For those of you who haven't read my Costas rant and even those who have, I have to admit that it was simply icing on the topping of a great week of baseball for me(despite the Phillies trading for Blanton from Oakland). The Mets are up to 10 in a row now, the Costas special was a classic, the all star weekend was very entertaining and tonight I got to go to an Intimidators game, sometimes life is just too good. As I also wrote earlier this week, going out to support minor league baseball is such an enjoyable experience that I think many don't understand how much they are missing out on.
Tonight was Guys Night Out/Thirsty Thursday/Favorite Jersey Night(and yes,I broke out the SU #44 football jersey). I went with my father in law and we enjoyed every inning we saw, despite having to leave at the end of the 10th because he has to wake up and leave for work about 4am but hey, he stuck it out until well after 10pm so I can't get mad at that. Minor league baseball is the best value for your dollar and the one thing I wish I had season tickets for because I would go to every game possible. The Intimidators can cost as little as $4 a ticket and sometimes even less then that for certain promotions like Friday games that you present your Time Warner bill, you get a dollar off EACH ticket. I hear often how expensive it is taking a family out for a fun time can be but to me, this is the one event that you can afford it. Sure, sometimes the food costs are a bit high but eat some dinner before hand and then maybe all you need are some peanuts or something(I usually get a Dew and a Dog which is about $5). People knock it by saying it's not major league talent but these guys mostly play hard for little money and you can still have fun tracking these players, especially when one makes it to the show and you can brag about when you saw him play. I highly encourage you to check out a minor league game in your area soon before the season is over.
As far as the major league all star weekend, whether your talking about the marathon game itself or the spectacular home run derby showing of Josh Hamilton,that say what you want about his personal background, the guy put on a home run clinic, was enjoyable to all. Would I make some minor changes? Sure such as making it on the weekend for the workers who can't stay up until 1am waiting for it to finish or using all star pitchers in the derby and finding ways to emphasize how important it is that the top stars represent the league in all games possible such as the derby itself. I remember back to when I was a kid and ESPN would show episodes of the classic television show "Home Run Derby" and how awesome it was seeing Mickey Mantle and Herman Killabrew just crush them and return the next episode to defend their title. But regardless of that, it was still a great weekend to be a baseball fan, especially since we didn't have to see J.D. Drew and David Wright pitching in the 16Th inning. Anytime you can see a showcase of the best pitchers in the league facing legitimately the best lineup possible in the league, the purists have to be excited at the anticipation of what can possibly happen.
And yes, as I started to doubt the Mets, Coach Manuel then gets this team into what is now a 10 game winning streak and tied for 1st in the NL East. Sure, as I mentioned above, the Phillies are loading up fearing the Mets won't just collapse this time around. What this means is an epic second half to see who can thrive and hopefully not repeat one of the worst falls from grace in baseball history that the Mets made last year. Just knowing that they are not still playing under .500 ball has to make a fan at least somewhat optimistic that maybe this will be the year we advance in the playoffs, or at least make it there. Of course, that Cubs team scares me but I also should not be admitting that just in case my Uncle Nick reads this and that ego of his busts out of his head(hey, he did name his kid after Ryne Sandberg, middle name anyway).
Again, its just a good time to be a baseball fan period, especially if your favorite major league team is in the playoff hunt. If not, try out minor league baseball and support the future superstars of MLB. I admit that when I can't make it to the park,I love to stream the games into my headphones and follow along. I also have the Mets box score nearby if they are playing so I can see what they are doing as well(I am too broke to pay for the mlb.com feed but that's OK,Dan Bumpus does an excellent job for the Intimidators anyway). Usually, I am only this excited when spring training has finished and opening day is approaching but what can I say, it's been a great week. Ignore the steroid issue that some idiots(executives who turned a blind eye are included as well in the idiot category) and think about the fun you can have rooting for a team and hey, how many basketball games do you get a chance to catch a ball that goes out of bounce, baseball there is always a chance for a souvenir. You can take me out to the ball game every day and yes, the peanuts and cracker jacks are always waiting for you there. Have I mentioned how much I love this game?