COLUMN: Fun at the old ballpark

Mark Spensley
Express Co-Publisher

   For me, I can never have too much baseball. So, this past weekend we traveled to Carlisle, Iowa and got in our fair share of baseball activity. And it all started Friday night.

   Both grandsons had games this past weekend. Sullivan is still in a learning league. They hit off the coach and run the bases, one at a time. Unless you are the team’s last batter, then you get to run all four. All grounders are fired over to first base. I’m using the word “fired” pretty loosely.

   This age group is fun to watch, there is absolutely no pressure and the amount of coaching happening is slim at best. In the event a batter doesn’t connect with the six or seven pitch selection, they wrap up their bat using a tee.

   Next up was Sonder on Saturday morning. Sonder is just three. He and his cousin are on the same team, which is a mix of little girls and boys. The parents are out on the field directing the youngsters. Sonder likes to have his mother at home plate when it is his turn to bat, as do quite a few other kids.

   The parents get their feet squared up and their hands in the correct positions. As the game goes on, the defense ends up with about 10 kids huddled around the pitcher’s mound. Luckily only a couple of kids were blasting the ball off the tee.

   This was the first time we’ve seen Sonder play. It’s pure entertainment. Kids are playing in the limestone, talking to each other and generally not paying a whole lot of attention to what is going on. It’s perfect!

   Saturday night we went to an Iowa Cubs game. Even though it wasn’t quite baseball weather, the ball park sounds, the food and drinks made for a fun night. Both boys watched a little bit of the game, up until the popcorn and cotton candy guys came around.

   The Iowa Cubs make a great family environment for all who attend. I’m a little disappointed I missed out on the free hot dogs and t-shirts being fired out of a cannon. Thankfully I didn’t show up on the Kiss Cam as Darcey was away buying some food and Dillon’s girlfriend was seated next to me.

   No foul balls came our way, but my daughter and Sullivan were walking past the Cubs dugout when the seventh inning ended and the first baseman fired her the last out, a great play by the Cubs SS and a great pick out of the dirt by the 1B. Yes, there was a nice dirt stain on that ball.

   The Cubs did lose a tight 3-2 decision and had a chance in the ninth to win it but it wasn’t meant to be. A couple of major leaguers were making rehab starts for Iowa, Clint Frazier and David Bote. Between the two of them they went 0-6. All in all is was a fun-filled baseball weekend!



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