Take me out to the ball game

There’s something just infectious about minor league baseball. Tonight, when the Nashville Sounds first took the field for the National Anthem, they were accompanied by dozens of kids from Nashville-area youth baseball leagues. The sight of all those kids running onto the field, swarming around the professionals, and then all standing at attention for the anthem — well, it’s just something special, and something I wouldn’t experience quite the same way at a major league park.

Our group from Shelbyville First United Methodist was delayed getting to the ball park, so (long story short) we missed the “faith night” concert by Christian artist Shaun Groves. But the game was fine — Nashville came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Omaha Royals 3-2 — and the post-game fireworks were fantastic. Our seats were great, too — almost but not quite behind home plate, and only six or seven rows up.

I enjoy the thrill of a major-league sporting event, too. I’ve never been to a Major League Baseball game, but I adore the glitz and constant stimulation of a Nashville Predators hockey game downtown in Gaylord Entertainment Center. But there’s something just sort of charming and approachable about minor-league baseball.

As a nice bit of convergence, the Predators brought the players from their rookie camp to see the Sounds game tonight, and their mascot Gnash came along as well, clowning around with the Sounds mascot Ozzie. My six-year-old niece, who adored Gnash when she attended her first Predators game this year, would have been in heaven.