Last night Jamie and Kris Mitchell took us to see the Lancaster Barnstormers play what turned out to the deciding game in the Atlantic League playoffs. Several years ago some farsighted businessmen banded together to bring minor league baseball to Lancaster. With help from the state and funding from private sources, they built a beautiful $40 million stadium in the heart of downtown Lancaster. Jamie told me that he and a few other men from the church pitched in to buy four season tickets located five rows behind the Barnstormers dugout. He and Kris go to most of the home games during the summer, usually bringing another couple from the church with them.
In many ways minor league baseball is more fun than watching a major league game. Jamie (who hails from New York and is a die-hard Yankees fan. He already has tickets for Game 2 and Game 7 of the World Series.) pointed out that it costs a family of four $500 to go to a Yankees game. Since parking for the Barnstormers is free, and the tickets cost an average of $7-10, a family of four can go to the game for $60, depending on how much you spend on concessions, souvenirs, etc.
The stadium seats 6000, but last night over 6500 crowded in for the game. Almost everyone wore red and waved white towels. The Barnstormers broke on top with a run in the first inning. They added four more and then cruised to a 5-2 victory. Judging from the celebration on the field and in the stands, you would have thought they won the World Series instead of the Atlantic League championship. These teams are all unaffiliated, which means that most of the players will never make the major leagues. But that didn’t matter last night. Jamie kept up a steady commentary all night … “That’s a can of corn” … “Throw the high heat” … “That’s trouble” … “We won it all tonight!”
Until this weekend I had never even heard of the Lancaster Barnstormers, but by the end of the game, I felt like a lifetime fan. As we walked back to the car, I yelled, “Go Barnstormers!” and people behind us started singing, “We Are the Champions.” It was a beautiful moment.