The Grizzlies play in the Frontier League, an independent minor league baseball league. I've seen the River City Rascals, another Frontier League team that plays in O'Fallon Missouri, but this was my first Grizzlies game. Last night was the first game of a series against the Oakland County (Michigan) Cruisers. The Grizzlies are currently third in their division, with a record of 41-33. The Cruisers are first in their division, but their record is 45-31, so it looked like the teams would be well-matched.
We arrived just as the gates were opening. After scoping things out, we went to get our food. Our vouchers entitled us to two of "Baseball's Best" food items and two bags of potato chips. The dedicated Groupon food line was very short, and it only took a couple of minutes to place our order. We had three choices for our "Baseball’s Best" food items:
- A hot dog topped with bacon, onions, sauerkraut and cheese sauce.
- Tri-colored tortilla chip nachos topped with Philly beef, roasted onions and peppers, and Monterrey Jack cheese sauce. (These were featured on the Travel Channel's show Man vs. Food. Adam Richman, the host, honored them with a second-place position on his list of favorite baseball foods).
- A hamburger with a unique twist--a quarter pound patty with cheddar cheese and bacon between a sliced Krispy Kreme donut. (Also featured on Chowdown Countdown, a Travel Channel show.)
After we ate we found our seats, which were in the first row of a section immediately behind the Grizzlies dugout. Only a short cinder-block wall separated us from the athletes. Before the game, a parade of kids came up to the wall to ask the players for autographs. Once the game started the pitching staff sat on a bench right in front of us. The first row of seats were at field level, so I had a hard time seeing over the players; we moved back a row and I had a much better view.
Independent league baseball is quite different from its major-league counterpart. Between each inning there was some kind of promotion. The craziest involved two pairs of children who ran the bases in a three-legged race, using pairs of giant tighty-whities with the team logo on the back. The team mascot Izzy the Grizzlie threw out swag to fans a couple of times, and there was a kids parade through the stadium concourse. Another promotion, which went on for most of the game, was a 50/50 raffle. They gave away $450, and their portion of the money went to support the players on road trips.
We left at the top of the ninth inning, but listened to the game on the radio as we drove away. The Grizzlies ended up winning 9-3. All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening.