Barons vs. Smokies – Attended Game #4 (6/2/10)

Barons Baseball

Barons 7, Smokies 8

In early June, the 15th Annual Rickwood Classic returned to Birmingham, Alabama, as baseball fans celebrated Rickwood Field’s 100th birthday. That’s right, you read that correctly. 100 years! The hometown team Birmingham Barons, who are a Double-A affiliate for the Chicago White Sox took on the Chicago Cubs affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies.

Perhaps you remember how my dad and I made this classic ballpark pilgrimage last year as the Barons took on the Mississippi Braves (and lost, I might add). When we attended, we were well aware of the ballpark’s historical significance, but we didn’t know that we were witnessing its 99th year in existence. So, after the final out was made, we made a pact to return the next year to take part in the ballpark’s centennial. Only this time, we brought some company:

Outside Rickwood

As you can see from the above picture, my nephews Jackson and Andrew tagged along with us this time. The road trip took a bit longer than expected, so we didn’t arrive until a few innings into the game. When we arrived, we immediately fought our way through the crowd to the long lines at the concession stands. At first, we were in the wrong line, which cost us even more time and perhaps a good seat. However, once we got in the correct line, the wait was worth it since the hot dog (which is filled with sauerkraut) was mighty tasty. I was so hungry, I almost forgot to get a photo of it:

Rickwood dog

After we ate, we settled into our seats along the right field line and got ready for the bottom of the third inning. According to the nearly fully human operated scoreboard, the Barons were down by three runs as the Smokies scored five runs in the top of the 3rd. Still, it was early and anyone’s game.

Our seats

Above, you get an idea of the vantage point from our seats. Sure, we were a bit far from the action, but we were also covered which meant we were shaded from the harsh sun all day. I should note that seating at Rickwood is General Admission, which means first come, first serve. Unfortunately, since we arrived late to the park, we didn’t get choice seats. Still, our seats weren’t bad (an amazing seat in the Majors), only a bit far to get great photos with my zoom lens. However, I did manage to get some nice photos of the outfield:

Rickwood Outfield 2

Rickwood outfield

Here is a short video clip of the ballpark from our seats:

And video of the Barons nearly getting a single after the first baseman fumbles with the ball:

Later in the game, I ventured closer to the action to get some shots of the Barons at the plate. Here you can see the Barons sporting uniforms that mimic those worn back in 1910 when the ballpark opened:

Uni

And a Barons’ triple!

As for the game, the scoring would go back and forth. The Barons tied up the game in the 5th with three runs only to get behind again in the 7th when the Smokies posted up two more runs. The Barons would answer back with two runs themselves in the bottom of the 7th. The game would remind tied 7 – 7 throughout the nine innings, only to be broken by a home run in the 11th from the Smokies. The final innings were never dull, though, as the Barons threatened to score and win the game each inning. Perhaps, my dad and I are just bad luck for this Barons’ team?

After the 9th, a large section of the crowd left early, so we made our way to better seats behind home plate. Here was our vantage point from the 9th – 11th:

9th vanatage

Below, the Barons are intentional walked:

Despite the loss, the Barons gave the crowd of 9,448 a great game. That official number might not seem large compared to the 40,000 that show up for a Sox/Cubs major league game, but given the space limitations of the ancient park, this was surely close to a sell out.

After the game, the fans were allowed on to the field. Jackson and Andrew took the opportunity to get autographs and run around the bases:

Autographs

Below, Andrew slides into home and really does a number to his leg:

Above, Jackson holds his souvenir Barons baseball while Andrew sports the Barons cap and hold on to his mini baseball bat.

Baseball is a renewed love of mine. And while I know that my father doesn’t share the same passion as I do about America’s national past time, I’m touched that he makes the effort. Because like baseball, it’s more than a game. How glad I am that I got to spend the summer day with him and my nephews.

Us

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