Episode 156 — Andrew Iden: A New Era for the O’s, What the Minor Leagues Do Well, & Why Winning Feels So Much Better After Sticking Through the Lean Years

Andrew Iden is an Orioles fan living in Atlanta, GA. Originally from the Washington, DC area, Andrew became an O’s fan at a young age, and has stayed a fan of the team even after moving out of the area. We discuss the shifting of the local fandom that took place when the Nationals came to town, Andrew’s ballpark travel, and what he finds appealing about the minor leagues. We also touch on why experiencing the lean years with your team makes the highs even more enjoyable.

Find Andrew Online:
Website: andrewiden.com

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This podcast is part of the Curved Brim Media Network:
Website: curvedbrimmedia.com

Read the full transcript

[00:00:00] Andrew: my wife and I were at the ballpark. And it was like a, you know, it was like an August night. They were 30 games out of first place. It was terrible.

[00:00:07] Andrew: There was maybe 6, 000 people at the game. And like, she and I were sitting with a friend that there was three of us and we were sitting behind home plate because we had moved down because there were so few people. we were kind of laughing like, what are we doing here? Like, there’s nobody here.

[00:00:21] Andrew: They’re just so bad. But then last year she and I went to Baltimore for the Texas series you know, we got tickets behind home plate. In like the 17th row and I mean the place was packed and they were waving the towels and like, I turned to her and I was like, this is why we came that night because we remember what it was like then and here we are and we could not be further away from that

[00:00:44] Anna: What’s up bucket heads. Thanks for tuning in and welcome to episode number 156 of the baseball bucket list podcast. I’m your host Anna DiTommaso. And each week on the show, I speak with a different baseball fan about their favorite memories, what’s left on their baseball bucket list. And what the game of baseball means to them.

[00:01:01] Anna: We chat about the shifting local dynamic. When the NATS showed up in DC and how he’s developed a soft spot for his now local team, the Atlanta Braves.

[00:01:13] Anna: This week. I sat down with Andrew Iden from Atlanta. Andrew is originally from the Washington DC area and is a lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan.

[00:01:22] Anna: We chat about the shifting local dynamic. When the Nats showed up in DC and how he’s developed a soft spot for his now local team, the Atlanta Braves. We also touch on Andrew’s ballpark travel and why he’s a fan of the minor leagues, as well as the importance of experiencing the lean years with your team and how that makes the highs even more enjoyable.

[00:01:42] Anna: This one was a ton of fun. I had a blast lamenting the woes of being fans of the underdogs in the AL East with Andrew. and I know y’all. We’re really enjoyed this one. So let’s get right to it. Now without further ado. Sit back, relax and enjoy some baseball banter with Andrew Iden. Andrew, thank you so much for joining us today on the Baseball Bucket List. How are things in Atlanta?

[00:02:06] Andrew: Uh, they’re good. They’re good. Um, you know, right now, uh, I think it’s raining outside, but, uh, yeah, everything in Atlanta is good. Um, from a baseball standpoint, I think that people here are on the, uh, a little bit nervous because of the Acuna injury and the Strider injury and the Braves expectations. Um, but yeah, everything’s good.

[00:02:26] Andrew: Everything’s good.

[00:02:27] Anna: Yeah, I mean, I know you’re not a Braves fan, um, you know, I know that’s not your number one team, but yeah, there’s, there’s some hesitation, I got a sense, some, some worry amongst that fan base, just the bad luck that they’ve seen here recently and you know, that, that streak of back to back to back to back.

[00:02:47] Anna: Uh, Division Championships. It looks a little dicey right now.

[00:02:52] Andrew: Yeah, I think, uh, I think the Phillies would are, um, you know, it’s their division to be had. so it’s funny, I, the Braves are, you know, I call them my second team. I married a diehard Braves fan. And I’ve lived in Atlanta for 20 years. And so I’ve, I’ve adopted the Braves as, as the, the other team in my life and spent, um, I actually don’t live far from where they used to play at Turner field and, uh, have spent many, uh, many games at Shrews Park.

[00:03:19] Andrew: So, um, so I am in a, yeah, the Braves are my number two team, but yeah, I think people are a little nervous. Um, although they will tell you, well, we won a world series without Acuna and I, and I would say, well, you also had Freddie Freeman and a number of other things that were not. That are not in play this time.

[00:03:35] Andrew: So I do think there’s some trepidation, but I also think there’s a lot of people who are like that Anthopolis will figure it out. They’ll figure out what to do.

[00:03:43] Anna: It seems like they always do. Seems like they always do. Yeah, so, we jumped in a little there, but, uh, you know, the first question I usually start with right out of the gate is, is how is it that you became a fan of this wonderful game?

[00:03:56] Andrew: Um, I think when I was, I think the, the very, very, very beginning was. I bought a pack of baseball cards when I was probably, I don’t know, six or seven. And Daryl Strawberry was the first card that was on top. And he was the first player that I loved just because of his name. And, uh, you know, my brother and my sister weren’t sports fans, really.

[00:04:21] Andrew: And I drifted to baseball instantly. And I don’t know why. but it was, that was kind of the first thing that It opened the door for me of like what baseball is, um, and I, you know, it just kind of went from there and then I played like, you know, Little League and I was just, I was obsessed with it constantly.

[00:04:40] Anna: Did you grow up in the Atlanta area or are you from, from some other part of the country?

