I’m one to always carry binoculars around in case I miss something. By missing something, I mean not seeing something up close and personal; or not seeing the larger and enhanced version of a particular shot or frame. Obviously for birding, binoculars work. One can only get so close to a nest of baby robins or a sparrow’s bird house without being disruptive or intrusive. Binoculars enable you to remain at a nice distance and still check in on the birds and see a great deal. A mother robin feeding and protecting the family can be clearly viewed from 100 feet or more without feeling like you’re hovering near the ‘invasion of privacy’ boundary.
Bringing binoculars to a ball game, however, is not the same as using binoculars for birding. As a true baseball AND NY Yankees fan, I am often a little torn as to whether or not I should I bring my binoculars to the Stadium. If I don’t bring them I will still see the game just fine. Being obsessive about not wanting to miss a single pitch, I feel that viewing the action through binoculars sometimes takes away from the pure enjoyment of watching baseball. On Friday, the day before my friend and I were to attend the Yankees-Phillies game, I realized that I had lent my Leupold 8X30 Yosemite Binoculars to friend. The Leupold 8X30’s are my personal favorite for viewing baseball. Not a problem, I had my Carson YK 10X42’s ready (I use these mainly for birding). They aren’t as light, and I wasn’t sure how the extra weight would work out for a three hour game. And much to my surprise, I found the weight to be not a factor at all. And with the extra magnification, the close-ups were more intimate. Sitting in section 215, in between third base and the left field foul pole, they certainly came in handy.
As for taking away from the pure enjoyment, we picked our spots and it really worked out perfectly. I mean, what baseball fan is going to watch an entire game through binoculars anyway? That’s pretty ridiculous. We got to our seats about 45 minutes before first pitch and got some close views of the players during warm-ups, stretching, etc. It was also really cool to see players conversing with one another, sometimes smiling and laughing. We saw Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon laughing pretty hard after a short conversation that took place at 2nd base; with the Phillies’ short-stop, Jimmy Rollins. We immediately wanted to know what these two stars (from opposing teams) were talking about. That’s what is so fun about seeing a live game. Experiencing the personal connection between two regular guys that just happen to make a lot of money playing baseball… makes fans become even bigger fans. With my Carson YK 10X42’s, the experience was definitely better than it would have been if we had not brought them. And had I not lent out my Leupolds, I never would have learned that a full-size 10×42 binocular actually work very well for viewing a baseball game.
As for the game itself, we were able to get some close-ups at key points in the game when we felt so inclined. At the end of the eighth inning, the Yanks were down 4-2. With the wind kicking up a little bit, we contemplated leaving early to get some dinner. Up to then, the Yanks looked pretty terrible at the plate. Obviously at this point, we did not know that we were about to witness the best walk-off win of the season; in a season that has already had several. Thankfully we stayed. With one out in the bottom of the ninth and Damon on first, I viewed Alex Rodriguez through my 10X42’s for each pitch thrown by the Phillies pitcher, and last year’s best closer in both leagues, Brad Lidge. In hind sight, I never would have known how great the at-bat was without the binoculars. With a 3-2 count, A-Rod connected, and then posed-just like he always does when he knows he just hit one out of the park. We watched the ball fall into the right field seats. Wow! Tie game! I then got caught up in the frenzy of the Bronx crowd and put down the binoculars. Two batters later, Melky Cabrera got his third game winning hit of the year and the Yankees somehow won another game they had no business winning. And we were there to see it… and had the best vantage point in the stadium!