Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

baseballThe long range forecast calls for a chance of early morning rain and a cloudy afternoon.  But 57 degrees around these parts in April is not too bad.  And if you are a die-hard, must attend, avid Chief’s fan, then rain or shine, snow or sleet, you will be at Opening Day, April 12, 2013, at 2 PM. When the Lehigh Valley  Iron Pigs come to town next week, there will be no cloudy skies, just pure baseball joy for those who’ve been waiting all winter, glove in hand, and noses pressed to spring training reports.

The Syracuse Chiefs are a minor league baseball team in the International League  and the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.  Syracuse has fielded a team since 1877, originally as the Syracuse Stars, and over time served as the Triple-A affiliate for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Toronto Blue Jays.  Playing at one time in what was formerly Municipal Stadium in 1937, and renamed MacArthur Stadium in 1942, the old stadium was known  for “having one of the deepest center field fences in minor league baseball, 434 feet, and no ball cleared that fence until 1971, with Richie Zisk being the first player to accomplish that feat.”

MacArthur Stadium was razed in 1997 to provide a parking lot for the newly-built P&C Stadium, which became Alliance Bank Stadium and now, as of March 2013, NBT Bank Stadium.  Long time fans recalled the flavor of MacArthur Stadium, not seen in today’s modern parks.  And for fans of minor league baseball, it’s not just about the pennant races and steroid busting salaries of major league baseball  — it’s about the being there, skipping a day of work or school, watching the young talent, shivering with both opening day excitement and cold.  It’s about the pure game, and the pure love of it.

Spoiler alert:  the Chiefs stuck the Iron Pigs with a 11-2 loss on Lehigh’s opening day, last night.  Go Chiefs!  Send us your pictures or memories of your favorite Opening Day.

 

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