Bell Field in North Alexander Park, Faribault, Minnesota.
God is great, beer is good and people are crazy.
On Sunday afternoon at Bell Field in Faribault, the faithful—some drinking beer, some not—gathered to watch the Faribault Lakers take on the Montgomery Mallards as the preacher pitched and music blared mostly catchy country lyrics. Like Billy Currington’s tune about God and beer.
Fencing and netting obscured my view of the field. But I was thankful for both to keep me safe.
I sat in the stands, taking it all in, more interested in people watching and the setting than the game. I’ve never pretended to be a fan of any sports. But I’ve wanted to attend a local Minnesota Baseball Association game this summer simply for the experience.
Father and son bond at the ball game.
So when my nephew phoned and invited my husband to join him at the ballpark along with his 3-year-old son, I tagged along.
The roofed grandstand keeps fans cool.
Admittedly, the high heat and humidity concerned me. To my relief, the roofed stadium provided shade and the wind breezed like a fan on low speed.
Matt Lane in pitching mode for the Faribault Lakers.
A later shot of Lane also pitching with focus and determination.
Lane’s pitch speeds toward the batter.
Sharing a can of icy beer with Randy, I turned my attention to the field where the Rev. Matt Lane stood at the pitcher’s mound, focused and ready to crank up a pitch.
A number one supporter of the Lakers’ pitcher, the reverend’s little girl.
To my left, his family and friends clustered, Lane’s preschool daughter in a blue shirt imprinted with her daddy’s surname. Lane, associate pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Faribault, played college baseball and three years in the minor league.
A Montgomery Mallard races toward home…
…then slides into home plate.
I tried to follow the game. But I had a difficult time tracking the fast-moving baseball and anticipating the action. I’ll never be a sports photographer. I get too distracted by nuances like the violent throw of the bat by a batter who’s just struck out or by concern about the runner lying on the field, his pride, not his body, injured.
On either side of the announcer’s box, I saw barn swallows swoop under the roof.
Other details also garnered my attention such as sparrows nibbling dropped popcorn, teenage girls licking red suckers, barn swallows swooping under the roofline, the thunk of a pop-up ball slamming the metal roof, a boy roaring a toy car across bleacher seats, Elton John belting Crocodile Rock (one of my favorite 70s songs) over the ballpark loudspeaker, kids wrangling behind the Mallards’ dug-out for a foul ball knowing they’ll get a free Freezee pop for returning the ball…
My great nephew watched the game for awhile and then got distracted by whatever distracts a 3-year-old.
Just in case a ball came our direction…and a ball to play with.
The score wasn’t looking too good as the game moved in to the final innings.
I was distracted, too, by my adorable great nephew dwarfed in his Minnesota Twins shirt and red Elk River baseball cap. Landon soon joined the Lane kid crew in tossing and chasing a ball, enough busyness—along with munching popcorn and sharing Skittles—to keep him content to the bottom of the seventh inning. By then, the Lakers trailed far behind the Mallards, eventually losing 10 -2 in a regional play-off game.
Heading back to our vehicle in the parking lot, I stopped to photograph this pick-up from an area dairy farm.
As the eighth inning began, some fans left and we soon joined them. Will I attend a local baseball game again? Maybe. But next time I’d like to check out the Dundas Dukes.
Batter up for the Faribault Lakers.
And the batter swings.
The Montgomery Mallards dug-out.
My great nephew watched the game for awhile.
I had no clue what any of the ump’s hand signals meant.
I always appreciate an iconic scene of fans in the stands.
© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling