Last night was the last home game of the season for the Greenville Drive, the local class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. You might be wondering what kind of name The Drive is for a sports team, but I couldn't tell you. Lots of people in Greenville wanted to name the team the Greenville Joes in honor of Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was from the Greenville area, but whoever is in charge of such things at MLB wouldn't hear of it. The controversy, et cetera. I digress.
The total experience of watching a Drive game at Fluor Field in the West End of downtown Greenville is sublime. The field itself is only five years old, and it's modeled after Fenway, with its own Green Monster and everything. From the bar-top tables at the 500 Club, where we like to eat dinner, you can see not only the ballgame, but the Greenville skyline and Paris Mountain. Okay, the 500 Club makes most excellent fried pickles, just so you know.
When the weather is right, as it was last night--not too hot or humid--the evening air is soft on your skin. Greenville supports its team, so, even on a Tuesday night, there was a respectable crowd. The mascot is a big green frog named Reedy Rip'It (in honor of the Reedy River, which flows through downtown), and he along with a few cheerleaders kept the fans entertained and engaged. Okay, I love singing Sweet Caroline with a stadium full of people.
There was a bench-clearing altercation at the bottom of the fifth due to some unfortunate comments made regarding a play at home plate. This led to led to chest-bumping, then a full-fledged brawl. No one was hurt, but two players on each team were ejected, and the game was delayed for fifteen minutes while the officials sorted out who was getting tossed. We were sitting just to the left of home plate, and had ringside seats.
Anyway, the whole package is just fun. Big League games are fun, too, of course. But something about the scale of a single A game is just more accessible to me--more intimate. And at $9 a pop for box seats, we can go whenever we feel like it. We sang, and cheered ourselves hoarse. It was a blast.
Despite all the singing and cheering--not to mention a bottom of the ninth war party, complete with an aboriginal war dance by one of the pep team members in a grass skirt--The Drive lost last night. The South Atlantic League Championship series is tied at one game each, and moves to Lakewood New Jersey for games 3-5.
But it was a fun way to spend the evening.