You have to love minor league baseball. Tickets, hot dogs, ball caps, parking for a family of four all under a hundred bucks? We make it point to get out to Cheney Stadium here in Tacoma a few times a summer with the boys to see the Rainiers, Seattle's AAA affiliate. I've also enjoyed my share of trips to Portland, Maine to see the Sea Dogs (in their awesome mini-Fenway up there). But the minor league park I've visited most has to be the one on the Merrimack River in Manchester, where the Blue Jays' AA squad plies their trade.
The Fisher Cats franchise was founded in 1992 as the New Haven Ravens, affiliated with the new Colorado Rockies. The team began play in 1994, winning the Eastern League Championship in 2000. In 2003 they were sold to Drew Weber, owner of the Lowell Spinners, and moved to Manchester. The original new name for the team was to be the New Hampshire Primaries, but everybody hated that, so a contest was held, and Fisher Cats beat out other entries such as Millers, Mountain Men, and Granite. The team played its first season at Gill Stadium, familiar to many of us who played our high school football in New Hampshire and tangled with Manchester Central at Gill. Within a year, the new stadium was built, and for several years was called Merchantsauto.com Stadium. Corporate naming rights are absurd things.
We took Bobby there for his first ballgame in the spring of 2008 when he was less than six months old. Since then we've been back a few times, whether as part of a company outing when I was at Citizens, or in a multi-family operation like the one with the Emanuels and Illingworths back in 2015. Until the kids get a bit older, pilgrimages to major league games (and the second mortgages required to finance them) will have to wait. In the meantime, minor league games are the perfect fit. In fact, we're headed to a Rainiers game this morning. Can't beat it.