As Aaron wrote in a post today, baseball season has officially started. I was reminded of this also while listening to an NPR story on minor league teams and how they got their their names and mascots. The Albuquerque Isotopes was one of the teams featured. The Simpson’s cartoon show is responsible for the Isotopes name after Homer said something about the baseball team being called the Isotopes during an episode. Fans named it.
I went to an Isotopes game when I visited friends a few years back. Even though the stadium has been gussied up since I lived in Albuquerque and favored the Dukes, there’s still that minor league team feel. I am a minor league fan, particularly because I go to games to watch crowds. There’s much more interaction between the game and the crowd in minor league teams. One gets the feeling that the players and the fans belong together. Plus, there are the cheap hot dog nights, the free bobble head nights and the free tickets that get passed out through local parks and recreation centers for kids. My son is always getting tickets to the Columbus Clippers from somewhere. Minor league teams seem to want to build a relationship with fans.
To me, major league teams aren’t about building relationships with a city and its people. Their games are just not as much fun. They aren’t a yawn, but crowd pleasing is more difficult when some fans are several benches up from the action. That’s my impression anyway. I do admit, I love Jacobs Field where the Cleveland Indians play, even though, the ball park is not called that anymore. There is some other corporate sponsor name that I can’t recall. The view of Cleveland is still terrific from the top bleachers. I like how you can see the seagulls from there.