After 50 years of interest in the game, two World Series, spring traning junkets, visits to numerous major league venues, etc. etc. - I finally attended my first minor league baseball game last night.
Sarah and Dave took me out to see the AAA Ottawa Lynx against the Durham Bulls. Crash Davis and Nuke LaLuche did not play for the Bulls.
Some brief observations:
(1) The Lynx are history in Ottawa. A stadium which can hold 10,000 people had barely 500 on a steamy June evening. Admittedly the weather was threatening, and a violent thunderstorm washed out the game after 6 innings. We got rainchecks for another one his year. Better use them quick.
(2) Lynx stadium is OK - nothing special about it except cavernous dimensions. It's built for speed and defense - a real pitcher's park.
(3) AAA baseball looks like the real thing - a step slower, a few miles per hour off the fastball - but pretty good. There are no real stars of the future at this level though - the hot prospects are honing their skills at AA. Mostly it's guys on the fringe of the majors - late 20s early 30s, hanging on for another shot at The Show.
(4) Kids love getting up close and personal with the players and coaches. Not a bad deal getting an autograph from Gary Gaietti, something that would not have been possible 10 years ago except with a lot of effort.
(5) Why is it that every pitcher from San Pedro de Macoris looks like the Martinez brothers? The Bulls had one last night - Tony Peguero. Tall and skinny with a lot of hop on his fastball.
(6) The triple is still the most exciting play in baseball. Ottawa has a talented and fast catcher named Jason Jaramillo. He smacked a two run triple to right center last night that won the game for the Lynx.
(7) There's just something special about the little things that makes baseball so great. The pitcher gets set to throw his last warm up pitch, jerks this thumb towards second base. The catcher shoots the ball down there, the infielders toss it around and back to the pitcher. So familiar, so appropriate, so ...well, baseball.