Getting My Fix

Researchers say that each of us has a unique pain threshold which describes the amount of pain we can endure before it becomes unbearable and we seek medical attention. My physical pain threshold is relatively high. While I was playing ball I had a collision as a base runner where I collided with the first baseman breaking my wrist in 2 places and breaking the first baseman’s leg. He was carried off the field on a stretcher and I stayed in the game and played to finish that game and play the second game of the double header. Once the games concluded I went to the hospital to have my wrist set and cast for eight weeks. Given that experience I thought I was prepared to handle any amount of pain thrown in my direction but I wasn’t prepared for the idea of being without baseball for 15 days during the season without an opportunity to even see a game on television.

There was absolutely no way I was going to be able to endure this entire vacation without watching or going to at least one game. Even if it meant finding a local Little League game I was definitely going to need to find baseball somewhere. It was not just for my benefit that I needed to do this either. It was obvious I was driving Trina and the kids crazy with my daily diatribe of what was wrong with Major League Baseball and their lack of fan compassion for out of market fans. It was unanimous that dad needed to find some baseball somewhere even if it meant driving for hours. Fortunately for us there is Minor League Baseball. Within this area is the Pioneer League which is a Class-A Rookie Short Season league that was established in 1939. There are currently eight teams in the league divided into a North and South division. The North division includes the Great Falls (Montana) White Sox, Helena (Montana) Brewers, Billings (Montana) Mustangs, and Missoula (Montana) Osprey. These are the affiliates of the Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, and Arizona Diamondbacks respectively. The south division is made up of the Idaho Falls (Idaho) Chukars, Ogden (Utah) Raptors, Orem (Utah) Owlz, and Casper (Wyoming) Rockies. These are the affiliates of the Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Colorado Rockies respectively.

I really wanted to take in a Missoula Osprey game just to see the young future Diamondbacks. Unfortunately the Osprey like the Diamondbacks were on a road trip. They were in Great Falls playing the White Sox (the ones from Great Falls not the ones from Chicago). A trip to Great Falls from where we are would be 728.32 miles according to MapQuest and would take approximately 10 hours 6 minutes round trip. I may be dedicated to baseball but even I am not that crazy. Ok, I am that crazy but no one else would go with me and I thought I might feel bad if I left Trina and the kids stranded in this technology wasteland and went for a day to see a ballgame. Instead I figured given my condition baseball was baseball so I did something I never thought I would do in my life. I went to a game between the Kansas City Royals affiliate and the Colorado Rockies affiliate. I had no idea what to expect. The Idaho Falls Chukars just recently opened a new stadium named Melaleuca Field. I have to admit I was somewhat impressed. It was reminiscent of some of the spring training facilities in the Cactus League. The stadium holds roughly 4,000 fans and this night they had 3,314 in attendance to see the Chukars beat the Rockies by a score of 2-0. It was a slightly ugly game with the Rockies committing 3 errors and the quality of play was not exactly major league material but nonetheless it was a lot of fun. The stadium did remind me a little of home as the stadium features a hot tub in the stands. It’s no Leslie’s Pool Zone but it was still fun to see. Oh by the way, a Chukar is an upland game bird from the pheasant family and is at home in the dry, open hilly country. So not only was it a baseball game but also an ornithology lesson. Baseball should be a required subject in school, you just never know what you might learn at a game.

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