[00:04:45] Andrew: No, so my, so the story, my story is that I’m from originally from about an hour outside of D. C. and so the Nationals were in D. C. in, you know, the early eighties. And, uh, I, my dad said to me once, hey, maybe we should take you to Baltimore to see an Orioles game. And I was like, yes, absolutely. Let’s do it.

[00:05:04] Andrew: And so that was in June of 1990. And I remember walking, on the concourse of Old Memorial Stadium. And I walked out of, walked through the tunnel, and as every kid does, you know, as you walk through the tunnel, the field opens up to you. And it was the greenest grass I’d ever seen in my life. And to this day, I will never forget that moment.

[00:05:32] Andrew: And it was Yankees Orioles. And, I mean, we were in the 300 level. My dad bought, you know, we got the cheap seats up top. But, I mean, for two, three hours, I, like, it was like stimulus overload. Like, people, and smells, and sand, and I was just like, what is this? And, uh, Orioles beat the Yankees. And, um, from then, you know, I was an Orioles fan the rest of my life and still am.

[00:05:55] Andrew: So that was a long way of answering your question of, I’m not from Atlanta. Um, so, you know, people, people are always like, are you from Baltimore? And I’m like, well, technically, no, I’m from Virginia. But then it’s like, oh yeah, you didn’t have the nationals. The Orioles were the team in DC for so long. so that’s where my, where I’m from.

[00:06:13] Andrew: And that’s kind of where my allegiance to the Orioles, uh, came from. started.

[00:06:18] Anna: Yeah. Well, I mean, it makes sense. You mentioned the, the expos had long since been in existence, so no, no Washington team. Um,

[00:06:29] Andrew: And I, and like, I would hear my dad say things about like the senators and it’s like, well, that’s the old date. Like who, who’s even talking about the senators. They haven’t been here for ages. And so like, that was just a foreign concept to me. So the Orioles were, you know, they were the team that the Washington post covered and they were the team that the Washington news stations covered.

[00:06:48] Andrew: I mean, there was no baseball in DC for so long. And it was just, the Orioles were the only one. So, um, so yeah, sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but that’s kind of where, where that all started.

[00:06:56] Anna: no, I mean, I think that that’s, um, I, I can understand being a kid and kind of having your allegiances tied to a certain team. And then even when the landscape shifts as you get older, you know, It’s difficult to, uh, perhaps cheer for a different team, I think, you know, especially if, if that’s the core memory that you have of, of the game.

[00:07:18] Andrew: Yeah, and I, I have some friends, and the Nationals came to DC after I left DC, so I never really, I didn’t really have a connection with them anyway, so, and in fact, I mean, became a big rival of the Braves, so like, I actually, I don’t dislike the Nationals, they’re just not relevant to me, they’re no, you know, there’s nothing, but my friends, I have friends of mine that I grew up with who became Nationals fans, I understand it, but like, for me, if I were still in D, I, I just couldn’t, I couldn’t turn my back on the Orioles, like, the black and orange is where it’s at, you know?

[00:07:49] Andrew: And so, and I understand my friends who made the turn, and like, you know, it’s what, the old phrase is like, the heart wants what the heart wants, man, you, you just can’t, you know. and so, you know, and everything about to me in DC, like Nats Park, I can’t turn my back on Camden Yards. Like, you know, it’s the best.

[00:08:09] Andrew: So um, and you know, like, I mean, Cal Ripken was and still is my favorite athlete of all time. And like, I just, the idea of all of that just kind of being pushed to the side for something new. I just, I just can’t do it. I just can’t.

[00:08:25] Anna: I get it. I definitely get it. And, uh, you know, I’ve told this story on the show before, but I went to school in North Carolina and of course the Carolinas don’t have major league baseball. So any kid born and raised in the Carolinas. They were either gonna be Baltimore fans, or more usually Braves fans.

[00:08:44] Anna: But then all of the sudden, when I was in school, is when the Nationals came back to DC and, uh, you know, all of a sudden you started seeing a couple of people, they were waffling a little bit, and then they were all in on the Nationals. And, uh, it was just so, it was such a cool experiment to kind of like watch unfold because, uh, you know, those kids never had.

[00:09:09] Anna: Teams, local teams like that. So, um, it was almost like, well, this one looks pretty cool. So I’ll just give that a try for a while.

[00:09:18] Andrew: Well, and I also have friends that. And when the nationals won the world series, I was, I wasn’t rooting. I like, I was happy for my friends that were rooting for the nationals and that they won a world series, but to me, it was so unfair that like, They had moved on from the Orioles and become fans of the Nationals and within like 10, 12 years they’d won a World Series.

[00:09:42] Andrew: I was like, this isn’t fair. You can’t just jump trains. Like, that’s not how this works. Like, you gotta kind of like live and die with it, you know? And like, I mean, I, I sort of understand cause I mean, for so long, the Orioles were so bad. And like, It was just tough. like before there was the whole tanking concept, they were just bad, just within that they were like, uh, they were adrift, they didn’t know what was going on.

[00:10:06] Andrew: And like, these friends of mine are like, we want a world series. I’m like, this isn’t fair. This isn’t how it works. Like you have to like, go through the process. So, um, I mean, I was happy for him, but like, there was a little bit of, there was not there. No, there wasn’t a little bit. There was a lot of jealousy of, Oh, they’ve got a ring and here we are,

[00:10:25] Andrew: you know?

