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25 reasons to go see your out-of-contention baseball team

Big League Stew

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The urge to see a ballgame in person arrived Wednesday night at roughly 6:10.

Five minutes later, I was in a car headed for Chicago's South Side, where baseball's White and Red Sox were going to stage a game between two teams already eliminated from contention.

Twenty minutes after that, I was in my scalped seat a few rows behind first, just in time to flag down a beer vendor and stand for the National Anthem.

Play ball.

Over the past week, I've paid homage to my city's fading summer by attending games at both U.S. Cellular Field and Wrigley Field. Both the White Sox and Cubs were in the process of playing out the string, and the Giants were the only ones truly affected by the outcome. But that didn't matter to me much, because there's a certain fulfilling sense of duty in attending a baseball game when the tragic number for the home team has reached zero. Spending your time and money on a lost cause is romantic in the dumbest way possible, but it somehow also makes complete sense.

With that in mind, I thought I'd list a few reasons why you should get out for the last weekend homestand that's in front of us. Fans of the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates are also welcome to print this post out and pull it out in the middle of next April.

Anyway, without further delay, here are 25 reasons to go see your eliminated baseball team:

1. It's baseball. With the exception of eight lucky locations, they're not making any more of it until next year. Gorge yourself for the hibernation ahead.

2. Three words: Beer, drinking and outside.

3. Because if you haven't bought them already, tickets — good ones — are cheap and plentiful. Five seconds of haggling and a $20 bill scored me two $46 seats a few rows behind first on Wednesday night. You'd have to be freeloading off a certain playoff-bound Florida team to enjoy a deal that's better.

4. With the exception of the vigilant old folks who guard the good seats at Wrigley Field, the ushers mostly don't care where you sit. Walk around. Try out a few vantage points. Take pictures.

5. If you're tall like me, there's plenty of stretching room. Pick your favorite section, plant your flag and put your feet up. Stretch your arms on both sides, too.

6. It's fun to scoreboard watch the old-fashioned way for the division races that are still going on. Look ma, no iPhone!

7. Because those Dexter DVDs you've been planning to watch will be there all winter.

8. The local economy. Those ushers and concession-stand workers need those shifts.

9. Because 53 no-hitters (including three perfect games) have been thrown in September, the most in any month. Yeah, this weekend's games will be held in October, but the point is that you never know when late-season history will happen.

10. Say goodbye to your favorite beer vendor. Tip him for a job well done.

11. Celebrate saying goodbye to paying $7.50 a beer. (Well, at least until hockey season starts.)

12. September callups are looking to make an impression for a full-time spot next year. Get a better look at your team's strengths and weaknesses heading into the offseason.

13. Because you have no control over your fantasy football team once you've set the lineups. And there are 13 weeks of the season left after this one.

14. Because the bandwagon jumpers and phony fans have long since gone home. The people around you are there to watch baseball. Which is why you're there, too.

15. It'll allow you to wonder what's going on in the heads of the ballplayers. Do they think this game is just as pointless as you do? Are their minds elsewhere?

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16. Fond farewells to old managers.

17. Fond farewells to players who might be traded, retire or sign elsewhere next season.

18. Your poor team might be playing a really good one. For example, Tampa Bay is in Kansas City for the last four games of the year. The Twins just left town.

19. Twenty-five years from now, Baseball-Reference will still have a record of what you saw that night.

20. And you'll still have a ticket stub in your collection to prove it.

21. The scorecard, too.

22. The sounds. Take away the jabbering from tens of thousands fans and you can hear everything on the field a lot better. The cool fall air helps, too.

23. Just because your team didn't have a great season doesn't mean your players didn't record superb individual ones. Guys like Felix Hernandez(notes) deserve their standing-ovation sendoffs.

24. You'd trade places with a contending team in a second, but there's something to be said for enjoying a baseball game without the stress and swearing of a pennant race. Appreciate the players from both sides for what they do.

25. In that vein, it's a lot like being a kid at a baseball game, again. You know, when just being there was enough? So enjoy it and try not to think of the long, cold winter ahead. The offseason is guaranteed to wait for at least another nine innings.

What are your reasons for going out to see your eliminated team? Put them in the comments below or make them magically appear in this Cover It Live box by including it in a Tweet with a #BLS hashtag.

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