For those of you not familiar with the American baseball system, under the “major leagues” (New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, etc) are the “minor leagues.” These leagues have teams that are generally affiliated with one of the thirty major league teams. They’re usually (but not always) in smaller cities and towns and they serve as developmental leagues for their “parent” teams.
Within the minor leagues, the Triple-A teams are for the players just below the major league level – many players in Triple-A have been up in the majors for at least a short period here or there, perhaps to fill in for a week or two when one of the major league players got hurt. The Double-A players are in need of a bit more seasoning before they’re ready to move up, and the Single-A clubs are filled with rookies and “prospects” who are learning what being a professional baseball player involves.
Being in Fort Wayne, Indiana, we had an opportunity today to go to the final regular season game for the Fort Wayne Tin Caps. The Tin Caps are the Single-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. They have a beautiful stadium right in the heart of Downtown Fort Wayne, just two blocks from our hotel.
We had bought our tickets online a couple months ago, so we got what turned out to be the best seats I’ve ever had for a ballgame, except for when my kids were a playing at the neighborhood ball park. Better yet, we got them for $10 each. For reference, at a major league game, $10 might barely get you nosebleed seats. Seats like this at a major league game are typically $100 or more. Someplace like Yankee Stadium it might be much, MUCH more.
The “Tin Cap” nickname and the “apple wearing a pot” logo apparently come from the legend of Johnny Appleseed. Who knew?
While it was quite warm at our seats-with-the-best-view-in-the-universe (92°F with 50% humidity) there was no beating our view of the action.
Minor league baseball is a LOT of fun, with gimmicks and entertainment in between every half inning. Our favorite was Jake the Diamond Dog, a very well trained Golden Retriever. Jake carried baskets of bottled water out to the umpires, ran out onto the field to fetch foul balls, and was acting Bat Boy two or three innings, playing “fetch” with the biggest sticks around.
It was a great day for the home nine (not so much for the visiting Bowling Green Hot Rods) with the Tin Caps winning 17-0. (And it wasn’t as close as it sounds.) But for a fun day in the sun, watching kids that might be major league stars in a few years, it was a great, fun experience!