Pair of minor league baseball tickets - $24
Parking - $8
Hotdogs, corn dog, chili cheese fries - $18
Spending time w/ my daughter - priceless
After a long week at work (sadly the work week isn't over yet) I met my wife and daughter @ Knights Stadium this evening to catch the home town Charlotte Knights (White Sox affiliate) take on the Wilkes-Barre Yankees in the last game of the series. My wife said our daughter didn't want to take a nap today so we weren't sure how well she would hold up. I am happy to say she was going strong into the 7th inning stretch...a good hour and a half past her normal bedtime!
Wow, did I really snap this action picture on my simple camera? The game was pretty good for the first few innings as both teams traded runs. I did recognize a seeing a few names on cardboard tonight. Dallas McPherson and Lastings Milledge were two that stood out.
Of course one of my daughter's favorite moments of the night is whenever the Knights mascot Homer the dragon would appear on the field. Tonight was Homer's birthday celebration so several other local mascots showed up to celebrate. The Winthrop Bulldog, Charlotte Motor Speedway's Lugnut, NBA's Charlotte Bobcats' Rufus, EHL's Charlotte Checkers' Chubby, NFL's Carolina Panthers' Sir Purr were a few in attendance.
Anytime the mascots showed up she would point at them. When they would leave the field she would wave bye bye and blow kisses. I believe she offered up her pacifier and a french fry a time or two as well!
If you read my post from a few days ago then you would probably know one of the reasons I picked this game to attend was for some free baseball cards. The first 1,000 kids were to get free cards. While I waited in the parking lot for my wife to arrive I started to get a little nervous that I wouldn't...I mean my daughter wouldn't get any of the cards as I saw kids running around outside the stadium everywhere. There was a whole mob of kids that sang the national anthem and what seemed to be bus load. Upon entering the stadium we were given our perforated strip of baseball cards. Sadly though they weren't the cards that were solicited in the e-mail I received earlier in the week. Where is my Cal Ripken Jr. Charlotte O's card?! At least one of the cards was good.
#1 Homer the dragon
#2 Harmon Killebrew
Wow, I never knew he played in Charlotte. He played 7 games in 1956 for the Charlotte Hornets, part of the Washington Senators.
There wasn't nearly as many kids at the field tonight as I thought so I was easily able to pick up a few extra sheets of these cards. If anyone is interested in either a strip of cards or one of the cards in particular let me know and I'm sure we can work something out.
In the back of the program was a page called Knights Knowledge. It was a neat little read as it shed some light on the history of baseball in Charlotte, North Carolina that I didn't know. In 1901 Charlotte joined the newly formed Virginia-North Carolina professional baseball league. In 1930 Charlotte became affiliated first with Boston and then Washington of the American League.
Baseball was in the city long before 1901 though. In the late 1890's, Charlotte was a popular destination for northern baseball teams to conduct their annual preseason training. 1901 saw the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup winners of 1900, the National League's Brooklyn Superbas, traveled to Charlotte to prepare their baseball club for the upcoming season.
In the 50's and 60's Charlotte became home to the Hornets - part of the Washington Senators (later the Minnesota Twins). Hall of famer and franchise star Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva ranted among the South Atlantic League leaders for the Hornets. During the 1970s and 1980s, the baseball club signed to become the AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The team changed their name to the Charlotte O's and hall of famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray made Charlotte their home team.
During the 90's and early 21st century, Charlotte continues to provide home for many of baseball's current stars and future hall of famers. 2010 World Series MVP Edger Renteria played in Charlotte for example. Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome both spent time in Charlotte when the club was part of the Cleveland Indians organization. The club is now the AAA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.
The only thing I don't remember what happened with minor league baseball is when did the tickets get so "expensive". $14 for the upper half of the lower level seems high to me. Then again I remember when general admission tickets were $5 or $6 and you could practically sit anywhere inside the stadium. It still was an awesome evening and I'm glad we had the chance to take it all in.