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Hagerstown Suns are a class (A) act worth supporting

April 29, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

Where were you Sunday afternoon?

I know there are more than 979 baseball fans in this region.

For a change, great weather adorned the area and the Suns were at home on Guaranteed Win Day.

One must be careful in choosing his words when he is new to the area without knowing the exact history of an individual or organization.

I don't know what the Suns have been like in the past. I only care to know what the present and future has in store.

Covering the Suns Sunday was my first venture inside Municipal Stadium. I do know it is old.

However, I will tell you I have been in far worse scenarios around Class A baseball. And I was not all that disheartened by the appearance of the stadium on the inside.

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I did not realize that left field is purely reminiscent of Yankee Stadium's old playing alignment. In the old days when the Yankees shared the stadium with the NFL's Giants, the football field stretched from home plate toward left centerfield. It was a nightmare for hitters driving the ball in the gap, a 400-foot out to the power alley.

"I think it's about 415 to the alley here," said Suns GM Kurt Landes.

I know for sure there aren't any Class A players that are going to reach that fence. If they do, they'll be promoted quickly.

Back to the crowd. Or lack of a crowd.

Other than the Suns losing in a well-played, enjoyable game, the only sad part about the day was the crowd. Or, again, a lack of one.

It may have been a day to do some gardening, cut the lawn, play some golf, wash the car or whatever.

I have to believe there are more baseball fans in this region. After all, more than 600,000 people live in this area and I am led to believe that baseball is one of the favorite sports of the year.

Even if you did not have a ticket purchased ahead of time, you must remember there are tickets available on game day. I am sure the Suns would gladly sell you a ticket prior to the first pitch of any given game.

I would have expected a generous portion of walk-up crowd support Sunday with the weather we were blessed to have. Perfect for baseball. Perfect to get a tan for a couple of hours. Perfect to take the kids at a more than reasonable expense and perfect for your favorite baseball beverage and food.

The Suns have a promotional calendar second to none throughout the season. It should wet your thirst on any given home date.

"Our promotions are not from a lack of effort," Landes said Sunday afternoon. "We're proud of the schedule."

I got a kick out of the enthusiasm for the "Cheeseburger Strikeout" promo. A member of the Suns staff picks out an opposing batter for the game and if he strikes out the fans in attendance get a freebie at a local restaurant.

Suns broadcaster Loren Foxx happened to pinpoint Savannah's Jason Conlisk, who was fanned by Matt Cain in the fourth inning, prompting a wide smile on Foxx's face. I do believe there is actual competition amongst the Suns staff involving those strikeouts.

It was good to meet Landes, a fellow Ohioan. He seems to have the enthusiasm a GM needs at the Class A level.

I know for sure, the next time the Suns are home on a Monday night and I'm not scheduled, I will be glad to buy a ticket or two and partake in the $10 feed-your-face promotion.




Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at koelble@herald-mail.com




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