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Friday, March 27, 2009

What is Your Favorite Minor League Baseball Memory?

Maybe you saw a future big leaguer hit a grand slam in Waterloo, Iowa...maybe you sat through a doubleheader at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama... maybe you saw the San Diego Chicken in Springfield, Illinois. To me, one of the great things about baseball in general and minor league baseball especially is the interesting people and places you see at the ballpark. Please tell us your story.


farmstros said...

Since this is my idea, I will try to get the ball rolling. When I was in high school, my mother and I took several trips to watch baseball and visit relatives. On one of these trips, we were watching the Arkansas Travelers and Midland Cubs at Ray Winder Field in Little Rock, Arkansas. Throughout the game, the PA announcer would play bingo with the audience for various prizes. When you had bingo you had to run to a location behind home plate to claim your prize. In about the 6th inning, I had a bingo. I almost broke my leg taking a dive over the railing heading to the prescribed spot, but I got there first and claimed my prize, A MR. MEAT SMOKER. That souvenir from Ray Winder Field cooked meals on my parents' back porch for many years after that.

rastronomicals said...

Attending a Quad City River Bandit game at gorgeous John O' Donnell Stadium in 1998 was pretty cool, but I wasn't feeling so good that night, so instead let's go with September 2nd, 1992.

Last game of the FSL season, Lakeland at Osceola. Both teams had already clinched spots in the FSL playoffs that would start three days later, and Lakeland would actually go on to be league champion. Game goes 15 innings. Brian Hunter is *robbed* of a 9th inning walkoff homer when the ump can't see that the ball clearly went out on the fair side of the foul pole.

After Hunter K'ed and the teams entered extras tied at 5, Lakeland scored in the top of the 11th or the 12th, but the Astros answered with a run of their own to keep the game going.

The game was finally won on a steal of home, by a player with the name of Vince Roman. There hadn't been all that many people there when the game began, and there were quite a few less when the game was won.

In an effort to psyche out the Lakeland pitcher, Roman not only took this *huge* lead from third, but he also began stomping his cleats as loudly as he could. The sound of the stomping reverberated through the nearly empty Osceola County Stadium. It's those aluminum benches that reflect the sound, I think. Anyway, Roman's ploy clearly worked. The Lakeland pitcher (who might have been named Ed Rodriguez) was clearly out of sorts with his windup, and threw over to third a bunch of times, I remember. I thought Roman trying to bother the pitcher in that way was both smart and pretty oool, on balance.

But hell, I thought he was trying to induce a wild pitch or something. When Roman actually *took off*--and made it, to win the freaking game--I thought it was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen. Still do.

O-Stros win 7 - 6, making Jim Gutierrez a winner in relief.

Sure would love to see a copy of the boxscore, but with the end of the FSL season, none of the Central Florida papers appear to have bothered. My incomplete scorecard does show that Hunter scored twice, and that Roman, in addition to scoring the winning run, drove in 3. James Mouton reached on an error in the first anc came around to score. Troy Dovey had started, while sidearmer and future major leaguer Jim Dougherty and three others held the fort down after Dovey left in the sixth and before Gutierrez pitched the top of the 15th.

It was the best game I've ever attended at any level, and to be honest there haven't been many games I've been to that have even come close.