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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Mobile BayBears

Take a rookie league stadium, put it on the surface of the Sun, add about 95% humidity, and cram a AA team into it and you have the Mobile BayBears during a mid-day game. The day I went to Hank Aaron Stadium the game started at 11:05. It was in the mid-80's although intermittent breezes brought occasional relief. In the stadium proper there was no shade unless you were in the very top rows (which were occupied by several high & middle schools on field trips) or you had seating down on the ground level which was reserved boxes with their seats in front of them. This is the worst AA stadium I've seen and it hovers somewhere along the line between single-A and rookie league stadiums. In fact, I've seen a rookie league stadium which is better than this (the Greeneville Astos). In case you cannot tell, I was deeply unimpressed.

In fact, the only things that impressed me were the name of the stadium and the fact that in the concourse they had old seating from various MLB stadiums including the stadium the Milwaukee Braves played in, the field which preceded Turner Field in Atlanta, and Wrigley (who knows why).

The Game: The BayBears took a brief lead in the 2nd inning with a 2 run homer, but then the Tennessee Smokies took control and just slaughtered them. By the end of the game it was 11-2 in favor of the Smokies and both teams limped off the field exhausted. The Smokies at least were wearing the (gawdawfulfugly) light Cubs blue uniform, but the BayBears were wearing dark blue uniforms with dark blue hats. What ever happened to home wears white? They must not have any light colored uniforms because if you ever wore them you would for a boiling hot and humid mid-day game. I never saw a player from either team not try, but by the 4th inning nobody on that field was moving if they did not have to and every time they had to run you'd see the a player afterward standing there miserable, looking like he was desperately trying to just breathe and stand still for a few seconds so his body could cool enough that he wouldn't fall over. By about the 7th inning, after I'd mostly adjusted to the heat and 95% humidity, I started feeling a bit like a vulture who was watching to see which player would be the first one to keel over.

Look, I'm sure that for a nighttime game this stadium is perfectly adequate and there's nothing that a better stadium could do about the heat and humidity of a mid-day game in Mobile. However, there's little good that I can say about my experience here. The staff was friendly enough. Whoever was in the mascot costume was a true champion to stay in that thing through the game. The girls trying to run games between innings gave a great effort although I think they almost gave some little four year old girl heat stroke when they had her race the mascot around the bases. The stadium has a cool name. And that's pretty much all the complimentary stuff I can come up with.

Next stop . . . Pensacola

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