BASEBALL FOR NERDS: CLEARWATER THRESHERS IN FORT MYERS

For someone who grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania and currently lives in Los Angeles, I get down to Florida quite a bit. People often say that the Sunshine State is a sports wasteland, and although that’s true to a point, there’s some exciting things going on in America’s graveyard. Like minor league baseball. They have this cute little league down there called the Florida State League. Creative, right?

One of the teams happens to be the high-A affiliate of the Phillies, and that team, the Clearwater Threshers, just happened to be playing in Fort Myers at Hammond Stadium when I was visiting last May.

missin’ you, J. Singleton

There had been a lot of rain that week, which pushed Saturday’s game to Sunday, giving me an opportunity to see a doubleheader for like $7 or whatever. But being that it was late May, when it wasn’t raining the humidity was miserable and the sun was blinding. Perfect day for two ballgames in the bleachers!

My family left after the first game, but I was determined to stay until the end. Although I eventually made it and survived, I questioned my own mental well-being, and wondered if this was the type of sunburn that would scar. It was so damn humid that each and every time I moved it, resulted in mass sweating. Hell, I didn’t even get a beer! I only remember three things from the game (should of took notes!): getting Brian Gump and Sebastian Valle to sign a baseball, Jonathan Singleton’s RBI double in the second game, and sort of obnoxiously yelling “The Rell King James” at Jiwan James (I was delirious, get over it).

Much more than with MLB, I’ve met some of the oddest folks at minor league games, and I’ve been exposed to some awful weather – whether it’s extreme cold and wind or temperatures of well over 100 degrees. But that’s probably part of why such an odd cast comes out to MiLB games. There’s always a weird mix of townies, families, and baseball nerds, and although I fall into the latter group, I can fully appreciate the culture that surrounds the farm teams.

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