Nothing against the Dragons or the Reds, but area fans don’t have to head to Dayton or Cincinnati to find quality baseball. They only have to drive over to Grady’s Field, on the Athletes In Action Sports Complex just off Detroit Road, to watch Xenia’s team — the Xenia Scouts, of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate Baseball League.
I’ve covered a few of their games this season, and I’ve yet to sit through a snoozer of a game. You know, the ones where nobody scores and every at-bat seems to roll along at a snail’s pace? Sure, it might happen at a Scouts game some day. But I haven’t seen a boring game there yet.
This is a team that manufactures runs with hustle, speed, solid pitching and defensive prowess.
Whether it’s a Scouts player running his tail off to beat out the throw to first for an infield hit, or it’s the Xenia infielders turning a double play, or having one of the team’s pitchers make an opposing batter look silly, Xenia Scouts baseball is an exciting way to spend a Summer day.
Just this past Wednesday, the Scouts tossed their first no-hitter in team history! They’re currently in second place in the league standings.
And you won’t find a nicer ball park in the league. Grady’s Field probably can comfortably host 500 fans for a game, and there’s not a bad seat in the place.
Recently, when plans fell through to hold the league All-Star Game at Ohio State University in Columbus, league officials chose Xenia’s Grady’s Field to be the host site for the July 16th contest. You can expect several Major League scouts to be on hand for that game.
I sat through a lightning delay the other day, and didn’t get wet. While a little bit of drizzle got the seats on the extreme sides of the stadium a little bit wet, the rest of the seats are under a roof! So not only do fans stay dry when it rains, they don’t get parched by the sun for the afternoon contests, either.
The team is coached by former Minnesota Twins second baseman Bobby Randall, who seems to truly love working with the college players. Randall said he was concerned about whether the college kids would treat the GLSCBL season as something they’d just enjoy doing over the summer, or whether they’d want to learn to improve their games and play hard.
He’s got a team full of hard working players who are having fun, but playing hard. Randall couldn’t ask for anything more.
But what Randall and the rest of the Scouts organization could ask for is this…. MORE FANS!
Of the eight league teams that report their attendance figures (the only one not reporting is last-place Lexington), Xenia ranks dead last with 1,055 fans so far this season.
In comparison, the fifth-place Southern Ohio Copperheads, who play their games at Ohio University in Athens, average 815 fans per home game.
Xenia claims to average 75 fans a game, but I have yet to see that many fans in the stadium seats. I suspect Scouts officials are counting players in both dugouts, both teams’ supporting staff, and perhaps anyone who has glanced at the stadium or driven through the Athletes In Action complex on that particular day.
You have top-quality baseball from some of the top players in college baseball. One of the nicest stadiums in the league. A great concession stand. Free parking and admission.
… And we can only draw 40 or so fans to a baseball game?
C’mon, man! The Greene County area can do better than that.
On Sunday, the Scouts will host the Lima Locos for an afternoon doubleheader. The first game is at 2 p.m. with Game 2 set to follow about a half hour or so later.
It’s our chance to show the Xenia Scouts that we’re behind them and that we appreciate the effort they’ve given us this season.
Get rowdy! Cheer ‘em on! Be respectful of your fellow fans, but have a good time cheering on your Xenia Scouts.
I’ll be there. I hope that you will be, too.