Friday, June 25, 2010

Rant #285: Take Me Out To Another Ballgame

Baseball is the greatest sport in the world. It is our national pastime. Once this current soccer nonsense ends its run, it will only be a brief memory; baseball memories last for a lifetime.

Last night, my family and I went to a minor league baseball game. The Long Island Ducks, who play in the independent Atlantic League--meaning that the league and its teams are not directly hooked up with any Major League Baseball (MLB) organization--played at home against the Camden Riversharks.

The Ducks lost 6-2. This was not like watching the Yankees vs. the Red Sox, but on a hot, blistery night, this was good enough.

The Atlantic League is somewhere between AA and AAA baseball. There are several former major leaguers who play in this league--the Ducks' own Robinson Cancel and Dustan Mohr being two of them--and the league is used by many players as a stepping stone to getting back to the Big Time, or at least get back into a MLB organization.

But on a hot, steamy night, this was simply a game being played by two league rivals.

No, the action was not up to MLB level, but that was to be expected. The runners seemed slower, the pitchers seemed wilder, the batters seemed less able to hit.

But nonetheless, it was a fun night, something different to do on a mid-week summer evening.

I would suggest that if you have a minor league team in your area--and it seems that most areas in the U.S. have such a team or teams, or at least one or two within driving distance--attend these games. It is cheaper than going to the MLB ballparks, and you often see players who will eventually turn up in MLB uniforms.

The Ducks are one of the most successful minor league franchises around. They have a beautiful stadium where you can see everything no matter where you sit, they regularly get at least three-quarters capacity for their games (probably about 4,500 people or more), and they have become fixtures in the Long Island community.

Not every minor league team is this successful, but one thing that they all wear on their sleeves is the "fun" aspect. Sure, they are there to win just like the big boys, but minor league baseball offers its own brand of "down home" fun that isn't rivaled anywhere.

So take in a game. You will be glad you did.

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