Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Summer Minor League Baseball Returns
When it was announced three seasons ago that my hometown of Fullerton was getting Minor League baseball I couldn't be any happier. I love baseball at all levels but I especially love the minor leagues. If you don't know what I'm saying, just go to one and absorb everything around you. This is from a guy who once hit three California league games in one day...In Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino and Lake Elsinore. This is from a guy who is going on a train trip from Seattle to Chicago and on to Boston where I will see games at Safeco, Wrigley, and Fenway but the thing I am getting most excited about is my trip to Portland Maine where I will see a Portland Sea Dogs game.
Minor League baseball is a real trip. Like an acid trip. So, I've been told.
That's because the first night I went they had these things called zoonanimals...one looked like a large Canary and he sang and acted like Harry Carey and he sang "Take Me out to the Ball Game" like Harry and he fell down flat on his beak on the opposing team dugout. Then they had kids bouncing up and down in these bounce rooms down the third base line. And they were practically giving away 1.00 beers which added to the buzz in the crowd. And they had singing and dancing contests on the field. And they had cheerleaders...the Flygirls... And the GM at the time, my buddy Ed Hart was announcing the game from the stands...and the team mascot a Coyote dressed like a locomotive engineer named Coal Train (which by the way you have to live in Fullerton to understand all the symbolism in the Mascot....Coyotes roam the hills, we're a train town, and we love our jazz) was heckling the umpire and opposing team....and oh yeah, somewhere in all of this there was a baseball game being played.
Last night I was at the home opener of the Orange County Flyers, who play literally a half mile from my home in Fullerton. In fact I can hear the announcer and the crowd noise from my backyard on Summer nights. Probably reduces my property value but that's a bonus for me.
The Flyers this year went with a hometown guy as their manager. Gary Carter used to patrol the fields of West Fullerton Little League in the ballpark off Euclid... historical Amerige Park when he played PONY baseball and then on to Sunny Hills High School before going on to a pretty darn good career in the Major leagues. Good enough to make the Hall of Fame. He joined the others that came from Fullerton...Walter Johnson and Arky Vaughan. Del Crandall should be there too, but that's another story. Anyway Gary is such a great manager that you know he is not long for this job. Like all the other guys they want to get back to the majors.
We were pounding the Yuma Scorpions last night and there was a Laker game on so I had to leave early...but I have a few comments, constructive criticism if you will...
First of all, switch dugouts and have everybody sit on the first base side. When you look into the stadium from Associated it looks like nobody is watching the game. If everybody was sitting on the first base side it would look like a full stadium and as the momentum picks up and there are no Laker games on then you can fill in the seats on the third base side.
Constructive criticism #2, make sure all the name brand of the Cal State Fullerton Titans are covered up or replaced. I love the Titans, but Flyers...this is your stadium from June until late August. I don't want to see the Stanford and Cal State Fullerton names left on the scoreboard or the Fullerton "F" on the scoreboard or the stuff about our All-American players from CSUF and our plaques on the side of the Press box. This is Flyer Stadium now.