I live 20 minutes away from the Lansing Lugnuts Class A stadium. More than fifty players have gone from the Lugnuts to the majors.
Slightly below Class A-Advanced are the full-season Class A leagues, the South Atlantic League and Midwest League. These leagues are a mix of players moving up from the Short Season and Rookie leagues, as well as the occasional experienced first-year player. These leagues play a full 140-game schedule, which runs from the first week of April through the first week of September. (reference)Proximity to the stadium is a mixed bag. On one hand, excellence in teamwork is a privilege to behold. Conversely, letting entire seasons pass without seeing a game is tragic. My life's paradox was highlighted when Steven asked me to reflect on baseball.
Steven cares about baseball, blogs about baseball, talks about baseball. I care about Steven; our children know him as "Uncle Steven"; read Steven's blog and talk to Steven, who talks about baseball. I didn't have a reason to share my experience with Class A baseball until Nine2go.
For me, baseball is a story of redemption. I go to the park as often as many attend church. If someone attends church only on Mother's Day, Christmas and Easter, they probably have acceptable experiences. No heartache, not fodder for nightmares. "This was nice, I should do it more often." Mostly, attendance stops at the thought of visiting more often.
Baseball stadia are hallowed places for many. I visit two or three times a year. It's nice, I should do it more often. Alas, my attendance patterns pave the road to hell. An evangelist has been sent to highlight the error of my ways; to lift my gaze in pursuit of a more excellent way.
Popcorn, brats and dippin dots are proof of baseball's importance. I have strayed from freshly cut grass, bleachers and rain ponchos. Hope of catching a flyball has been smothered by my extended absences. How will I endure without the antics of Big Lug, the Lugnuts mascot? What kind of husband and father doesn't gather his family for autographs?
I was lost but have been found. Steven found me denying my desperate state and challenged me. I've seen the light, turned from the television and will once again cheer in person.