Finally, baseball happened

As you probably know, we were rained out of THREE games in only TWO days.  Well actually, the second cancelled game in Huntsville had less to do with rain and more to do with the previous day’s storm blowing the tarp off the field and leaving the grounds inundated with water from somewhere in Mississippi.

After lots of complaining from us and after watching many episodes of the X-files on Netflix, the Huntsville Stars were determined to allow us the privilege to see them play yesterday.  They scheduled a double header to make up for the previous two rainouts.  We were only able to make it to the first game since we had to hit the road to Birmingham (where I sit in a coffee shop right now) to see the Baronsplay.

Front entrance of Joe Davis Stadium

We pulled up to Joe Davis Stadium (which is the oldest stadium in the Southern League) about half an hour before the game started via an abandoned runway turned public road.  Needless to say, we were pretty excited about our first game of the trip, as well as the $2.00 20oz draft beers that are sold at the park before game time (who says baseball games are expensive).  Other than the cheap beer prices, another thing that makes this stadium special is that all seating is general admission.  Coming from going to MLB games where you sometimes feel that you are confined to one area for the entire game, I must say that it was nice to be able to move around, from foul line to foul line and even sit on the first row behind home plate.

Although the home team lost the first game of the double header (they would go on to win game two), we had a great time at the game!  Between the great fans, cheap beer, amazing hotdogs, wonderful stadium, and awesome staff, the experience was perfect!

There were two things that stuck out to me about the game though.  First of all, Joe Davis Stadium is a great place to bring a family.  Most of the fans in the crowd were had their kids in tow.  As a father who loves to take his daughter to baseball games, this was great to see.  As a matter of fact, the local Cub Scouts were having a sleepover inside the stadium that night.  Even with the $2.00 beer specials, no one was out of control, obnoxious, or disorderly.  As a matter of fact, the upper section of seats has large signs posted that say “no drinking allowed in this section.”  Now as someone who enjoys the finer qualities of a cold oat soda, this did not bother me.  We’ve all seen those assholes at sporting events that get belligerent or choose to use language that many of us don’t want our kids around.  The Stars management has chosen a method that can make all fans happy; if you don’t want to drink or want to sit in an area without people who belong in the drunk tank, there is a place for you.   You can bet your bottom dollar, that if I lived in Huntsville, my family would have season tickets to see the Stars play.

Joel behind home plate

Finally, the umpire crew was simply amazing.  I have never seen a group of umps work harder or hustle more in the hundreds of ball games I have gone to.  These are guys that are probably selling insurance or used cars during the day and come out at night to call balls and strikes for the game that they love.  What makes AA umping different is that there are only three umpires on the field during the game, meaning that sometimes the home plate ump as to run from home after a pitch to call a play at third, or the first base ump has to run to second to call a close throw from the outfield.  Now this might not seem like much, but in a day in time when the umpiring of MLB games has come under fire (see Jerry Meals’ call in the 19 inning Braves/Pirates game) it is great to see umpires hustling to make calls.  Maybe that is the problem with umping the majors, maybe they just get lazy.  Maybe we’ll talk more about that later.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by James on August 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Great comment on the minor and major league umps! Makes a person think and imagine about the old time umps in the beginning of the leagues and how hard those guys worked to make calls when being an ump was not as glamorous and supporting as it is today in the majors.

    Reply

  2. Don’t Prejudge All Minor League Umps, because of what I deemed to be an OUTSTANDING EXHIBITION of calling Strikes and Balls, for which I Clearly Expressed myself, some have been so inconsistant that I wonder if they could call balls a strikes in a Tee-Ball game! I think The Ump Represents The Crew. Some are Better than others, more consistancy would be nice, and avoid hireing the ones that are as Blind as a BAT!!

    Reply

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