[00:10:26] Anna: Yeah. Yeah. Well, it’s like the diamondbacks, right? Like the diamondbacks just pop into existence and then, you know, world series champions within just a few short years, it feels like, but,

[00:10:37] Andrew: right, right,

[00:10:38] Anna: um, the future is bright for the O’s. And I say that kind of. Annoyingly, because, you know, I’m a Rays fan, obviously our two teams are, are duking it out.

[00:10:51] Anna: But, you know, you kind of have this, like, little brother syndrome towards clubs like New York, clubs like Boston, usually, not every year, but usually. Um, and then, you know, it’s just the O’s and the Rays and the J’s kind of just hanging out and trying to beat up on the big kids and, uh, it’s been really cool.

[00:11:12] Anna: The last couple of years to see these clubs kind of coming into their own and, and given given the big boys some, uh, what for?

[00:11:19] Andrew: Yeah, finally, finally, the Yankees are like, Oh, yeah, we have to pay attention to someone other than the Red Sox. And I mean, I, I remember just a few years ago, this was, it was probably 20, might’ve been 2018, I think, uh, I went to opening day with some friends of mine and they were playing the Yankees at Camden Yards. And I mean, as you know, like, first of all, like it’s always like 50, 50 Yankees fans and wherever they are. And it’s, Just so obnoxious and you know, the let’s go Yankee. Like, it’s just like, no, you’re not doing that here. Like do that in the Yankee stadium. And like Aaron judge hit like two or three home runs.

[00:12:01] Andrew: And I thought this is, I just don’t know when. And this was before the Orioles had started playing well. I mean, they were in the depths of their, you know, losing. Losing 110 games. I thought I don’t know when this thing turns around. I hope it’s in the next five years I don’t know when the Yankees are gonna like Respect us like they just come to Camden Yards and it’s like take your lunch money and it’s just it’s so helpless and finally like I think there was I think last year it was there was a couple games they played in Yankee Stadium and the Orioles went to Yankee and beat them and I was like it’s time and they have to pay attention and it was like yes now we’re here, you know,

[00:12:43] Anna: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:12:45] Andrew: Yeah.

[00:12:45] Anna: And with some staying power too, right?

[00:12:49] Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. I think, I think when, you know, in what, 12, 13, 14, when the Orioles won the division or got into wild card with Buck, who is by my, as far as I’m concerned, is the greatest manager ever in the history of the world. I love Buck Showalter. Um, he’s like, he’s like my uncle who just is like, I want him to be my life coach.

[00:13:10] Andrew: Like he’s just, you know, he’s the best, but when they were, when they were good. It never felt like, okay, they’ve arrived and they’re going to be here for a while. There was not, you know, there was a lot of Buck was pulling the right strings and managing the bullpen. And like, he, that was one of his greatest managerial jobs.

[00:13:29] Andrew: And not that the team wasn’t good, but they just didn’t have a core. And now. Like, you know, Connor Norty’s playing tonight in his first, it’s his major league debut. And it’s like, he’s like the fifth guy through the pipeline that like, if I were rooting for the Rays or the Red Sox or the Yankees, I’d be like, when does the Orioles pipeline stop?

[00:13:47] Andrew: It’s just, there’s just every couple of months, there’s another guy it’s like, oh, I He’s the fifth ranked prospect in the major leagues. And it’s like, I’ve never rooted for a team in any sport who’s been this young and this exciting and this good. And like, you know, you talk about the window, the championship window, like it is wide open.

[00:14:08] Anna: hmm.

[00:14:09] Andrew: And like, you know, I remember telling my wife when I would be, cause they get the MLB package every year and she would go, why are you watching the Orioles on a Wednesday night when they’re 26 games out of first place and it’s just hopeless. And I’m like, because one day they won’t be. And it’s going to feel so great because we we’ve been through this is going to make the good stuff better.

[00:14:34] Andrew: So that’s always, that’s always what I would say. Once people are like, the Orioles are terrible. And I’m like, yeah, but what it means as bad as they are now, they’re going to be, it’s going to be so fun when they’re good. And it’s, that’s kind of the way it is so far. So.

[00:14:47] Anna: Yeah, definitely. And uh, you know, you just made mention of Rays fans, Yankee fans, uh, who are wondering when the pipeline dries up and it’s not gonna, I mean, it’s just not, and that’s infuriating and exciting all at the same time, but you know, the AAA champions up in Norfolk, uh, you know, just, just superstars up and down the entire system.

[00:15:09] Anna: So, um, yeah, a bright future for the O’s for sure. And, uh, The struggle bus years, to your point, are something that your buddies who, who kind of jumped ship and, and became Nationals fans and, and went on that magical 2019 ride, they, they didn’t have that, you know, they, they weren’t there to, uh, to have that opposite feeling, which to your point is how you can, you can only experience emotions to a certain extent, you know, it’s going to be, you, the deep, the deepest sadness is, as, as, on the opposite side, the highest high.

[00:15:46] Anna: So, um, yeah, so I’m with you there. I think that’s a. That’s, uh, something to be aware of and something I tell myself on the days where, you know, my teams get in there and Bo Heiney’s kicked up and down

[00:15:58] Andrew: Yeah. Well, you know, in probably that same year that I went to the opening day, I usually go to Baltimore a couple times a year to see a couple games my wife and I were at the ballpark. And it was like a, you know, it was like an August night. They were 30 games out of first place. It was terrible.

