism do mix. Luckily, that was not the only experience I had with baseball in France.
Knowing that it was a crucial time in the season for the Padres, I brought along a laptop and an iPad, hoping to access my MLB.TV account. I was a little concerned when attempts to watch Hulu on the first night were thwarted with a message about not being able to watch outside of the USA. I also didn’t figure the time difference into my endeavor until I got to Paris, which is when I realized why professional baseball has yet to capture Europeans’ hearts. Most MLB games are played between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. on that side of the world. I set my alarm for 4 a.m. and crossed my fingers that MLB.TV didn’t mind European viewers.
The good news: I was able to watch as much Padres baseball as I wanted, and that the iPad MLB At Bat app makes it incredibly easy to dig through the box score or look at pitch tracker while viewing the game. The bad news: besides the feed being about a full minute behind the live broadcast (and, therefore, Twitter), is that I now had a reason to set an alarm for 4 a.m. for nearly every day of my trip.
For someone who has never attended a double-header, and loved Ernie Banks’ motto “Let’s play two!” I did find joy in the fact that scheduling creates one day each week in which there are two Padres games in a single day in France. Games air in San Diego on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, but they air in France at 4 a.m. Sunday and again Sunday night. You’ve never truly experienced baseball the right way until you’ve started and ended your day with Padres games.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
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