Idaho’s Magic Valley Needs More Baseball
Two legendary New York Yankees played minor league ball in Twin Falls. Gil McDougald left Twin Falls and eventually played second base for the Yankees in the 1950s. It was perhaps the greatest dynasty in the already storied history of the franchise. His brilliant career was cut short when he lost his hearing.
Two decades after McDougald left Twin Falls, Mickey Rivers played here for the Cowboys. He went on to star for the great Yankees teams of the late 1970s. Rivers had speed! So did a son who shared his name. I covered a minor league club in the late 1980s and Mickey, Jr., could burn a base path. He never had quite the same success as his father.
We May Not See Much Baseball This Spring
Major League Baseball is facing a prolonged lockout in the spring. The biggest losers will be the fans. Baseball is a game designed to slow down our fast pace of life (unless you’re named Rivers!). I’ve sat in parks from Philadelphia to Washington and Baltimore. I’ve been to dozens of minor league stadiums and the experience is always the same. I’ve worn a winter coat to watch games early in the season at Citizens Bank Park and at the old War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo. The latter was where most of the action scenes were filmed for the Natural. I felt a gentle breeze come off a harbor as I watched the sunset at Camden Yards. I got sunburned one sweltering summer day at Nationals Park while seated just behind the visitor’s dugout.
Those are many of the things the game means to me. I saw Cole Hamels and Stephen Strasburg in a pitching duel so grand the game ended in under two hours and 45 minutes.
Baseball and Twin Falls are a Good Marriage
Twin Falls needs baseball. There are some hurdles. The biggest proponent of bringing a team here has retired from politics. Stadiums, even small ones, are costly. Major League Baseball doesn’t want expensive young talent playing among the cow pies. Affiliates need to follow strict guidelines.
Finally, the minor leagues have contracted. There’s fierce competition for ball clubs. A few years ago, Helena, Montana lost its team to a much larger city in Colorado.
Minor league ball is a great substitute if the big leagues are delayed. It’s just not going to be easy to find a game.
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