[00:16:14] Andrew: There was maybe 6, 000 people at the game. And like, she and I were sitting with a friend that there was three of us and we were sitting behind home plate because we had moved down because there were so few people. And it was, we were kind of laughing like, what are we doing here? Like, there’s nobody here.

[00:16:29] Andrew: They’re just so bad. And, um, but then last year she and I went to Baltimore for the Texas series and we, we like, you know, we got tickets behind home plate. In like the 17th row and I mean the place was packed and they were waving the towels and like, I turned to her and I was like, this is why we came that night because we remember what it was like then and here we are and we could not be further away from that and like, it was awesome, like, Adley Rushman’s parents were just a couple seats over and we chatted with them for a few minutes and it was just like, everybody kind of got the vibe of like, it’s so awesome that this place is here now, that this team is here and it just felt very It felt great.

[00:17:12] Andrew: So it’s, it’s good to experience both ends of the spectrum.

[00:17:16] Anna: definitely, definitely so.

[00:17:17] Andrew: Yankees fans wouldn’t know what that’s like, but you know,

[00:17:22] Anna: Yeah, not in the, uh. The recent past, although I, I think not winning a championship since, um, oh nine, it makes them feel a lot like, you know, some of them, they feel like they’re, they’re in the rough phases right now, but, uh, yeah, um,

[00:17:39] Andrew: they’re going to be fine.

[00:17:41] Anna: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I can relate to what you’re saying. That’s for sure.

[00:17:44] Andrew: Yeah.

[00:17:46] Anna: you live in Atlanta, sounds like you get up to Camden Yards a handful of times each year. Are you. Also, traveling to other ballparks, or are you pretty much, like, set on the O’s?

[00:17:59] Andrew: Well, I mean, those are my team, but I, um, yes, I do do travel to other ballparks and my wife and I have kind of made it like, like when I was scheduled, but we tried to go to different ballparks and I think I’ve got, Like 11 now on my list that I’ve checked my ballpark app. But, um, and I’ve got a couple of buddies who we take a trip together every year and it’s kind of morphed into going to ballparks.

[00:18:27] Andrew: Um, so like, you know, last year we went to Kansas city. we all went to Baltimore one year. This year we went to, uh, LA cause my buddy lives in LA and we went to Dodger stadium and then, uh, we saw the Braves and the Dodgers and then got up the next day. And got on a flight and flew to Oakland for the day because we were like, we’ve got to go to Oakland and see the A’s at the Coliseum before they leave.

[00:18:54] Andrew: Although, who knows if that’s a, when that’s going to happen, but like, we needed to, we wanted to like, drink up the whole like, Oakland A’s, no one’s here. What’s it actually like thing? And so we flew to Oakland and went to, and saw the A’s and the Marlins. Um, And, uh, that was one of the more bizarre baseball experiences of my life.

[00:19:14] Andrew: Uh, and the guy, we got to the airport and the guy at the hotel bar or at the airport bar was like, wait, you came all the way to Oakland for the day to go to A’s game. And, uh, and then he was like, Oh, you guys are, you’re one of those, you’re those folks that just try to get to all the ballparks. And so, um, yeah, so we went to Oakland and sat through a two hour rain delay.

[00:19:34] Andrew: Believe it or

[00:19:35] Andrew: not. So by the time, yeah. So by the time the game started, I mean, it felt like there was 500 people there and it was, it’s kind of sad though. Cause you know, like growing up. The Oakland A’s, I remember that Dennis Eckersley, Dave Stewart, Jose Canseco, Maguire, The Bash, like the A’s were it in the 80s, you know, in the late 80s.

[00:19:56] Andrew: And like that place was just rocking and the cruel irony that it’s like the biggest ballpark in Major League Baseball and it’s the least attended. It was just, it’s kind of sad, but it was, it was an interesting experience. So yes, to answer your question, I tried to Get to as many ballparks. My hope is to get to all of them.

[00:20:15] Andrew: So yeah, I’ve got probably 12 11 12. I think I’m off the list.

[00:20:20] Anna: Will you do any minor leagues, too, or are you focusing on the

[00:20:23] Andrew: Oh, yes. Oh, yeah. I I’m I’m kind of like, it doesn’t matter what level I’ll just I just wanted to, you know, see it. So like, you know, I’ve been to Going at here where the stripers play. I’ve been to, um, uh, the Asheville tourists. Uh, I’ve been in Norfolk. Uh, I can’t even think off the top of my head, but yeah, I, I tried to like, if I have the time and there’s a ball game at a place I’ve never been, like, that is a thing that I tried to do.

[00:20:50] Andrew: So, um, Cause I think every experience can be different, right? Like it’s just interesting to see how the town supports their team and like how they, um, how the teams execute things like from a marketing standpoint and just, it’s just always, it’s, it’s always different. So, um, yeah, if there’s a ball game close and I got the time, I’m going to try to make it happen.

[00:21:14] Anna: I like what you said about that, you know, looking at all the different things that minor league clubs have to do differently than major league clubs, you know. Uh, I feel like major league baseball basically has this marketing plan that is just basically control copy, control paste, you know, if you do these things, everything will go well.

