Here’s what it looked like as we arrived at Peoria stadium today, home of the Javelinas, about 40 minutes before game time. The place was a ghost town!
We stepped up to the window and plunked down our $6 apiece for the 55+ rate (the regular fare is $7 per ticket). We asked if we could buy tickets for tomorrow, and the teller said that they only sell game day tickets because selling in advance would mess up their head count. And he was serious! Folks, this is throwback baseball in its purest sense and at its best.
Here was Tommy Joseph strolling toward the dugout, and the place was empty inside. I mean, from behind home plate you could hear the flags blowing behind the left field berm. No superstition for #13, and the players seem to be happy to sign autographs for the handful of fans who show up.
The general admission ticket gives you the option of literally sitting anywhere in the ballpark. You can change seats easily during the game – as the weekday games typically draw no more that 200 fans; weekends draw a bit more but not much. There is a certain charm in sitting in the first row, centered behind the dugout. You can hear all the conversations going on – from taking apart the opposition, to discussing new grips on the ball.
The Fan Guide for the Arizona Fall League, selling for a hefty $2, describes it as a “graduate school for top prospects. It aims to showcase many of baseball’s elite prospects. Most of those in attendance are baseball scouts, general managers, and farm directors. It is the first time that players from different organizations get to bond with one another on pooled teams of this nature, and you can tell that they really get a kick out of playing with each other. The catcher pumps his team up at the oustet after each out, and there are lots of “attaboys” when anyone does well. You can hear every word reverberate through the ballpark.
The life of a scout … made me think of Clint Eastwood’s Trouble With The Curve.