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KeysToTheKingdom

Minor league baseball is a great way to rediscover America --- the real country, not the bizarre pressure-cooker that dominates many people's daily experience. At a couple of recent weekday evening games in Frederick, Maryland, a few thousand fans gather to witness the Keys play. The Frederick Keys are a Class A club, three steps down the food chain from the major league Baltimore Orioles. They're named for local hero Francis Scott Key, author of the US national anthem ("The Star Spangled Banner"); he's buried in the cemetery next door to the ballpark.

Some sights and sounds:

The pace of the game is slow, the weather warm, the crowd friendly, and the tickets cheap. Stadium food is pricey, but not when you consider it as part of the entertainment. All the seats are close enough to the field to see faces --- unlike mega-ballparks where the upper decks are at nosebleed altitudes and the diamond is distant enough to turn players into ants. The baseball is good, if unpredictable: one night the Keys are behind 9-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs, and rally to score three runs; the next night it's a slugfest of the opposite color and the Frederick boys wins 15-6. Not many errors on either side, just good, solidly hit balls and aggressive play. A lucky few from the team may move up to the AA level or beyond. Meanwhile, they're not making much money but they're having fun. So are the people in their audience.

Sunday, July 01, 2001 at 20:13:18 (EDT) = Datetag20010701

TopicPersonalHistory - TopicProfiles


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