[00:21:33] Anna: Uh, the minor leagues, they don’t have that. They don’t have this blueprint, surefire way to success. So they’ve all got to get a little creative. They’ve all got their own little spin on something, their own take on, you know, what a day at the ballpark should be like. And, um, I think it’s a lot of fun to kind of see the differences, especially across the country. Yeah, Cause they don’t have. You know, they’re not like mandated to, not the, not the major league teams are mandated from a marketing standpoint, but they all kind of know what works, right? Like the Hawaiian shirt, the bobble head, the bucket hat, this, you know, all those things. But like minor league teams, man, they take swings.

[00:22:10] Andrew: Like I went and saw the Tennessee Smokies just a couple weeks ago, and it was the night Taylor Swift was releasing her new record. And they had Taylor Swift night, right? And I mean, I mean, it worked. There were people there that otherwise would have never gone. And like, they played Taylor Swift music between every inning, and it was just like, oh wow, this works.

[00:22:33] Andrew: Like, they got people to come. I saw something the other day, and I can’t remember what team it was, but some minor league team had a nothing night, where they had, the promotion was that there was nothing. And they called it baseball the way, baseball in its purest form. Like, there was no PA, there was no music, there was no Like, you went and sat in your seat and the game started and you watched it in silence.

[00:22:54] Andrew: Like that was it.

[00:22:56] Andrew: Which I was kind of like, that’s an interesting idea. Like the promotion is that there’s literally no promotion.

[00:23:02] Anna: Yeah.

[00:23:03] Andrew: And uh, yeah, if, if that were my hometown, I’m like, I’m absolutely going to that. Let me see how that works. You know? So I like that the minor leagues, the color outside the lines a little bit, it’s an interesting thing.

[00:23:14] Anna: Definitely. So, in your email to me, um, when we first connected, you kind of mentioned that you had this, I guess, what do we call it now, traditional media career, you know, across

[00:23:29] Andrew: I think the buzzword they use is legacy

[00:23:31] Anna: legacy media. Okay, yeah, that’s right.

[00:23:33] Anna: That’s not even sure. I’m not even sure what that means, but that’s what they say when, you know, one of the big media companies,

[00:23:38] Anna: Yeah. Yeah. So we’ll go with traditional slash legacy media, uh, career, um, that, uh, you know, everybody kind of understands the recent shakeups that that’s going on in that space, but, sounds like maybe kind of what was going on in that world kind of helped you find your way back towards baseball a little bit.

[00:24:00] Anna: Would you say that’s true?

[00:24:01] Andrew: Yeah. I mean, I, I mean, I’ve been a baseball fan my entire life. And, you know, when I got out of college, I went, I actually wanted to be a baseball broadcaster. And like, I had a summer job, one of the best jobs I ever had was, I was the PA announcer for a collegiate summer league baseball team in Virginia.

[00:24:18] Andrew: And like, I was just, I was the PA announcer. It was the, you know, I did everything like, When there’s a foul ball, I would hit the broken car sound effect and be like, that foul ball is brought to you by Johnson insurance, you know, like, and so, but I, I wanted to work at baseball and broadcasting, but for whatever reason, like anybody, the path drifted towards, towards journalism.

[00:24:38] Andrew: And I worked at CNN for 20 years and like, and also coupled with that from 90. Eight to 2012 ish. I mean, the Orioles were terrible. I mean, they were just, I mean, and it wasn’t like, Oh, they’re going to lose 110 games and tank and get a bunch of draft picks. It was like, no, they were just terrible. For the sake of being terrible.

[00:25:02] Andrew: And so like I had, you know, I was younger too. And like, there are other things going on in my life and I kind of just, I’d keep tabs, but like, it, it wasn’t worth like expending my energy and, you know, work and life got in the way and I just didn’t consume it as much, but I always loved it. Um, but you know, somewhere along 2011 ish, I was like, no, I gotta get, I gotta, I gotta start watching and consuming it more.

[00:25:27] Andrew: And I would, you know, I would go to Braves games and with friends of mine and like, Also, like, the journalism game can be a, like, very negative job. Lots of bad news, lots of terrible things. And, uh, especially like in the true crime universe that I was in, it was just awful, awful stuff all the time. So, I kind of drifted back into baseball as, like, a mental reset of just, like, let me just, when I’m not at the office, I’m just gonna consume something and do something that’s completely on the other end of the spectrum.

[00:25:59] Andrew: So, yeah, and I think, um I think it’s also kind of reflective of, you know, baseball talks a lot about needing to get the fans, younger fans. And I think that it was a perfect example of like, that was a period of my life where I just had a whole lot of other things going on. And so I didn’t give baseball as much attention as I used to, because life and work and girlfriend and like, all that stuff got in the way.

[00:26:24] Andrew: And now I’m like, married, settled, got the house, the whole thing. And it’s like, okay, now I’m back with you, baseball. I’m back here. I didn’t go I was I’ve been here the whole time, but I’m back in. So, um, yeah, so like 2012 13, especially when the Orioles got back to the playoffs. I jumped in back in and have been ever been in ever since.

[00:26:46] Andrew: So

[00:26:46] Anna: yeah, that’s an interesting point. You know, I hear this story a lot of people who kind of grow up as a kid, like myself, is, my story is very similar to that, you know, rabid, rabid, rabid baseball fan as a kid. Uh, got a little older, got busy with real life as, as you would say. And, um, you know, also at the same time, my team, not great.

