It’s been about a month since the 2015 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, and of their top twenty-five selections, the Boston Red Sox have signed twenty-one as of this morning. Ten of these, including seventh overall pick outfielder Andrew Benintendi, will begin their professional baseball careers with the Class A Lowell Spinners, a short season team in the New York-Penn League.
Over the years the Spinners have been the first stop for dozens of future major league players, including current Red Sox players Jackie Bradley Jr, Clay Buckholtz, Justin Masterson, and Hanley Ramirez. Other familiar names like Kevin Youkalis, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jonathan Papelbon started there.
There is obviously no guarantee that anybody on the current roster will ever make it that far, but if they do my four year old can say that she saw them before they were stars.
Several times each summer I drag the teenager with me to our local minor league ballpark. Now that she has a boyfriend that drives my partner has been much less available, so I decided it was time to start teaching Alaina the joy of a night at the game.
I had no idea what to expect. We’ve been to fairs and other activities with large crowds, so I didn’t think that would intimidate her, but wasn’t sure how she would do sitting still and watching. We haven’t been to a movie theater yet, but I was encouraged by how well she did at her sister’s dance recital last month.
She loved it. She loved the crowds, the music, the lights, the food. We had so much fun that we ended up going back two nights later.
We took breaks in between innings to walk around and didn’t make it the entire nine innings before she got tired, but I was very impressed with how well she behaved both nights, taking just as much interest in the game itself as she did chit chatting with everybody in the vicinity. On entering the second night she immediately pointed out the area that I was supposed to go to if I got separated from her. Much like when I take her big sister, as long as there was a constant supply of different foods she was content.
The stadium itself, Senator Thomas J Dodd Memorial in Norwich, Connecticut, is a beautiful place to watch a game. Its been around since 1995, and is currently home to the Connecticut Tigers, a Detroit Tigers affiliate. Prior to the Tigers it was home to two AA teams that left seeking higher attendance. Last season the team set a franchise record with 78,118 fans, but that’s still pretty low compared to the other teams in the league. They recently reached a deal to stay in Norwich through the 2018 season and hopefully will stay beyond that.
That can only happen with the support of the community. I’m guilty myself of only going a few times a year, usually when the Red Sox affiliate is in town. Every time I leave saying that I should make more of an effort to go more often. Kayla now owes me a few bonding nights and Alaina is already asking when we can go back. I’ve circled several more games that I plan on attending, and hope to make this a regular family night road trip.
I should note that this is not a sponsored post, and I’m not affiliated in any way with either of the teams mentioned here, or Dodd Stadium itself. I’m just a dad with a blog that really enjoys baseball and bonding with his daughters.