Down On the Farm

Well there will be playoff baseball in Northeast Ohio this year.  Not the Indians, unfortunately.  Instead, the Akron Aeros will be fighting for their fourth Eastern League title.

Yesterday I went to see the team’s final regular season home game.  Sadly, it was my first time to see them play.

As regulars readers will know, I’m in love with the game of baseball.  Watching it at the minor league level is a different experience.  Not better or worse than an MLB game, just different.

To me it’s more pure.  The focus is more on the game.  There are still between inning giveaways and the family-friendly atmosphere that is ever present in sports.  But there isn’t the glitz that goes with major league ball.  No homerun fireworks or DH’s that cost way too much money for too long without doing anything to help the team.

Plus everything around the game is much more laid back, in Akron at least.  Parking for one.  Instead of fighting to find spots in garages that cost up to $20 to park, I could park right on the street, just around the corner from the stadium.  No cost and without the headache of post-game traffic jams.

Then there’s Canal Park itself, which is a beautiful park for a minor league team.  Built during the beginning of this “traditional parks” era, it blends right in with the city around it.  The brick façades house a variety of restaurants.

Just beyond the outfield runs part of the historic Ohio and Erie Canal.  The towpath alongside it makes for a fun walk to the game.

As far as seating, there really are no bad seats.  The main stand is nice and tight to the field.  Sitting in one of the back rows, I still felt right in the action.

Something I thought was fun to watch, the team does a Kiddie Stampede after the 6th.  All kids under 12 are invited to run on the field.  They open the doors in the outfield and a long stream of kids charge out into left field and back.  A sight to see, and I could tell the kids loved it.

The game could have been better.  The Aeros’ bullpen gave up a two-run lead and their bats never really got going.  But Aeros’ starter Toru Murata looked good on the hill (5 shutout innings, 6 Ks) and had a nice curveball.  The Indians do need some pitching after all.

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