Drive 50 miles in any direction this summer and you’ll likely be steps away from a minor league ballpark. You won’t see Pujols or A-Rod there, unless they’re rehabbing a high ankle sprain or the like, but you also won’t see a concession stand selling shrimp tempura rolls and $25 Budweisers. As James Earl Jones said in Field of Dreams, “Baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and what could be again.”
Save for Fenway, Wrigley and perhaps Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles, nowhere is that nostalgic itch scratched more satisfyingly than under a century-old grandstand at a minor league park, cold beer and hot dog in hand, watching a couple dozen young ballplayers chase a dream shared by just about every American boy who ever lived.