Lately, I have been really into just watching the games, I kept book at the Ole Miss vs Georgia game and then I did the same thing at Memphis vs Round Rock. I also listened to the games on the radio. Both announcers were very good Dave Kellum at Ole Miss and Steve Shelby for the Memphis Redbirds. I am really starting to perfect my scorekeeping system for batters, however I have a long way to go with pitchers. I still have many questions but I think I will be a serious ” baseball bookkeeper” by the end of this journey! I went out and purchased an array of pencils, I like a number 2.5 pencil for marking, it seems solid and doesn’t get messy. I have also incorporated red to the mix. I did try a few mechanical pencils, but had the wrong type of lead, will try again with those. As I continue to perfect my system I will let everyone know, most of you I am sure are waiting on the edge of your seats or with “baited breath” to find out how I mark certain situations.
I can’t explain how much enjoyment I am getting out of doing it! Some days I just want to sit back and “veg” and this is the perfect thing to do. Many of you probably ask, “What is the point?” I ask what is the point to anything we do, if it feels good and doesn’t infringe on anyone else, I say why not! I am loving all the aspects of the games, from the tailgating to the “geekfest” of bookkeeping. This game has opened my eyes of so many things. I have continued to read about the integration of baseball, the history of the game and how it mirrors America, it reaffirms and cements this game as America’s Pastime for me.
I also am watching the game a lot smarter, Zack Hamples book has made me notice the little things, i.e. when the home plate umpire gets hit with a foul ball the catcher normally goes out to talk to the pitcher to give the ump time to shake it off and vice versa, if the catcher gets nailed the umpire will normally walk out and give the pitcher a new ball and sweep off the plate. I never thought about those things before, those are little things I notice now. There is all the strategy within the game that is also fun to figure out.
Some teams are much better with their “hospitality” than others, the Reno Aces set the bar very high. One thing I loved about them is that all the vendors gave batting practice balls out to a couple of kids as they came into the stadium, ALL their staff was very welcoming. They are at the top for me, a lot of teams have a long way to go to match them! The stadium experiences have been diverse but also very much the same, if that makes sense. Especially in the minor leagues, all have the goofy mascots to keep the kids entertained, I have noticed all ballparks have the activities between innings. Most teams do the races like the Milwaukee Brewers “Racing Sausages”, every team does a t-shirt toss, the 7th inning stretch is the same and there is also the “kiss cam”. Almost all places have the souvenir cups, and hats that come with purchasing a food and beverage. Their has been very few places with unique foods, the Albuquerque Isotopes top the list however, no other team does Banana Foster!
I can’t compare the college experiences with the minor league experience. College will win every time when it comes to the entertainment I have found in the stands with the fans, especially in the south and southwest, the energy is completely different, I probably don’t pay as much attention when I am at a college game as I do at other games. High School games all I want to do is scout the players, I like finding a player and studying him. All the different levels have something to offer. Tonight I am in Little Rock, Arkansas but I have to get on the road right away after the game to be in Oklahoma City by 10 am, I am being interviewed by the Oklahoma City Redhawks radio announcer, that will be a new experience!
If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at www.baseballbuddha.com. Follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page! Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!