It was a slow Friday night in June. A kid no older than I at the time (22) stood on the dugout. He was wearing an unbuttoned jersey and was already sweating through his white undershirt from filming in different locations of the park. His shift was going to be finished when the game ended, and although he was so close to done, you couldn’t tell by the look of his face. To be honest, it looked like he was smiling too much.
The home team was losing, and he needed to get the crowd animated. He had a microphone attached to his face the size of a tennis ball, and I admired him for how he wore his entire outfit with confidence, because he looked… he didn’t look awesome in those skinny jeans and team apparel. On the dugout he stood, and like a bank robber, he yelled “SHOW ME YOUR PAWS!”. No microphone needed, I thought, because all of the people in the stadium were sitting right in front of him. All 10 of us. A group of kids treated him like a rockstar and stretched out their hands out to him, so that he could reach out and touch theirs. “SHOW ME YOUR CLAWS! GO CATS!” He was throwing his hands in the air, changing his wording, doing what looked like a frequently practiced imitation of a wildcat clawing in the air.
For an excruciating 5 minutes, he was screaming all of these chants to the tune of his outstretched hands, no excuse me, paws. He hopped over empty stadium chairs in his worn-out Converse kicks as he pointed to the upper deck in the stadium and said “Louder! Louder! Show me your claws!” My girlfriend and I had to hold our laughs back because we felt his pain: he was just making money. But man was it funny. The upper deck section he was pointing at, telling to get louder, was completely empty, if you didn’t count the birds that had been there all night because of how dark and quiet it was up there. Get these types of experiences, this close to the field, only at a minor league baseball game.
If you’ve got three hours and someone with a sense of humor that can keep you company, how come I thought of this before you!?
1. The Entertainment is One-Of-A-Kind
Ironically, when you pay for a Major League Baseball ticket, you pay for a more tame fan experience. See, Minor League Baseball teams have trouble selling tickets because they’re like second-class sports teams. Who wants to see the players that are almost the best?
So, minor league teams turned to offering crazy entertainment experiences to entice customers. These include games dedicated to the Internet’s most famous MEME’s, Tito’s Vodka Adopt-A-Dog Day, $1 beers, fireworks, $1K Cash-Dash, and more! Not to mention crazy hype-men…
2. Front Row!
It’s not an everyday experience you get to hang right next to huge humans that play sports for money. Impress your date by buying tickets to a minor league baseball game that will put you at the front of the action. They never sell out, and for this reason, the ticket pricing is much more lax than what you may be used to at larger venues. Buy two tickets anywhere, and find yourself closer than you thought, in minutes. The guys on the field are not that different in size and performance level than the richer guys on the brighter stage.
3. “Come One, Come All!”
You can be 65 or 16, who cares! There’s no overwhelming concentration of one age at a minor league baseball game.
4. Friendly Atmosphere
The entire minor league baseball culture is founded on fun. There are 30-year-old baseball players with spouses and children, that are choosing to make a few bucks over minimum wage, and threaten their future wellbeing because they play baseball for the fun of it.
When you and your partner show up, you’ll become part of a community. Sit back and relax ‘cus nobody cares how rich you look, what you’re wearing, or if your hair looks good tonight. No one will fight you when your team wins and their team loses. You’ll be in the company of hard-working people that want to unwind with food, drink and some good company.
As mentioned before, minor league ballplayers are there for the fun of it. Minor League Teams go above and beyond to be creative in their logos and uniforms. Check out the Eugene Emerald’s informs, of Eugene, Oregon, which were designed in the name of the IFC sketch show Partlandia. That is actually a fully functional baseball uniform disguised as a lumberjack costume!
5. Small Towns!
Minor League Baseball teams tend to set-up shop where they can fill lots of land that does not cost very much: far away from the city. For those saying there’s nothing to do in their country town, click here to see if there’s a team playing in your backyard. Minor league baseball stadiums are a staple in those nothing-to-do-towns.
6. It’s Not High Class
At these stadiums, you’ll find the humblest of the humble. You two enjoy spending your time together not because of the clothes you wear or money you spend together, but the time you share. No black-tie reservations means your partner’ll say, “No problem”, when you tell ’em you’re thinking of going out tonight, but not dressing up.
My Tip: Bring along your hoodie (even though she told you not to). When the sun goes down on most summer nights it’ll get chilly and she’ll be more than happy to wear your hoodie on the walk back to the car.
You won’t get stuck with the absurd stadium alcohol prices in a minor league park. At this date-night location, you won’t feel bad about buying you and your date three drinks a piece over the course of your night.