Last week was the annual Farm Show at Clipper Magazine Stadium. As if that wasn’t enough to get you to pile the kids in the turnip truck, the Atlantic League Minor League All-Star game was also scheduled.
The game was to start at 7:00 p.m. Usually they open the gates an hour before that, but because of the farm show the gates opened at 5:00 p.m. The skies opened up just shortly before then. They say rain is the farmer’s friend, but not here it wasn’t. It looked like the entire event might be cancelled. I only live 10 minutes from the stadium, so I decided to wait out the rain at home. If it stopped raining by 6:50, I’d go to the game. Otherwise I’d just skip it. It was still raining at 7:00 p.m. but I still couldn’t abandoned all hope. At 7:45 it was still raining, but it looked like it was gonna clear up. I put on my rain gear and headed for the stadium.
By the time I got there, the weather was beautiful. Usually when I go to games I sit in section 17. It’s right behind home plate, has a great view of the entire field, and is protected from flying objects by screening. So I went up to the ticket window. I’d like a seat in section 17…
“What does that mean, ‘no seats’?”
“All the seats are sold out. Lawn tickets only.”
“Sold out. I never heard of that in my three years living here and going to Barnstormer games. What can I do with a Lawn ticket?”
“You can sit on the lawn, or you can walk around.”
Well, walking around sounded like a great idea. I wear an activity tracker and all it ever tells me is that I don’t walk enough. So, this will be a way for me to enjoy the game and keep the activity tracker happy. I can walk and have fun at the same time. When I was a kid I did it all the time. Now, on a good day, I can even walk, have a good time, and chew gum at the same time.
I bought my lawn ticket for the very reasonable price of $7 and headed for the lawn past the outfield. I never realized that there was a path that went entirely around the ballfield. For some reason I expected barriers separating different sections. I decided to go around the entire field clockwise and see what was going on. The first thing I noticed was that there was a lot more to the kiddy park than just the merry-go-round. They even had hand-powered trains that the kids sat in and rode on tracks that had some pretty sharp turns. I was amazed, watching little kids navigate the turns. I was actually expecting most of them to hit the turn too quickly, run off the rails, and crash, but these kids all stayed on track. Call Amtrak, I think we’ve found an answer to your problems here.
There were multiple Petting stations with cows, alpacas, sheep, goats, and something I don’t remember what it was called, but it looked like a cute short camel with a Beatle haircut.
It was like Woodstock without the drugs, (if you don’t count what I had been smoking at home.) There were Amish folk mixed in with city folk, Barnstormer fans, and fans of the other nearby teams. All eight team mascots were there to encourage the crowd to cheer for the representatives from their teams.
I continued walking and out past centerfield there was a big hydraulically-operated Jurassic Park type dinosaur. A few of us were grabbing spaces along the rail there, as every available bit of rail space in the ballpark was quickly disappearing. I had a great spot right behind Dino, and I watched him go through his hydraulic act several times. When I was ready to continue my travels around the park, I held my nose as I quickly walked away and said, “I think the dinosaur farted.”
Before the game they had Percy, the Frisbee Catching Wonder Dog. Percy used to appear between innings, but one time they couldn’t get him to leave the field, and nobody could catch him. So now, he only appears before the games.
In between every inning they had something entertaining going on. Alpaca races, chicken tosses, big glove fights, and t-shirts cannons shooting souvenirs to the fans.
In between one of the innings ,a guy who looked like Max Yasgur spoke out for Agriculture, “the 5th largest industry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” The ranking didn’t surprise me. There are farms all over the place here, but I kept wondering why he kept referring to Pennsylvania as “The Commonwealth” instead of as “The State.” I guess I’ll have to live here a few more years before I find out what that’s all about.
By this time, I was tired of walking around, so I took one of the seats left unused because many people who bought tickets ahead of time thought the game was going to be rained out and didn’t show up. The weather was working in my favor. Fireworks were also on the agenda for the evening, but a local noise ordinance prohibits them from shooting off fireworks after 10:30 p.m., and the game had gotten a late start. So, at 10:15, the game was only in the 7th inning. We sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” and they halted the game, so that they could put on the fireworks display for the children in attendance. After 15 minutes of great fireworks the game resumed.
The entertainment continued too. There was an actual cow-milking contest. They pitted an Amish girl against one of the Barnstormer cheerleaders. They each had 30 seconds. The Barnstormer Cheerleader was reluctant to even grab the cow’s teat, and she got zero milk in 30 seconds. The Amish girl, meanwhile, squeezed out a gallon of milk and I think she also churned a quarter pound of butter. I noticed that the cheerleader’s football-captain boyfriend tried to leave with the Amish girl.
Meanwhile in the All-Star Game, the Barnstormers made up for their shortstop Kevin Ahren’s run-allowing error in the first inning by doing what they always do in such situations, “Keep calm, and Storm on.” They drove in two runs in the Freedom League’s 3-1 victory over the Liberty League All Stars, and Barnstormer Charlie Cutler sparkled on defense when he tagged a guy out in an exciting close-play at home plate. The Stormer’s Caleb Gindl hit the only homerun of the game. He was later named All-Star Game MVP.
One of my favorite motivational speakers, Zig Zigler, used to say, “Don’t judge the day by the weather.” I’m glad I didn’t. It was a fantastic event, and I’m glad I went. This rainy day turned out to be a “Perfect Storm.” I’m just sorry I didn’t bring my camera.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,