Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

My favorite teacher when I was a kid, who played a big part in my love for baseball, and whom I still see every now and then, made a great comment to me a couple years ago (when I told him about a road trip in which my buddy Tom and I saw a Friday night Rancho Cucamonga Quakes game, drove all night to visit the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico when they opened Saturday morning, and then drove down to San Jose to see a San Jose Giants game that night.) He said "Major League Baseball is for fans of particular teams. Minor League Baseball is for fans of baseball."

He is absolutely right, and every time I go to a Quakes game I am reminded of that fact. First off, most of the players are in their late teens and early 20s and will probably never make it to the major leagues. You see an effort in their play that is unmatched. You will never see one of them jog to first on a ground ball like Manny Ramirez or scream at the heavens after recording one single out like Frankie Rodriguez. Second, the promotions are much better, whether it's giving away a free car wash to the dirtiest car in the parking lot (I saw that in Great Falls, Montana) or the $1 beer player, who causes grown men to sprint for the beer lines anytime he gets a hit.

And, of course, the price is nice. Last weekend I paid $90 for two tickets to the Angels-Yankees game, and we sat out beyond the left field foul pole. These seats, in the first row behind home plate, cost me $25 total. If you love baseball, or even if you find it mildy entertaining, you owe it to yourself to see a Quakes game on a summer evening.

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