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Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Augusta GreenJackets

Augusta has an old stadium. That's not to say it is a bad stadium. In fact, in an era of soulless new stadiums which all look and feel exactly the same Augusta's stadium feels kinda retro-chic. So, of course, the Augusta GreenJackets are trying to build themselves a soulless new stadium. It's a shame because Augusta really doesn't need a new stadium like some places (I'm looking at you Potomac), but of course, it has to jump over that cliff just like all the other lemmings.

The staff was friendly, the mascot was a yellow jacket wearing a green jacket, and the crowd was having a lot of fun.If you don't understand the "green jacket" reference (I kid you not, one guy actually said to me "But there aren't any greenjackets."), go find a buddy who is into golf and ask him. The only flaw I found in the entire place was the souvenir shop. It was rather anemic and if you're looking for something other than hats you may be a little disappointed. Specifically, I collect both pennants and baseballs with the team logo. Both are common staples of souvenir shops and the Augusta GreenJackets shop had neither. They had miniature footballs with the team's logo and league baseballs, but no team logo baseballs. They had a pennant on display, but none for sale (it was a pennant they give away for free every so often). The lady working in the shop was as helpful as she could be. She told me the next time the pennant would be given away and pointed me to the baseballs with the league logo, but she couldn't actually overcome the shortfalls of whomever their purchasing agent is. C'mon guys, pennants and baseballs don't spoil with age. They're just as durable and salable as those foam fingers and miniature bats you had. And you cannot tell me that league logo baseballs sell better than baseballs with your own logo would. What the heck am I supposed to put in my "these are the teams I saw this year" baseball case? A mushy ball? C'mon.

Anyway, now that I've finished my min-rant, the game itself was fun to watch and the crowd was live. Because the stadium was a classic metal one, they were stomping like madmen and the noise was intense. And, unlike most American crowds which stop once the batter settles in, they kept going, cheering, jeering, and stomping while opposing players were at bat or pitching. I loved it and wish more American crowds were as in to it as this.

As for the game itself, in the third inning an error by (prospect) SS Lucius Fox, a passed ball, and a wild pitch put a Greensboro Grasshopper on third so that a simple ground out allowed him to score. In the 4th inning the Grasshoppers got another run across the plate with a bunch of singles and the GreenJackets answered with a bunch of singles and a ground rule double to score four of their own. Unfortunately, after the 4th the Grasshoppers took solid control of the game. In the 5th, the Grasshoppers got two runs on an error and then in the 6th the Grasshoppers used a bunch of singles to get two more runs across the plate. Final score GreenJackets 4 - Grasshoppers 6.

All-in-all, a very pleasant experience with a live, loyal crowd at a fun stadium. It's an experience worth having and I'd advise you to go now before it gets moved to just another generic, interchangeable minor league park.

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