I am one of those who always carry binoculars in case I miss something. By losing something, I mean not seeing something up close and personal; or not seeing the larger, improved version of a particular shot or frame. Obviously, for bird watching, binoculars work. One can only get a little close to a robin’s nest or a sparrow’s birdhouse without being disturbing or intrusive. Binoculars allow you to stay at a good distance and still monitor the birds and see a lot. A mother robin feeding and protecting the family can be seen clearly from 100 feet or more without feeling that you are near the limit of ‘invasion of privacy’.
However, bringing binoculars to a ball game is not the same as using binoculars for bird watching. As a true fan of baseball AND the New York Yankees, I am often a little undecided about whether or not I should bring my binoculars to the stadium. If I do not bring them, I will continue to watch the game without problems. Being obsessive about not wanting to miss a single pitch, I feel like Watching the action through binoculars sometimes takes away the sheer joy of watching baseball.. On Friday, the day before my friend and I attended the Yankees-Phillies game, I noticed that I had slowed down my Leupold 8X30 Yosemite binoculars to a friend. The Leupold 8X30 are my personal favorites for watching baseball. No problem, I had my Carson YK 10X42 ready (I use them mostly for bird watching). They’re not that light and I wasn’t sure how the extra weight would work for a three hour set. And to my surprise, I found that weight was not a factor at all. And with the added magnification, the close-ups were more intimate. Sitting in section 215, between third base and the left-field foul post, they were certainly helpful.
As for taking away the pure pleasure, 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 is pretty ridiculous. We got to our seats about 45 minutes before the first pitch and got a close look at the players during warm-ups, stretches, etc. It was also great to see the players chatting with each other, sometimes smiling and laughing. We saw Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon laughing quite a bit after a brief conversation that took place at second base; with Phillies short stop Jimmy Rollins. We immediately wanted to know what these two stars (of rival teams) were talking about. That is what is so much fun about watching a game live. Experiencing the personal connection between two normal guys who just make a lot of money playing baseball … makes fans even bigger fans. With my Carson YK 10X42, the experience was definitely better than it would have been if we hadn’t brought them. And if I hadn’t slowed down my Leupolds, I never would have learned that a full-size 10×42 binocular works great for watching a baseball game.
As for the game itself, we were able to get some close-ups at key points in the game when we were feeling so inclined. At the end of the eighth inning, the Yankees were down 4-2. With the wind blowing a bit, we thought about leaving early for dinner. Until that point, the Yankees looked pretty bad at the plate. Obviously, at this point, we didn’t know we were about to witness the best win of the season; in a season that has already had several. Luckily we stayed. With one out in the bottom of the ninth and Damon in the first, I watched Alex Rodriguez through my 10X42 for every pitch thrown by the Phillies pitcher, and last year’s best closer in both leagues, Brad Lidge. On the face of it, I would never have known how good the at-bat was without the binoculars. With a 3-2 count, A-Rod connected and then posed, as he always does when he knows he just connected one out of the park. We watched the ball drop into the right field seats. Wow! Tie game! Then I got caught up in the frenzy of the Bronx crowd and put my binoculars down. Two batters later, Melky Cabrera had his third winning hit of the year and the Yankees somehow won another game that they had no right to win. And we were there to see it … and we had the best viewpoint in the stadium!