Anyone who knows me understands that I love baseball. I’m a loyal spectator who grew up in the Bronx and loves the New York Yankees. My brother is an avid baseball fan and knows more than I do about each player. In fact, he has an impressive collection of Yankee-signed baseballs, and each year he and my nephew travel to a city the Yankees are playing in to root for their team.
I’ve come across many baseball haters in my life, and I cannot fathom why anyone would hate such an intriguing sport. Baseball is deceptively slow, but truth is, it’s a highly strategic, exciting game with a great sense of history. For example, if so-and-so has the most stolen bases in baseball, rest assured it will be in baseball history books. Until that record is broken, that is.
But over the past few years, I’ve become a bit disenchanted with major league baseball. Going to a game nowadays is cost-prohibitive in order to line millionaire-players’ pockets. The prices of tickets and refreshments for a family add up in a big way. I will always love the Yankees and major league baseball. But if you want a good seat, you need to pay an exorbitant amount of money. And it’s not just Yankee baseball — it’s major league baseball in general. The prices for the Chicago Cubs and White Sox are high as well. If one is lucky, he/she can afford the distant seats. Oh, and bring binoculars.
There’s a solution, however.
Enter the minor leagues.
One of our local teams, the Schaumburg Boomers, is a pleasure to watch. On a beautiful evening on July 3, we paid a low price for fantastic seats along the first base line. We could smell the grass and watch the players dig up the between-bases soil with their cleats.
Of course, it also helped that the Boomers won 3 to 2.
All the action on the field is always visible, no matter where you are sitting. And it’s pure baseball untainted by players’ greed for those astronomical paychecks. The players are involved in the game for the pure love of baseball. Despite their modest paychecks, they play with heart and role-model behavior.
The Boomers provide a family-friendly, community atmosphere, with games for the kids between innings. The announcers boom out kudos to kids and adults who have a birthday or have done something extraordinary. Last year, we attended a game on Ari’s birthday, and unbeknownst to her, they posted her name and age on the huge board in outfield and announced it. The Boomers also gave her a baseball that had been in play.
To my dismay, though, Ari emitted tween groans of embarrassment at all the attention. But it was a special day, and I’m hoping that when she’s older, she will treasure this memory.
Kids look up to Boomers’ players, and these individuals act decently, not like some prima donnas in the major leagues. Two days ago, I watched with shock as the ballplayers lingered after the game, hugging fans and signing baseballs and hats for wide-eyed children. Even with the Fourth of July fireworks beginning a day early, the players continued giving autographs and accepting congratulations by fans for the win.
And after every game, kids and adults run the bases. Ari loves this part of the baseball experience. She happily ran the bases this year as she did the year before and the year before that.
This is the essence of a great baseball experience. The Schaumburg Boomers show that the minor leagues are a major deal.
What is your favorite sport to watch or participate in?
Do you enjoy watching sports in person or on television?
What is your favorite team?
Tags: baseball, baseball fan, baseball strategy, major leagues, minor leagues, Schaumburg Boomers