Delmarva Shorebirds

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader isn’t at the Villainschloss. In fact he is out taking a quasi-vacation with family at Ocean City, MD. Last night, to mix it up a little bit, your Maximum Leader took his niece and nephews and Villainette #2 to their first Single A baseball game. We saw the Delmarva Shorebirds take on the Kanapolis Intimidators in Salisbury, MD.

It was a great time. Arthur Perdue Stadium is a wonderful fan friendly place. Lots of helpful people. Plenty of bathrooms. Easy access to concessions. A hot tub in left field (an amenity of which your Maximum Leader didn’t avail himself). A carousel and moon-bounce for the kiddies. It was really great. It kept the two littlest kids distracted. Your Maximum Leader did actually get to watch the game some.

Your Maximum Leader forgets how much he really does like minor league ball. There is still a certain purity about it that you don’t feel in the big league parks and with big leaguers. These guys down at Single A ball WANT to play. Your Maximum Leader didn’t figure that all of them were under contract with big league team (the Shorebirds are an Orioles affiliate). So some of these guys might be pulling down $20,000/year to ride in the old team bus and stay in old hotels to play ball.

Almost without exception, you could tell the players were really trying hard to impress the fans and show that they had potential. Your Maximum Leader says almost without exception because there were two noteworthy exceptions in the “play with all your heart” exuberance that your Maximum Leader saw. The exceptions were the two starting pitchers. Your Maximum Leader hasn’t seen two more pitchers with less enthusiasm for fielding in many years. The two pitchers were almost identical in their pathetic fielding. A few times short liners where it to either side of the mound, and the pitchers stood there and didn’t even try for a ball that was 1) at glove height and 2) passing withing 2-3 feet of the pitcher. The pitchers also had trouble covering first on short hoppers hit to the first baseman. Three batters reached base because the pitcher didn’t hustle to first for what should have been an easy out. It was crazy.

Pitchers not wanting to field aside… The game was quite thrilling. The Shorebirds were down 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth. They got a man on with no outs. Then the next batter hit a triple into deep left-center field. The first runner scored and the cut-off man on the relay overthrew the ball to the third baseman. The ball careened into the Shorebirds dugout and the runner was awarded home to tie the game. Then in the bottom of the tenth, the Shorebirds got another runner on first, he reached second on a throwing error, and scored on a long single to right.

And after the game there were fireworks for the kids.

The whole experience (including 4 kids tickets, two adult tickets, 5 ice creams, 4 lemonades, 1 Dr. Pepper, 1 bottle of water, 8 rides on the carousel, 8 trips in the moon bounce, 4 trips to the wiffleball batting cage and 1 balloon) cost less than $100.

It don’t get much better than that.

Carry on.

Polymath said:

Minor League games are great. The players are willing to take more chances to give the fans a good show. They have no real celebrity, they just play because they love the game. I grew up in Columbus, OH, and was really getting into baseball when the Yankees brought their AAA operation (Clippers) there. I know, you are an NL fan, but hey - it was closer than going to a Reds game.

As fate would have it, I now reside next to the city that houses the AA team whose games were the very first pro ball games I ever attended — as a toddler — the Eugene Emeralds. I’m hoping to take The Lad to a game this summer, next at the latest.

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