Many of you won’t have a clue of what I’m about to talk about. And that’s exactly the point I’m trying to make.
Another season of Xenia Scouts baseball has come and gone. Some of the country’s best college baseball players have rounded the bases on Grady’s Field, and not many people from around here seemed to notice.
In every game I’ve covered, the number of players and support staff has been higher than the number of spectators in the seats. And of those spectators, I’m guessing more than half of that number is comprised of the players’ families or host families.
It wasn’t that the ticket prices were too high. The games are free.
Parking is never a problem.
What was it? Are the players not “big” enough for Xenia? There’s no high-dollar player contracts or the egos that often go with them. You’re not getting gouged by a stadium tax, and the franchise isn’t threatening to leave if you don’t give them a better one.
These are college baseball players who truly love playing the game, who play their hearts out … even when a third of their roster ends up on crutches or in a hospital bed.
A couple seasons ago, the Scouts won the South Division of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. That’s the Major League Baseball supported league in which they play, considered one of the best collegiate summer leagues in the nation.
This season, the Scouts won 10 games all season.
During a good season, and this most recent bad one, attendance for both was comparatively the same.
Parents, are you looking for a fun and inexpensive way for the family to enjoy a night out together? Couples, want a relaxing and fun date night locale?
Go see a Scouts game.
Sometimes, the game organizers will bring everybody onto the field to show a family-friendly movie on a big screen after a game. Other times, Scouts staffers have held fun events for the kids to participate in between innings.
Even when it rains on Grady’s Field, the artificial turf surface has an amazing drainage system underneath that quickly carries the drops away. In my five years of covering Scouts games, I can recall just one rained out contest, and that was more because of dangerous lightning than the rain itself.
Does the Athletes In Action organization do a good job of promoting the team? No.
Then again, why spend the time, money and effort of bringing fans to the game when they know they’re going to play the game any way?
The faith-based organization isn’t fielding a team in an effort to make money. Sure, they have operating expenses and such, but it’s not why they play baseball. They bring a spiritual message to the ball park, and they do that quite well.
But in a time when our nation seems to be taking on more of an Us versus Them persona, wouldn’t it be nice to put our political views aside long enough to rally behind a common team?
We should get behind the Scouts.
As a kid, I would spend a week with my grandparents in Johnstown, Penn. My Pap Bombatch would drive us all over the Conemaugh River valley to watch baseball tournament games in the annual AAABA tournament.
Teams from all over the country would meet up in little Johnstown to play a relatively meaningless double-elimination baseball tournament. Some of the players (like Joe Torre and even Ken Griffey Jr.) went on to the Majors.
Johnstown never won, until this year.
I did a little victory dance when I heard news that Johnstown had finally won. I didn’t realize it, but those lovable underdogs had become a part of me. A very good and memorable part of me.
The tiny town of Xenia has its own lovable underdogs, and they play summer baseball games at beautiful Grady’s Field, in front of mostly empty bleachers.
Baseball is a fun game. The Scouts are a fun team. When the 2019 season rolls around, go to one game and give them a try.
There’s fun memories to be made, right here.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.