The winter sports season is officially over for me. The Pacers were blown out, the Blackhawks went down in overtime. I'll still watch hockey playoffs, but not with the same interest. NBA, eh, probably not. The good news is it's full-swing baseball season.
Assuming weather cooperates, which is a big assumption lately, I'll be getting to Victory Field on Saturday, which I'm very excited about. A beautiful ballpark which if you live in Indiana, you really ought to make it a few times a year. I would make it much more often if I didn't work in Illinois, which means I can't get to Indy by the time most of the through the week games start. So, that leaves weekends, many of which (especially this year) are booked.
Let me just say thank goodness for Danville Stadium and the Dans. True, it's a pretty far cry from AAA ball.* But, it's still solid, and a full price ticket is only $6. And there are many days that are half price or otherwise discounted. It's also true that Danville Stadium is a far cry from Victory Field, but it has a charm all it's own. In fact, I think I just stumbled over the meat of today's post.
*And let me posit that AAA is a lot closer to big league ball than most people realize. Or, at least, people that don't go to AAA games. Excellent product for the price.
Danville Stadium was built (or maybe completed would be a better word) in 1946. The first tenants (and the reason the stadium was built) were the Danville Dodgers, a Class B minor league team of, who else, the (then) Brooklyn Dodgers. There has been quite a bit of history in the stadium, probably enough to write a book about. But, the most historic moment would most likely be when the Brooklyn Dodgers came to town, bringing with them Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, and the recently deceased Duke Snider. There is a nice video from Illinois Public Media about the stadium on that page as well.
The stadium has not changed all that much over the years. It still looked old-timey enough to film The Babe there. Well, some of the game scenes, at least. Because the stadium has not really changed (though it has been maintained pretty well), the minor league teams have left. The Dans are the top level tenant now, though the stadium still plays host to DACC, Danville High School, and Schlarman. The highlight of my high school career came at Danville Stadium. We were playing Danville, I was playing third base. I snagged a sharply hit line drive and beat the runner on third back to the bag to end the inning. I was excited enough I wasn't even sure there were three outs. I wish I could've gotten a hit in the stadium, but unfortunately, my only at-bat there was a swinging strikeout. I think they may have no-hit us that day, now that I think about it. Or maybe that was when they came to Covington. In any case, I'm still proud of my only unassisted double-play in high school.
Wikipedia tells me the stadium holds 4,000 people. You can bet I'll be one of those people this summer.