Last night my son and I attended the Norfolk Tides opener versus the Durham Bulls. Although Oceana AFB is so close residents complain constantly about the jet noise, there were no fly overs. Welcome to the Minor Leagues. Nevertheless, all eight thousand of us seemed to have a marvelous time, despite getting pounded 8-0 by the Bulls, AAA affiliate of the Devil Rays.
Winning and losing is somehow less important at this level; it really is more about how you play the game. Players are working on their skills, honing their talent for their shot in the show. Or playing out their time as a professional ballplayer. Anyone who has watched Bull Durham has to have some appreciation for the Minor Leagues.
It is always fun to see the Bulls immortalized in that classic movie. Of course Triple-A ball is not played in dusty, decrepit stadiums depicted in the film. Many of the stadiums are actually better than major league parks. I would rather see a game in Harbor Park than Pro Player Stadium, where the Marlins play, any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Like The Brick in Oklahoma City and many other modern facilities, it is well designed and comfortable, home away from home to any baseball fan.
My son ran into a buddy from his command on his first visit to Harbor Park. Welcome to Our House. Baseball is a communal experience. No other sport has a seventh inning stretch, during which the starting pitcher for the Norfolk Tides, Jose Lima, a former NL All Star, sang “God Bless America”.
Ah, what a wonderful time. – amn