Archive for July 4th, 2009

Bus Leaguers Work on the 4th

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We here at Bus Leagues have the usual thanks to hand out on Independence Day.

Thanks to the Founding Fathers for having a dream of freedom. Thanks to the farmers and merchants who answered the call and fought against overwhelming odds to realize that vision. Thanks to everyone who has fought to preserve that freedom, with pen or sword, since then.

I was thinking today, as I considered whether to take my family out to a ballgame to get our fireworks fix, that we should thank the players, execs, ticket sellers, on-field promotions personnel, and mascots who head into work today to make sure we all have a good time. For most of us, the holiday means extra time off from work to spend with our families and our grilling apparatus. But in baseball, more often than not, it’s game day.

So thanks, Bus League pros. We owe you one. Have a cold one on us after you’re done cleaning up the popcorn and spilled drinks. And enjoy those fireworks. They’re for you, too.

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Minor League Games Available On The Radio? Brilliant!

I stumbled onto a fascinating discovery tonight: MiLB.com provides links to free audio feeds from around minor league baseball.  Fans can listen to games for nearly 125 teams over the Internet.

I took advantage of this find to tune in to the High Desert-Rancho Cucamonga California League matchup.  High Desert outfielder Jamie McOwen was trying to extend his hitting streak to forty games.  He was 0-for-2 with a sacrifice and a walk when I tuned in, getting his fifth chance with two down in the ninth inning.  He was behind in the count, 0-2, when he lined a pitch back up the middle for a base hit.  It was pretty cool to hear the local announcer (who inexplicably sounded like Alan Alda) get excited when the ball cleared the infield safely.

This is a great idea that I plan on taking advantage of as often as possible, especially for teams like High Desert that I will never be able to see in person.

Promotions: Fun For Everyone!

We got an email from Jordi yesterday filling us in on an upcoming promotion being planned by the Hudson Valley Renegades.  On July 7, the Rays affiliate plans to allow female fans only into the ballpark until the game becomes official after the fifth inning.  A variety of in-game promotions are scheduled around the event, from spa treatments to the opportunity to choose the images on the video board via remote control.

Whether you like it or not, and I can understand why some people are strongly opposed, you have to admit that this is a fun, innovative idea.  All too often, minor league teams decide to stay with the old stand-bys (Bat Day, Hat Day, Baseball Card Giveaway, etc.) instead of using their imaginations to come up with something new.  The Renegades staff came up with something new (or at least a variation on your standard Ladies Day promotion).  Good for them.

Unfortunately, as soon as I read Jordi’s email and the details of the promotion, I knew the inevitable “cease and desist” letter wouldn’t be far behind.  A minor league promotion that excludes somebody in some way, even harmlessly, even in the name of good old-fashioned fun?  God, no, we can’t have that.

The killjoy came on Friday, when Senior Assistant County Attorney Keith P. Byron sent a letter to the Renegades.  The letter suggested that the team was violating both the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and New York State Human Rights Law.

Deep breaths…deep breaths…

The problem is that Byron’s letter states that “the Renegades have advertised and sold tickets for an event to be held on July 7, 2009 at which certain ticket holders will be denied admission based solely on their gender.”  That’s not true.  Everyone who purchases a ticket to this game will be allowed into the ballpark.  All the team is asking is that men wait until after the fifth inning.  Yes, it says only females fans will be “permitted” inside until that point, but does anyone really think that’s going to be a hard and fast rule?  If a dude wants in bad enough, my guess is they’ll let him in.

As noted above, I can see why some people might be against the promotion.  It’s tough to explain to kids, for one, why it’s called a “Ball-Less” game.  I get that.  But in looking at some of the reader comments in the local paper, money also seemed to be an issue.  Some people were up in arms because they aren’t going to be able to use their tickets for half a game.  They were going to lose baseball THAT THEY PAID FOR, GOSH DANG IT!

(Fun fact: if a game is rained out and made up as part of a doubleheader, the games are seven innings, meaning you lose out on four innings of baseball – two innings from the made-up game, two innings from the game it gets paired with for the doubleheader.)

Here’s an idea: embrace the promotion instead of fighting it.  Ladies, if you have season tickets, leave the husband and kids home for the night, get a couple girlfriends together, and go have a good time.  Quit being the sort of person that complains about losing half of a minor league baseball game, and try being the sort of person who isn’t afraid to have a little fun now and then.

Seriously, where does this end?  So many promotions are exclusionary in some way.  I randomly decided to look at the promotional schedule for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the affiliated team closest  me.  This month alone, they are holding a Jewish Pride Night and a Christmas Ornament Giveaway.  In August, they’re celebrating Halloween Night and two different giveaways (T-shirts and lunch bags) aimed specifically at children.  What if I’m not Jewish?  What if I don’t celebrate Christmas?  What if I feel Halloween is a pagan holiday that is not to be treated so flippantly?  What if I want a T-shirt or a lunch bag?

I’ll tell you what: I’m going to accept that maybe the team has decided to hold a promotion that is not targeted at my particular demographic.  If I already have tickets, I’ll go anyway and hopefully enjoy myself.  If I don’t already have tickets, I’ll decide whether or not I want to go.  It’s really that simple.  Not everything has to be a fight to the death.

Wednesday Was A Good Day

Bakersfield Blaze righthander Ryan Tatusko pitched the game of his life on Wednesday, allowing just a ninth inning single in a 2-0 win over Modesto. Lots of pitchers put up great performances, at all levels. But how many of them end up writing about it afterward?

Tatusko is writing regularly this season for The Newberg Report. After Wednesday’s game, he used that space to take the readers into the mind of a guy on the cusp of the greatest achievement of his life:

Inning 8

The inning starts with a 100 mph grounder to Kaase that he makes look so routine. He throws the runner out easily. Next batter, curve, curve, curve, strike three. Now with two quick outs in the inning, my heart is racing to get back into the dugout as fast as I can, and here comes walk number three. (Insert all four-letters words here). Next batter hits a worm-burner of a grounder on a 1-1 fastball to Kaase to get the force at second for out number 3.

Coming into the dugout my mind starts to race about what is going on, and now all of the sudden the people I was talking to to keep things light-hearted now want nothing to do with me. I try for anybody. Sarmiento? Fry? Chavy? Everyone is on the opposite end of the dugout and I am sitting, alone next to the trainer’s kit, trying not to psyche myself out, withy that 0 still staring at me in the face. I begin to think that already this is the best professional outing that I have ever thrown and how I am so blessed to even be in this position right now.

The whole thing is a short, fast read that will be well worth your time.

(Kudos to Baseball Musings for the tip)