Nearby is a minor league baseball team. It's an exceedingly minor league, almost invisible: the team has the players who hope to be called up to a team where they might be called up to a team where they might be called up to the Phillies. They moved in about five years ago and my father had never before gone. Free batting helmet night finally got him to take action. He left a message saying to be home at 5:15 if I wanted to go, allowing us a scanty hour and 20 minutes to cover the ten-minute drive. When he finally got home about 5:45, he wondered if we could possibly make it.
Despite a parking lot jam of almost two cars ahead of us we squeezed in, although we never figured out where they were giving away helmets. They were giving away paper fans, soda can cozies, programs, pens, notepads, and more that we rejected, making the $9 admission quite a bargain.
And there's entertainment: for one, the mascot, Buster. Buster looks sort of like a transporter accident merged the Phillie Phanatic with Elmo, but he or she's good-spirited about it. And most every half-inning saw another diversion, like somebody shaking around a box labelled with a cable company name, or trying to make a half-court-distance free throw basketball shot. After the game another contest had people tossing purchased tennis balls at hoops on the infield for prizes. It was the sixth-inning race of giant eyeballs from center field to home plate that baffled me most.
Oh, and there was a fine baseball game, very swiftly played, with the lead never more than about two runs and changing repeatedly. Despite this patrons kept wandering off. The official attendance was a touch under six thousand; I don't see how more than maybe 800 were present at the same time. By the seventh inning even Buster seemed to have drifted off. It was fine when the huge guy in front of me obstructing my photographs left, but he quit about four innings in. It hardly seems worth going for that short a time.
I was indirectly touched by one of the other giveaways, the T-shirts tossed from the field. One of the bundles hit me and rebounded to one of the people sitting next to me. As I didn't want the T-shirt that was fine by me; luckily, my father was off getting a pretzel so I didn't need to explain my refusal to fight for the chance to wear a realtor's logo on my chest.
Trivia: At the start of the 1941 baseball season -- through April 21-- Joe DiMaggio managed a .528 batting average. Source: 1941: The Greatest Year in Sports, Mike Vaccaro.
Currently Reading: Edison: A Biography, Matthew Josephson.