Reno Aces inspected

While firing down some Spanish sparkling wines at a downtown wine bar one recent happy hour, talk among the patrons turned to baseball and our new Aces. Someone noted that the first pitch of that evening’s game against those toothy Beavers from Portland was about 10 minutes away, which prompted me to retire my glass and hit the sidewalk. Time to check out our swingin’ new ballpark!

The owners and city did a very nice job of it, firing up a handsome, gleaming, red brick new stadium on Second Street in a matter of months. Approaching from downtown, the first thing I noticed was that huge expanse of lawn in front of the place. The Aces, it would appear, made some sod company very happy indeed. The prices to the various seats are quite fair, with plenty of single-digit tickets to complement those $20 box seats. Actually, getting into the ball park was the breeze that it should have been, especially considering that attendance was probably gonna be a little thin on this cool, windy April night.

And Pacific Coast League schedule makers should take this into account for the future. April night games in Reno should be kept to a minimum, since the chances are pretty darn good that the weather will be akin to the notorious chill of San Fran’s Candlestick. One would hope those schedulers would put us out on the road for most of the first month of the season, then load us up with big fat homestands in July and August.

The first real pleasure you get from a baseball game is when you walk in and get that first view of the diamond. When your eyes take in that first jolt of the game’s emerald promise. There’s nothing else quite like it in sports. You don’t get that rush, for example, when you go to a basketball game. You don’t attend a boxing event and stop to admire the splendor of the ring upon first entrance. In baseball, though, you do get that. In baseball, you expect that. Aces Ballpark gives it to you. It’s almost as if that great wash of lush greenness upon your eye is the baseball’s way of saying, “Welcome to Fantasyland, pilgrim. Enjoy your escape. You’re here, you’re safe, and the world will be simple, pleasant, and completely comprehensible for the next three hours. No bewildering modern perplexities will trouble you in this place. Have a beer, have a dog. Get into the grand urban pastoral. Savor the sizzle of the pitcher’s fast ball as it sears the air, listen to the totally satisfying THWACK it makes as its motion through space is abruptly halted by the catcher’s glove, and thrill to the rich cracking of bat on ball as a batter makes solid contact with a pitch that dared to wander just a bit too much over the plate. This has been America’s favorite escape for the last 100 years, a retreat from the world that …”

Oops. Sorry. Didn’t mean to go all Ken Burns on ya.