Friday, June 1, 2012

San Rafael Pacifics minor league baseball a major hit

SAN RAFAEL – Given the fortunes of the North American League in the past few weeks, you would have thought San Rafael Pacifics’ president and general manager Mike Shapiro might have to scramble to even put on an a minor league baseball exhibition game tonight at refurbished Albert Field.

But finding two teams wasn’t a problem. Finding two condiments – ketchup and mustard – was.

Fortunately, the ketchup and mustard, an oversight in all the frantic confusion, were retrieved from the team’s office in time before curious patrons – eager for an alternative a form of family entertainment on a Friday night – filed into the historic downtown ballpark. What those fans discovered was a buzz in the ballpark not present in Albert Field for decades to go along with decent play, great food, cold beer and a real feel of what real minor league is all about.

The park’s chicken wire fence in the grandstand has been replaced by authentic baseball netting and the bleachers were adorned with fresh paint. The clubhouse shower has been converted into the managers/coaches office and there is plenty of up-close seating with tables along both foul lines.

Except for the fact the centerfielders were position on the dirt softball diamond on the far end of the park, the dress rehearsal for Monday night’s season opener looked major league minor league. Shapiro and the San Rafael Pacifics shook the bush leagues out of Albert Field.

Now the Pacifics will not play in T-shirts without numbers the next time they play and hopefully there will still in three other teams in their NBL division for the long haul. But what tonight’s exhibition game proved – to neighbors and naysayers – is minor league baseball in San Rafael can work.


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