[00:27:09] Anna: Um, as I got older and I settled down and I was out, I was, uh, back home earlier, I should say more often and, you know, found myself looking for things to do at eight o’clock on an evening. Um, it kind of found its way back. To my heart, too. And I wonder if, you know, that’s maybe the, the struggle that Major League Baseball is, is dealing with now is, is not losing fans because they’ve done something to anger them or, you know, they’ve bored them to tears or something like that, but there’s no way to necessarily consume the game quicker or tighter, which maybe a younger person who’s got a lot going on needs,

[00:27:51] Andrew: I think, yeah, I think that is part of it. I mean, I. And it’s interesting this conversation because like, you know, baseball is always like, how do we get the, the, the fans in younger and I don’t think getting them any younger is a problem. I think they do get a bit but I think part of that is like the season is long.

[00:28:10] Andrew: It is a long season. It is every day. And. I mean, as I’ve gotten older, I actually like, that’s one of the things I love about it. Like, you know, you go for four, it’s like, eh, it’s all right. Come back tomorrow. Fix it. Right. Football does an amazing job of wrapping people young and keeping them there. And I think part of that is like the frequency, right.

[00:28:30] Andrew: It’s like one game a week. And they, they’ve now, they now dominate the 12 month a year league. And yeah, baseball is always on and it’s always, and as a result, like people get distracted, right? Like they’re not going to watch the game on, you know, a holiday when they’ve got cookouts and all this other stuff.

[00:28:49] Andrew: And it’s like, so as a result, it’s just, I think it’s just the nature of the way the sport is. And then people like you or myself, it’s like, you get through this period in your life where the distractions aren’t as prominent. And you’re like, ah, baseball is still there. I’m going to circle back. And at baseball, I was like, I never went anywhere.

[00:29:09] Andrew: I was here the whole time. And so, I think it’s trying to figure out how to keep people engaged in that period when all the other distractions are going on that they’re trying to figure out. And I think, you know, the shortened games, the pitch clock and everything, I love it. And, like, you know, I thought I was going to be one of those shake your fist at the sky, like the old man who’s like, I don’t want my baseball to change.

[00:29:31] Andrew: No, I love it. And I love baseball. You know, earlier start times, like a six 30 start time games over by nine.

[00:29:37] Anna: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:29:38] Andrew: So I’m all in for those.

[00:29:39] Anna: yeah, I mean they’re definitely figuring it out. I think I think they are so But yeah, it’s interesting. I had never really put that together before I mean, I’ve heard the story of loving the game leaving the game and coming back to it, but you know, not really Pinpointing maybe that it might not necessarily be how an individual feels about the game.

[00:30:00] Anna: It’s just life gets in the way

[00:30:03] Andrew: Yeah. I think it’s that simple. I mean, when you go to college, plus, plus like when you go away to college, like your life is completely surrounded by like, what are we doing this weekend? You’re not going to sit around and watch a ball game, you know what I mean? Like, and studying and like, you’re just at a weird time in your life where you’re meeting new people.

[00:30:21] Andrew: And it’s like. There’s just so much other stuff going on that like watching a game on Tuesday night is not necessarily going to be, you know, your priority. And like now, I mean, I watch probably 130 Orioles games a year and I sort of, sort of in a weird way, sometimes my day is like, I’m talking about those Orioles play tonight.

[00:30:42] Andrew: All right, let me work backwards and figure out what I’m going to do today to get done in time. Like, I watch more now than I ever have. And I watch other teams too, like my wife cannot fathom. She loves baseball. But she can’t fathom just watching the Mets and Dodgers on a Wednesday

[00:30:55] Anna: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:30:57] Andrew: no, I’m not, if, if you’re, if you’re traveling for work and you’re out of the house, me and the dog are watching the ballgames. So,

[00:31:05] Anna: I love that. Oh, um. What comes to mind if I ask you what your favorite baseball memory is?

[00:31:11] Andrew: um, I would probably say that that first time I ever went to Memorial Stadium, walking out of the concourse and seeing the green grass and like, The other thing is, like, at that age, like, I’d never been in a place where there were that many people in one confined space. And it’s like, God, how many people are here?

[00:31:32] Andrew: Like, and they’re just like, eating peanuts and drinking beer and like, having hot dogs and like, And you know, I remember my dad saying something to me about like, Oh, those people down there, like some of those people, they have season tickets and not like the idea that you would have tickets to every game blew my mind.

[00:31:50] Andrew: Like, I just couldn’t understand. And it was like, they must be so rich. And it’s like, I mean, not really, but, and so that whole, it was not just the game, but the learning that night. Of like how the things work and like, you know, Oh, this is how the stadium is designed. This is like, and just the, the volume of people screaming and like when something great happened, it was just, it was stimulus overload.

[00:32:18] Andrew: And like, so that’s my, that’s my baseball memory for sure.

[00:32:22] Anna: I love that. I love the way you told that story earlier too, because you did such a good job of kind of highlighting the things that I think, you know, myself, at least the things that I love about being at the ballpark. And I remember a very similar feeling when I was a kid, kind of having, you know, the same thought and.

[00:32:40] Anna: I loved baseball as a kid. I always did, but I would be so distracted. I mean, I would watch the guy walking up and down, hawking, uh, the big kahuna ice cream sandwiches, and, you know, just the people watching, watching the guys rake the field and everything like that. I mean, to, to me, that was almost a the better part of being there.

[00:33:03] Andrew: it reminds me of like, you know, you hear people tell the stories of like being in Europe and going to like the market and like hearing all the people like hawking their wares and like the smells and the scent, everything. It’s like all the senses are heightened. And like, I mean, I’m sure this is the case, but like, I don’t get that at a football game necessarily.

[00:33:24] Andrew: You don’t get that at a basketball arena. Really? Like it’s just different with a baseball game. Yeah. And it’s like, you know, it’s, uh, I mean, sometimes I’m like, do I over romanticize it? I’m like, nah, I don’t really, um, like the 50 50, you know what I mean? Like I play the 50 50, every time I go to a ball game, I’ve never won.

[00:33:46] Andrew: I’ve spent more money on a 50 50. I can’t ever admit, but like, just like, you know, it’s just part of the thing, you know? And it’s, um, yeah, it’s just, it’s a wonderful thing. It’s a wonderful thing.

[00:33:58] Anna: definitely. There’s a ritual to it, and I get it. I understand having to get the, uh, the 50 50 ticket each time, because it’s just part of the experience, and that’s why you don’t question the 14 beers or anything

[00:34:11] Andrew: No, no, no. Or 18 at Dodger Stadium. My, my eyes about popped out of my head, but I was like, somebody’s, they gotta pay atani somehow. So, uh, but yeah, and like, you know, I, like, I, I have some, there’s, there’s something to me so amazing about keeping score. Like I, you know, I remember one of my, here’s one of my favorite baseball memories, it’s like probably eight years ago.

[00:34:34] Andrew: Uh, my wife was outta town for work and I. Came home from work and it was just me and the Braves were in town. They were playing at the old ballpark, which was a 10 minute Uber ride, maybe 10 minutes, five minutes from my house. And just on a whim, I picked up a cheap ticket. I printed out a scorecard and I went down to the ballpark and I stood in the concourse along those tables they had behind the main concourse.

[00:34:57] Andrew: And I stood for nine innings and I just watched the game and kept score. I didn’t know what he came with me. There was just, it was just me watching the game. And like drinking it in, you know what I mean? And like, I never, as a kid, the kid that went to Memorial stadium, I never could have imagined I would have been in my life where like, I could go to a ball game with 10 minutes notice and like, you know, just get a cheap seat, like Because as a kid, going to an Orioles game was like a whole event, it was because I did, you know, my parents, we lived two plus hours away, and it was like, oh, yeah, this is great.

[00:35:31] Andrew: This is what it’s like to live near a ballpark. This is amazing.

[00:35:34] Anna: I wish going to a game on your own was, was more normal. That’s one of my favorite things to do. Um, we live not far from the Rangers here in Arlington and, you know, those getaway games, they’re like matinee games on, on a Wednesday or a Thursday. It’s my favorite thing in the world to just go by myself and just like you, I’ll buy the cheapest seat I can.

[00:35:57] Anna: I will never go see it because you can walk down to basically just wherever you want to

[00:36:02] Anna: and, uh, you know, you’re, you’re playing hooky from work, it feels like, and it’s just, uh, man, it’s one of the greatest feelings. It really is, really is.

[00:36:11] Andrew: Yeah. Weekday getaway games are pretty great. And I am ashamed at the number that I have not gone to. I’ve been to a handful, but, uh, Yeah, there’s something about those games and playing hooky and like, yeah, like you said, like buying the cheapest ticket and every, oftentimes I don’t go to my seat. Like if there’s an, if there’s an open concourse, like in Atlanta or in, uh, Coors Field, which God, I love Coors Field.

[00:36:38] Andrew: Um, you know, where I can stand along the tables that they have, the rails, I’m like, I’ll buy a 10 ticket and just stand two inches behind the person who paid a hundred bucks. I don’t mind standing, I’m not going to be able to stand the rest of my life, but like, yeah, that’s kind of how I, how we do it, you know, it’s like, just, just to get in and kind of experience it.

[00:36:59] Andrew: Um, because sometimes if you sit, if you sit too long, you’re not going to experience the ballpark. You got to walk around and kind of take it all in.

[00:37:06] Anna: yeah, exactly. Exactly. What’s at the top of the baseball bucket list? Like, what’s, what’s the, the thing you really gotta see? Place you gotta go? Person you gotta meet? Something like that.

[00:37:17] Andrew: um, well, I would say the baseball hall of fame, which I’ve not been to. Um, and I was fortunate enough to meet Cal Ripken. Uh, but I think this sounds kind of, despite all the smack that I talked earlier, I wanna see the Orioles win a game in Yankee Stadium. Like, I’m, I’m kind of bummed I didn’t get to the old Yankee Stadium and I have not been to to Yankee Stadium yet, but like, I want to go to New York and I was wanna see the Orioles win a game. I wanna see the Orioles go take the Yankees lunch money. Like, that’s what I want. Doesn’t even have to be a playoff, just, just a regular season game. That’s all I want. cause I, I, I went to a Brave World Series game, which was great. I mean, I guess an Orioles World Series game would be great too, but I just would love to see him beat the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

[00:38:03] Andrew: That’s it. It’s not a tall order.

