One of the benefits of writing this blog is that when I travel to cities that support professional baseball teams I have a high likelihood of knowing players on one or more of the rosters. When you write about the Cape Cod Baseball League long enough, you are going to know a few pros and Big Leaguers. That was true last night in Memphis where the St. Louis Cardinals’ Redbirds beat the LA Dodgers’ Albuquerque Isotopes. I remembered the Redbirds' Mark Hamilton from his time on the Cape with the Falmouth Commodores. He was one of many for Falmouth to come out of Tulane. The first baseman is struggling a bit this season at the plate but it's great for me to see kids on Cape fields and then suddenly on pro fields.
Autozone Park in Memphis might be the finest field I've visited. It is intimate, quaint, convenient, comfortable. You name it. Maybe it was the warm, low humidity night or maybe it was the gorgeous views that blend old and new Memphis in the outfield. It was a magical experience.
I walked from my hotel to the downtown ballpark. The concessions are excellent and the seating very comfortable. More importantly, the quality of baseball at the Triple-A level is very high. I watched two lefties battle, but mostly just enjoyed the fine May weather, sipping a local Ghost River beer and a dog.
Memphis is a fascinating city. It has the culture of the Mississippi Delta, the fun and light spirit of New Orleans and the entrepreneurial edge of Atlanta or Charlotte. I could get used to this.
Tomorrow it's back to Seattle and soon we will be watching Cape League baseball again.