Last night I got the chance to have a little side-salad of baseball: going to see a Class A Midwest League game in Beloit, about an hour southwest of Milwaukee. I knew that I’d be going virtually a week without a game, so had a quick look on the Internet, mentioned it to Rebecca, who mentioned it to her friend J.P., who just so happened to be a big baseball fan and a native of Beloit. A trip was arranged; we, and J.P.’s missus Mirta got in his car and hit the road, on our way to the Harry C. Pohlman Field to see the Beloit Snappers play the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
This is only my second ever minor league game, and in a way, they’re more enjoyable that major league games. This is the where those on their way up are hoping to impress the bosses and get a chance to get closer to the big leagues. And it’s where the fans can see the future stars before they are stars. It’s utterly wonderful to see the players finish a game and stop and talk to kids and adults, sign autographs, have their pictures taken. One of these guys could be the next A-Rod.
And for me, it was a chance to chat to J.P. who knows a ton of stuff about the game, to get a bit drunk, to wander around and take lots of pictures (plenty more on the Flickr page), and to simply enjoy a decent game of baseball at close quarters.
Every game I go to reminds me how lucky I am, and how much I enjoy this game; and that, in a way, it seems faintly ridiculous that it was less than three years ago that I went to my first ever game.
Finally, I love this picture (below). Don’t wish to blow my own trumpet too much, cos it’s not particularly a great picture; but the scene, for me – being in a slightly romantic-about-baseball mood – sums up the great thing about sport: being a kid and idolizing one of the players on the team you love. And at this level of baseball, I’m guessing that the players love it, too.