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Getting back to the diamond was nicePosted Thursday, July 29, 2010, at 11:33 AM
It had been quite a while since I had been to a professional baseball game, something I have missed -- but didn't realize how much until last week.
That's when I set off to interview retired Linton-Stockton baseball coach Bart Berns' son-in-law Matt Zaleski.
I interviewed Zaleski at Victory Field in Indianapolis, home of the Indianapolis Indians. It's where his team, the Charlotte Knights, we're set to play the first of a four-game series.
After the interview, which will be featured later this week, I decided to stick around and watch the game.
When you're in the middle of a high school sports season, it's very rarely that you get a chance to break away and just go and watch a game, especially at the professional level.
So, after finishing my story in the pressbox, I settled back and decided to watch the game. At first I had hoped to watch a pitching duel between Indianapolis starter Mike Crotta and Charlotte's hurler Brandon Hynick.
Now, I must admit, I did have more than a passing interest in the game simply because the Knights are the Triple A affiliate of my beloved White Sox. So I felt it would give me a chance to sum up the future of my favorite team and get a little enjoyment from my favorite sport as well.
What I got was the opposite of the pitching duel that I've been known to savor. The game featured a combined four home runs, nine pitchers, 29 runs, 31 hits and five errors. All in all what many would call a slugfest -- or as I would call it a wide-open abuse of two pitching staffs.
When the dust settled and the smoke cleared the Indians had prevailed 17-11 snapping a nine-game home losing streak.
It was also the highest offensive output by an Indians team since they hammered the Knights 19-3 in 2004.
Perhaps the real story here isn't how the game progressed or how the offense far outshined both the defense and the pitching.
The real story is in how I'm showing my age.
When I go to a baseball game I like to sit the stands, take in the sounds and fully envelope the sights and smells that come the experience.
One of the best parts of any game is getting out and enjoying the ballpark itself.
Victory Field is one of those rare minor league parks where things are geared toward the fans. There's the outfield seating on a grassy hill. There's the row of kids games to keep them entertained. And, of course, there's the smell of the concession stands filling the air.
But, on this day, I chose not to enjoy those standards of the ball park. Instead I chose to sit in an air conditioned pressbox with free food and drinks at hand. And even more importantly, away from the overbearing humidity and heat that had taken over the area.
Now, don't get me wrong, I would've like to be out there among the fans, enjoy the sounds of everything going on.
But, let's face it, when your 50 years old, it's 98 degrees with a heat index of 104, there's only so much you can enjoy. And in this case, discretion is the better part of valor -- or at least the better part of enjoyment.
Call me what you will, but I still got to enjoy the game, just not like the rest of the crowd.
But then, I guess that's one of the perks of being in the job I'm in -- getting to sometimes take a peek at the other side of life.
I mean the people in the luxury boxes next door to the press box were in the same boat. They weren't exposed to the heat and humidity and still enjoyed the game.
So I guess it's all relative to what's in your mind at the time.
Rick is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487 or by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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