Not gonna lie: rookie league baseball is Not Good Baseball. But, hey, the Orioles won two in a row! Sure, it’s the Bluefield Orioles — but it’s a start, right?
Try not to think about the big club’s bullpen while you tell yourself that.
Anyway: the Royals have a cute little ancient park, tucked right on the edge of Burlington where it meets Graham, and they draw a surprisingly good crowd (the grandstand wasn’t full on Saturday, but it was certainly well-populated). Manny Ramirez and a skinny(er) baby-faced CC Sabathia and Jim Thome played there. (It used to be an Indians club; Bluefield manager Einar Diaz played there as a baby, as well. He’s on their all-Burlington team. He’s also only 8 years older than me. Clearly shep. and I could manage a rookie league team if someone would give us one!) Rookie league ball is sloppy and unpolished, barely a step up from high school and full of guys who were drafted not two months earlier, but it feels like small towns, and I’m not surprised that the Appalachian League exists almost soley in tiny towns tucked near the mountains. Both Bristol and Johnson City, TN have teams — I had no idea. That delights me. Next year we’re going to take a road trip to see them play.
Today I discovered At The Ballpark, which is in a similar vein to my project, though Brian is far more meticulous than I am about cataloging aspects of stadiums. I only require two answers to, generally, enjoy a baseball game: is there beer? Is there baseball? If the answer to both is yes, then I’m pretty happy. This is because I’m lazy, and also like beer. (During college games, where no alcohol is served, substitute “is there a high likelihood that the third baseman is going to fall over unexpectedly during the game?” for “is there beer?”. At Boshamer Stadium, the answer to that question is frequently yes!)