While I wasn't getting married last month, I watched a little baseball, talked to some people, and combined my experiences and their words into an "article." Apparently, it's called "sports-writing," and it's something that people publish in certain places. One of those places is The Classical Magazine, which you should purchase posthaste for your various mobile devices. It is a beautiful little app, full of smart writing about the enchanting nature of sportsliness. Despite all that, they agreed to publish my blather.
Here's the lede, for free!
Two hours before first pitch, Brad Tammen combs his stadium for peanut shells. He sees one wedged into a seatback, and points it out to a staff member, who pries the stubborn, seemingly-fossilized shell out with his fingernail.
"I swear, I thought we had every one of them," says the general manager of the Nashville Sounds. It's peanut-free night at Herschel Greer Stadium, which means no peanuts, cracker jacks, or (oddly) Dippin' Dots. Tammen has faith in his grounds crew getting the stadium clean. He's worried about the sky. "I don't need another thunderstorm," he says. "We don't need any more rain."
Greer Stadium is the third-oldest AAA ballpark in the country, and does not stand up well to rain. On a gray afternoon, its seats are rusty, its concourses spotted with puddles that seem decades old. Today there is a leak in the front office roof, and the famous guitar-shaped scoreboard is, as always after a heavy rain, only partially operational. But the field is spitshine perfect, and Tammen sounds like the proud captain of an aging diesel sub when he calls it, "the best playing surface in the Pacific Coast League."
Because excellent grass is not, by itself, enough to draw a crowd, the Sounds have been agitating for a new stadium for a decade. But just as Nashville finds itself on the upswing, plans for relocation have stalled out. The Milwaukee Brewers have been "patient," Tammen says, in their wait for a new AAA facility, but there's no evidence that patience extends past their current two-year agreement with the team.
This leaves Tammen, who will give a speech at this year's winter meetings about "how to make the best of an old ballpark," in limbo—patching leaks and fixing seats, but holding off on major renovations in hopes that a new stadium is on its way. As it turns out, limbo is an excellent, or at least fascinating, place for a ballpark. Greer Stadium's concourses are cramped, damp, and lit by eerie fluorescents; concessions are limited to burgers, hot dogs, and—most nights—peanuts. There are no amenities but cold beer, green grass, and cheap tickets. Its problems are plain enough, but Greer Stadium is one of the finest minor league parks in the country, precisely because it is good for absolutely nothing at all but watching baseball.
There are about 3,300 words after that, each one better than the last! Devour them now, you insatiable word addict. Devour them!