Minor League Ball, Major Good Times

Michael Pankowski, Opinion Managing Editor

Your lady friend wants to go on a date. She is getting tired of McDonalds and you are getting tired of getting your butt kicked every time you play mini golf. You have a $20 bill leftover from your bet with Tim that you would not expose your nipples in your school yearbook photo and an extra $4 your mom paid you to get out of the house for the day. What is your next move?
You know you are getting lucky tonight. That is because you are taking her to a minor league baseball game, the most cost-efficient spectacle nachos can be paired with.
Will your anthill of cash cover the cost? You bet! $24 is conveniently exactly the amount of cold hard cash you need to purchase two luxurious seats perfectly placed behind home plate, the pearl of the game’s oyster, at a Frederick Keys game, according to their official website.
The Keys, a Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Major League’s Baltimore Orioles, develop players on their way to the majors. Oh, you want these same seats to see the O’s instead? You will have to ask Tim about some more bets, because those tickets will run you a cool $92-174 if you are lucky enough to get season tickets, according to the team’s website, and possibly 300+ dollars on the open market!
Being able to watch these soon-to-be major leaguers with a buddy for less than a tenth of what you would pay for seeing post-minor leaguers at the next level is one of many tremendous features of minor league baseball games. The games boast promotions almost every night, which include postgame fireworks, kids being allowed to get on the field and run the bases and bobble head and t-shirt giveaways.
Alongside these common promotions, minor league teams also have specific games with various themes. On Star Wars Day April 29, live lightsaber battles took place on the field between innings, staff dressed up as Mace Windu, Chewbacca, and everyone in between and a life-sized remote-controlled R2-D2 roamed the premises.
On Halfway to Halloween Day April 30, the staff dressed up as superheroes, kids were encouraged to wear their costumes and a helicopter dropped 200 pounds of candy from the sky onto the field as kids ran on to enjoy “high speed trick-or-treating.”
Think a baseball game cannot get any more wild? Zoo at the Park Day had a live alligator on the field, and Saturday May 27 featured “monkeys dressed as cowboys riding dogs while herding sheep” in a Cowboy Monkey Rodeo, all according to the team’s official website.
For $12 a pop you get to see professional athletes play ball in a circus-like environment. How is that for entertainment?
Additionally, getting to the game an hour or so early allows fans to chase autographs from these future stars. Most players are more than happy to sign a few baseballs, game programs or hats for you and the Mrs., so you can tell your cute future kid “I saw that player before he was famous, lila�� boy.a��
The circus-like atmosphere is not the only thing bringing back your past childhood joy. You are a winner who wants to see winners. Good news! The Keys, owners of a 14-13 record at their home field according to the team’s website, are statistically likely to claim victory, and so will your wallet. Foul balls fly into the stands frequently, and those fans who catch or get to them first get to keep them as game-used souvenirs straight from the diamond. For the kiddies who just cannot sit still, the Keys offer a Kids’ Zone which includes a carousel, game zone, obstacle course and Dippina�� Dots stand (your exuberant experience cannot be complete without ice cream!).
If you are not wholeheartedly convinced to go to witness this magic for the price of a mediocre haircut, your depressing life cannot be helped.
Junior Kirsten Stillwell has high praise for her outing with the Keys.
“The Keys game I attended was a lot of fun and an awesome memory I’ll always share with my friends and family. We bounced in a moon bounce and ate Cracker Jack all night long. I loved it,” she said.
If you do not love the country vibe of good ola�� Frederick, there are many other places to catch a minor league ballgame. The Ironbirds call Aberdeen home, Bowie houses the Baysox, and Big Train spends the summer in Bethesda.
The summer is young. The night is set. Your girl is ready. Now go and bring her to see the magic of minor league baseball.