Minor league baseball is a whole different animal. This was my introduction to Minor League Baseball, as I’d never been to a non-big league game. I was there for a reason, my intention was to interview Top Prospect Kyle Crick, which we did, and it was an awesome experience. He’s an awesome guy, and I wish him well on his journey to the bigs (which he will arrive sooner rather than later, trust me). Not only did we accomplish what we needed to in the interview, we experienced something else on a whole different level.
Minor League Baseball is a uniquely American experience. It is baseball infused with a county fair, featuring local establishments such as Nothing Bunt Cakes in San Carlos. With gimmicks and activities aimed at children and families and makes for a really fun overall experience. My favorite gimmick featured in San Jose was the “Beer Batter of the game” in which if a designated opposing hitter strikes out, beer is half price for fifteen minutes. The unfortunate and unsuspecting victim was The Inland Empire 66ers (The Angels Single A affiliate) Center Fielder Andy Workman. Who inevitably struck out his first at-bat. The crowd went wild, and there was a mad dash to the beer lines as everyone wanted their $4.00 beer, however, his designation of “Beer Batter” came back to hurt the Giants as he returned the favor in his next two at bats with two doubles in a row.
Then there was the “Smash for Cash inning” which is not what you initially think. I bet you thought if a player hits a homerun a certain fan or section would get cash. Not the case. The Smash for Cash inning is when the Giants bring out a truck onto the field, and chose three Giants players to try and smash the headlights of the truck by throwing baseballs at it. Hilarious. The San Jose Giants also crowned their 4000,000th fan that day, with a special ceremony. Overall, it was an awesome fan experience.
The best thing about the game though was the crowd. People of all different shapes and sizes and colors, all there to enjoy their Saturday’s with their friends and families, and watch a little local baseball. Some don’t have the luxury of going to a major league baseball game due to financial restrictions, or locational restrictions. And some are just there because they want to watch the future of their beloved San Francisco Giants. For the players its about two things, chasing a dream, and love of a game. That’s it. Everyone hustles out ground balls hit to the second baseman, they display good fundamentals, and from what I could establish, just loved being there playing. Nothing else mattered except for THAT game at THAT time. You don’t get that all the time with the big leagues. Some guys are just too entrenched, too entitled. These kids, most of whom are younger than me aren’t at that place. They’re there to chase their dreams of making it in the big leagues, their own American Dream, some of them closer than others, but you can just feel that by their play. There are guys, like Mac Williamson, Kyle Crick, and Ricky Oropesa who will definitely be big leaguers, but right now, they’re just trying to make it. They all have the size and the natural ability, but they still have to earn their spot. There is something to be said about watching guys give everything they have to a game they love so much.