Futurballa, along with Mrs. Futurballa in tow, went to see a minor league baseball game last night. This was exactly the second minor league game I've been to in my life. Growing up on The Dodgers in the Sixties, The A's in the Seventies after moving north, and The Giants, I'd never be caught dead at a minor league game, but I have to admit it is a hell of a lot of fun.
We went to see the San Jose Giants who are an A level farm team for The San Francisco Giants, and part of the California League. Fresno is SF's triple A team, so when you hear the Giants called up some kid for his shot in the majors it is from Fresno, but occasionally a big name player will spend some time working his way back from the DL in San Jose. A few years ago Marvin Bernard and Russ Ortiz have played on the San Jose team.
Other than seeing some mediocre baseball enthusiastically played the true pleasure of minor league is the family atmosphere. The park is small without a bad seat. The first seven rows are box seats and go for 9 bucks. The rest of the seats are general admission and cost $7. Those prices are if you didn't bother to grab a discount coupon at the supermarket. They have Hebrew National hotdogs for $3 and $4 beer, as opposed to the $8 beers at Pacbell. There are no gourmet sausages or garlic fries, which are one of the great olifactory pleasures of going to Pacbell, but there is a BBQ area with ribs and chicken for sale right off the grill. You can actually afford to take the whole family to a game and that is exactly what you see, kids, lots of kids and dads and moms, and high school kids on dates. It is very middle America, here in Silicon Valley.
And they pack the evening full of the kind of entertainment that I'd be embarrassed to participate in anywhere else, but find myself enthusiastically cheering at the Municipal Stadium. The national anthem is sung by someone from the Chamber of Commerce. God Bless America is performed by a soloist from a local church choir. Everyone stands and takes of their hat. Nobody flubs the lyrics to Take Me Out to the Ballgame. There are silly games between each inning with cheesy prices for the contestants. A night at a local hotel, 10 lottery tickets, a dinner out. And on top of that there are giveaways for the whole crowd. A coupon for a free burger from Wendy's if any Giant hits a double in the 7th. A pizza if any Giant hits for the cycle.
All in all, a lot of fun had by all without mortgaging the house, or selling the first born for decent seats. Just remember next time to get one of those vinyl cushions, those benches are hard.