Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Minor League Town

Just got back from a thrilling outing to the Fort Worth Cats, our little town's minor league baseball team. These guys aren't affiliated with no one, and their league, the American Association, is somewhere between A and AA in quality of play, often a stop on the way up or down for those who dream of some day making the big leagues. I'm sure the pay is crappy, and the prospects for having a major league scout see you play is pretty slim.

Still, they're our own beloved Cats, playing at a little gem of a ball park, LaGrave Field, the location of which on the north fringe of downtown Fort Worth was a ballpark from 1925-1964, largely a part of the Brooklyn (and later LA) Dodgers farm organization. After that, the place just kinda fell into disrepair until the site was revived and restored in 2002. It's a great place to see a game, and the place expands, little by little, each year. And, you can purchase actual CRACKERJACK there. . .something you can't in the Ballpark. . er, Ameriques--er, The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Last night's game was against the Lincoln Salt Dogs. Don't know what a salt dog is, but the team's website apparently does. I guess I didn't know how important salt was to the people of Lincoln before now. Anyway, we had the kids along, and they were a bundle of restless energy, and somehow Lincoln got up 5-1 by the late innings of the game. Thankfully, LaGrave has a kid's area (big sandbox/swing set) we let the kids play at for a bit; M watched the boys and I watched the 9th inning as the Cats amazingly rallied back and tied the game--poor coaching on the part of the Sand Dogs opened the door for the Cats. With runners at 2nd and 3rd with one out, Lincoln elected to pitch to Terrence "T-Dog" Green, who singled in two runs to tie the game. Shoulda walked him to load the bases and set up a double play.

We had to leave at that point--sleepy kids--and by the time we got into the car and fired up AM1640 for the Play By Play, Lincoln got a run in top of the 10th to lead 6-5. Alas, the Cats, with runners at 1st and 2nd in the bottom of the 10th executed a double steal on a 3-2 pitch, moving the runners to 2nd and 3rd; the next batter up hit in the game-winner. Quite a finish.

The last Cats game we went to last year finished much the same way. Given the nose-dive our "professional" Texas Rangers are in, I much prefer this low-rent ball played in our own little hometown. And it is considerably cheaper for a famly of four to attend as well.

I've got one beef, though: Since when did minor-minor-minor league players, unsigned to a major league contract, deserve their own "theme music" when coming up to bat? And what's with the nickname, Mr. Terrence "T-Dog" Green? Sure, your numbers are nice, but until you're in the "show", shouldn't humility keep one from slapping a nickname on themselves?

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