Monday, June 11, 2018

Me and a few hundred friends out at Sarpy County's "Trailer Park"

I finally did it.

Sunday, I finally attended my first baseball game down in Sarpy County 

Why so long?

Well, it's just never bubbled up to the top of my agenda.  I'm not a Kansas City Royals fan, so it's never been something that particularly enticed me.  And for me, it's pretty much out of the way; the only time I go that direction is driving to Lincoln. From my home in West Omaha, the "Trailer Park" is about the same distance south as TD Ameritrade Park is east.  And since I work downtown, I've been to the downtown ballpark many times, whether it was for baseball, football, or yes, even hockey.  (Man, I wish UNO would try this again downtown.)

"Werner Park?"  Not until today.  A family friend gave us some tickets, which finally pushed me from my inertia.  So this afternoon after lunch, my son and I headed south.

It's pretty much the same as it was the last time I drove by there five years ago, other than a few more houses north and east of the stadium. That whole "Pennant Place" development, which was supposed to provide the economic justification for this whole boondoggle, remains to be a dream.  In it's eighth season, the stadium remains a lonely outpost surrounded by empty fields. Eventually, as Papillion grows west, something will sprout there; it just won't be because of the ballpark.  ("Told you so!")

My son had fun at the wiffle ball field before the game, though I'm glad he's outgrown the Merry-Go-Round or bounce houses.  ($7 for that???)  And since nobody was playing miniature golf, it was easy to get him past that. (Another $3 saved...)

In fact, what struck me was that the stadium was pretty much empty today. It probably was the heat, though frankly, it wasn't that bad out there.  (AccuWeather said the high was about 90.)  But as the game got started, I realized that I probably could count the number of people in the stands.

At first pitch, there couldn't have been more than 400-500 people out there. As the game got started, a few more people emerged, but at most, maybe 700-800 on the afternoon. Since it was my first game out there, I don't know if this is the usual summer afternoon crowd or what; I've heard that they draw better on weekend evenings. But I was really surprised.

Other than promotions and contests every half inning, it wasn't a particularly entertaining game outside of the baseball.  (Maybe I should have went and played mini-golf?)  My son was disappointed that after we spent a half-inning getting a sno-cone, we were informed by people nearby that two foul balls had landed right nearby.  But that disappointment relented as the game went on; one nice lady gave my son a foul ball a couple of innings later.  (I suspect that's one that we missed earlier in our sno-cone excursion.)  And then he grabbed a t-shirt in a contest and then won a iPhone fan in another giveaway.

I guess extra swag is one of the advantages of going on "dress as an empty seat" day.

Will it be another eight years before I go to another Omaha AAA baseball game?  Probably not.  (Though before I go again, I've got to explain that he can't expect to come away with a bunch of free stuff every time...)

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