[00:38:05] Anna: No, I love that. I think that’s such a good answer. I think, uh, you know, I have a similar feeling towards that franchise and, nothing malicious or anything like that, but

[00:38:17] Andrew: no, no, no.

[00:38:18] Anna: you have that little, little kid complex, you know, the older brother who’s so much cooler than you and you can’t wait for the day you beat him in basketball.

[00:38:24] Anna: And yeah, so I love that as an answer. How did you meet Cal Ripken? You just kind of glossed right on over that.

[00:38:32] Andrew: Well, so when I was in my first job at CNN, my job was basically, uh, I was the guy that like put microphones on people that would come in and sit down and do interviews. And like, I would tell the anchors which cameras to look at. Um, you know, the guy with the headset that’s running around the cameras all the time.

[00:38:51] Andrew: And so we. He had a list of all the people that were going to be coming in for the day to do interviews and Cal was on a book tour and I saw that he was going to be there like at two o’clock in the afternoon for an interview on live tv and I thought well I get off work at like noon because I was working an early shift and I said to the person who had that shift I said I will stay three hours after my shift is over. And they’re like, why? And I’m like, just I’ll do it. Like, I’ll cover you for three hours. And I wasn’t going to get paid for it because my shit, I was, you know, um, and so he came in and, you know, he’s with, with, I think his PR guy or whoever. And I said to him, And you know, he’s a tall dude. He’s like six foot five, six foot four.

[00:39:41] Andrew: And I said, and I knew this was before selfies and for everybody, like before you had to post picture, it didn’t happen. Like that was not a thing. And like, I, and they told us when I started working at CNN, they were like, very, very important people come through this building. You need to act accordingly, like presidents and secretaries of state and stuff.

[00:39:58] Andrew: And I, and I did, and I did act accordingly. And I said to him, you know, I thought maybe she can autograph. And I was like, no. And I said to him, I said, cow. I just want you to know, I said, I grew up watching you and you’re my favorite player and what you did for me as a kid, just like, I can’t really explain it, but I just want to say thanks.

[00:40:19] Andrew: And he said, I, he said, thanks. I really appreciate that. He was just a very genuine exchange. And I thought that’s better than any autograph. That’s better than any photo. And so, yeah, I mean, it was a very simple, quick exchange, shook his hand. And then I put the microphone on him. And I watched him do his interview and he left.

[00:40:36] Andrew: And so it was, it was very brief and it wasn’t, you know, I don’t know. That’s not like a grand story of something crazy, but like, I remember thinking, I’m like, that’s all, that’s all I needed. I don’t need a photo, nothing. So,

[00:40:49] Anna: That’s a great story. Yeah, I like that. It was it was kind of organic in a sense that you know It wasn’t like oh, I met him at a meet and greet. So

[00:40:57] Andrew: right, right.

[00:40:58] Anna: Yeah.

[00:40:59] Anna: That’s cool. What a cool story Andrew. I’ve had a blast chatting with you Before we let you go if folks kind of want to find you online They they want to follow along.

[00:41:09] Anna: Where do we send them?

[00:41:10] Andrew: Sure. You can, uh, I’m on Instagram at AJ Iden. and yeah, that’s, that’s kind of where you’ll find me. A lot of, a lot of pictures of ballparks. So,

[00:41:21] Anna: Beautiful

[00:41:21] Andrew: and andrewiden. com. So that’s where I, you know, where my work and all my stuff.

[00:41:25] Anna: and I think we should I mean obviously anyone listening to this show is a fan of podcasts You You got the voice for it. Why don’t you tell people about your, your show that, uh, Where they can find that and what it’s all about.

[00:41:39] Andrew: Yeah, I was the, the co host and producer of a show called Down the Hill, The Delphi Murders. It’s a true crime show about a murder in Indiana in 2017. Um, that is on wherever you get your podcasts. Um, and also I should note, I should note I’m launching a show at the end of June called Deviant, which is a, also a true crime show with my partners at our production company Cold Open Media.

[00:42:04] Andrew: And you can find Deviant on wherever you get your podcasts, Apple, Spotify, all that. Stuff. So that’s, uh, so yeah, it’s, it’s a little bit heavier than baseball, but, um, but yeah, so

[00:42:17] Anna: Yeah, we’ll, we’ll follow up baseball bucket list with a little bit of true crime, you know, so

[00:42:21] Anna: we’re, we like to be, we like to be well rounded around these parts,

[00:42:24] Andrew: Sure. Sure. Absolutely.

[00:42:25] Anna: Andrew, I’ve had a blast. This was so much fun. I cannot thank you enough for making time and, um, look forward to, to following along with your, your journey.

[00:42:33] Andrew: Sure thing. Thanks. And I really appreciate it.

[00:42:36] Anna: And that will wrap up this episode of the baseball bucket list podcast, special things to Andrew Iden for joining us today and sharing those stories and memories. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, if you think you might like to be a guest on the show, had to baseball bucket list.com/podcast and fill out an application I’d absolutely love to hear from you while you’re there.

[00:42:54] Anna: Make sure to spend some time on the site, sign up for a free membership. Build your own baseball bucket list. Track your ballpark visits and connect with other fans. If you find yourself enjoying the show each week, please take a moment to rate and review it in the podcast app of your choice. It goes such a long way and helping new listeners find the show.

[00:43:10] Anna: And I would really, really appreciate it. That’s it for this week. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll see you next episode.

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