Mike and I went to The Joe to see the Riverdogs play the Braves farm team on Tuesday night. We got tickets from where he works and the seats were AMAZING! We were right behind the dugout for the opposing team, the third base line. The seats were SWEET!
The ballpark is so beautiful, it really blows away the old ballpark that was on Rutledge Avenue. I have to admit to having sentimental feelings about the old College Park. My daddy used to take me to the baseball games with him there. He had a man that worked with him on the Navy Base to make us some seat cushions! We always sat in the bleachers on the first base line, right behind the on deck circle. We sat on the bottom row, that made us level with the field. At that park, if you sat in the reserved box seats, you were inches away from the on deck batter! :) We went to a lot of games at that old place.
The year the Charleston Royals won it all, 1980, we didn't miss more than a handful of games. We got to know everyone around the park. Half the time the guys at the gate let us in for free. My daddy was such a friendly guy, I think I learned my people skills from him. He taught me all about baseball, that's for sure! That year was magical. It was also the year I turned 16. You would think the last place a 16 year old girl would want to be is at the ballpark with her daddy!
We had a great time. We took my dad's old Baby Blue Ford Falcon that was a year older than me and chanced parking in the lot right next to the park. The car only got hit a couple of times with a ball, never broke a windshield though! :) We always walked across the street to the parking lot of the laundromat and bought boiled peanuts to take in to the game. We would buy us a coke on our way to our seats and we were all set!
When I got my first big girl job, I bought my dad box seats and had his name put on the back of them! :) He was too cute. He loved it. I felt like it came full circle a bit. We enjoyed the games just as much when I was 23 as we did when I was 5.
All those memories flood back to me everytime I watch a minor league game. The new park is impressive, but it does lack the character and the characters of the old park. There were always the old guys who sat behind home plate. They could tell you every name of every ballplayer that had made his way from the SALLY league to the show. They knew who hit what and why. They were always sweet to me when I was a little girl. They got a kick out of my dad bringing a little girl to the game. They chided us if we missed a game, all in good fun. Mayor Riley brought his two little boys to a lot of games at that park too. They sat up in the bleachers behind us a little, he was always very sociable.
Just down to our right sat Mrs. Betty. She was a rather large lady with big blond hair. She never missed a game. In fact during the playoffs, her car was broken and my dad and I went to her house to give her a ride to the game. Her husband picked her up! She had a daughter older than me by a few years named Shelby. They lived off of Dorchester Road near the hotel where all the visiting ball team stayed.
Mike and I had a great time at the game. The fireworks were spectacular. Our seats were in the perfect spot to see the show. It made me a little teary eyed. While the sky was lit up, I remembered all the fireworks I had watched as a kid with my daddy holding my hand at the ballpark. I sure do miss him. I like to think that heand my momma had the best seat in the house to see the show and this time I was holding the hand of my husband. That all made sense to me somehow.
Hope you all had a great 4th of July. I am glad people are patriotic on the fourth, I just wish they would remember to be patriotic all year long! God Bless America......indeed.