“We’re Talking Homer … Ozzie and the Straw …”
Last Friday, NerdsOnSports’ own Willis, RJ and I went to see the Brockton Rox play the Nashua Pride at gorgeous Campanelli Stadium, right outside Brockton High School (home of the Ames Street Soldiers). NerdsOnSports charter members Matt M., Amanda L., Josh P. and my girlfriend Christine were also in attendance.
Watching Brockton play ball was some of the most fun I’ve ever had watching baseball in my life – major league, minor league, little league, you name it. For one thing, Campanelli is, again, gorgeous – modern, clean, spacious and comfortable. Considering the Rox aren’t even affiliated with Major League Baseball, the size and scope of their facilities impressed me.
For another thing, we saw in the first six innings just about everything that can conceivably happen in a game of baseball. And I mean everything:
- A single, double, triple and a homer all in the same inning;
- An in-the-park home run;
- A player stealing home base;
- A player attempting to steal first (after the catcher dropped the third strike);
- A balk;
- The pitcher challenging the runner’s tag at third by throwing the ball back to second; and
- A ground-rule double overruled into a stadium-rule home run.
All it lacked was an improper substitution under rule 3.05(c) to run the circuit.And another thing: every half inning – and I mean every half inning – was marked by on-field festivities of some sort. K.O. the Brockton Kangaroo runs onto the field and jumps around. A randomly selected fan tries to hit a lobster mascot with a golf ball. An eleventh birthday party. Slingshotting T-shirts into the stands. And so forth.
The great thing about small-town ball is that it feels like a party. Everyone in the stands knows everyone else, because it’s the same thousand people every weekend. And the players are good, but they’re not so good that the game becomes the monotonous, scoreless routine we’ve come to expect from the MLB. Even those lazy “can of corn” pop flies that you know are going to be an out could still end in a base hit. Who knows?
I’m going back. And you’re coming with me.