Minor League Baseball: The "Real America"

DScotCorrespondent IApril 30, 2009

God bless the Yankees and their decision to slash premium seat prices. Now, a family of four can enjoy premium seats for another Chien Ming Wang shelling at just under the blue-book value of a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am.

Surely there has to be a better value for America’s pastime in today’s economy, right?  Oh yeah, there is. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a great evening replete with true Americana.

I give you—a visit to Regions Park, home of the Birmingham Barons, the Southern League AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.

Monday night is Belly Buster Monday, with an all you can eat buffet. Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and obesity. Tuesday is 25-cents hot dog night. Judging from the quality of the wieners, I still think they are making a profit on each sale. Friday is fireworks night., and Saturday is fireworks and $5 large pizzas.

These promotions are all great, but they all pale in comparison to one.

Thirsty Thursday—all fountain drinks and draft beers are $1 a piece. One dollar beers! As if it couldn’t get any better, they are also selling “boneless buffalo wings” for 25-cents a piece.

Granted these could be considered boneless buffalo wings in the same way that William Hung would be considered an important musical artist, but the beer does help them go down easier. 

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As I pull in early enough to avoid paying a parking fee (Sweet!), I am already starting to salivate as I pay my $7 for general admission. I had thought of paying the extra $1 to pay for box seats, but couldn’t convince my friend to cough up the extra buck for him and his wife.

After all, that is two beers.

The Barons are blessed with two of the White Sox most prized prospects, 6’6” 240 lb lefty, Aaron Poreda, and shortstop Gordon Beckham. Poreda is impressive, striking out eleven through seven scoreless innings. He improves his record to 1-2, but has an astounding 1.69 ERA.

Beckham?  Not so much. He gives an 0-4 performance and commits his fifth error of the young season. His play reminds me of another aspiring infield prospect who spent some time with the Barons in the 90’s.

What was his name again?  Oh yeah, Michael Jordan.

After a 3-run first inning bomb by Baron’s first baseman Brandon Allen, the game settles into a pitchers duel for the next seven innings. (Isn’t that always the case when the $1 beers are cut off after the 6th inning?)

This of course, allows my friend and I the chance to catch some of the talent off of the field.

In a promotion intended to bring some fun to a couple of kids, they compete with each other by having someone try to throw floaty hula-hoops around a stick attached to the kids’ helmets.

Of course, neither kid gets close to catching one, so what was ideally a quirky gimmick quickly turns in to a lesson in humiliation in front of a crowd of 7,800 people all loosened up by $1 beers. Welcome to life, kids.

The group of people in the seats right below us continues to grow to close to 30 people. Somehow, they all seem to know each other—fascinating.

The only reasonable explanation I can come up with is that the girls must all go to the same tanning salon. The guys must go to the same gym, shop together for “Affliction” t-shirts, and have the same aversion to bent baseball hat brims turned the right way.

My friend and I discreetly focus on the same girl, but disagree on her level of hotness. He is unimpressed, but I can’t help but notice her resemblance to Anne Hathaway. Well, Anne Hathaway, if the bridge of her nose had been pulled out by that “Fix-a-dent” thingamabob that Billy Mays sells.

My friend is probably right. What can I say? A combination of not being too picky, $1 beers and a thing for Anne Hathaway can cloud my judgment sometimes.

In the seats above me, I notice that a woman has brought her newborn daughter to the ball park. When I say “newborn”, I mean “gave birth on the way to the park” newborn. She tells me the kid is two weeks old. Good Lord!

I don’t even wear new sneakers in the back yard until they’re about a month old. I mean, I have a dog back there! And he loves to poop! What kind of person brings a two-week-old baby to a baseball game?!? 

You know, maybe there’s a reason the Yankees charge so much for tickets after all.  

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