Melaleuca Field, Idaho Falls, IDAHO
State number: still 31
States to go: 19
Number of games: 3
First game: July 7, 2010 (Idaho Falls Chukars 6, Casper Ghosts 5–11 innings)
Most Recent Game: July 17, 2019 (Orem Owlz 9, Idaho Falls Chukars 7)
After two nights of gorgeous Utah ballparks, Melaleuca Field in Idaho Falls was a bit of a letdown. With no real views worth mentioning and a non-descript residential
There’s not a whole lot going on around the ballpark, which is
It helped that the sound guy was legitimately funny and clever. I wouldn’t have thought to play “Ghostbusters” during the introduction to the game against the Casper Ghosts, but the sound guy did. Additionally, playing Chuck Berry’s “Kansas City” as the Chukars ran out to their position was a nice touch for a Royals affiliate. I’m not a fan of pretending that we ARE in the parent club’s hometown–as with the Yankees’ affiliates who play “New York, New York” or with Ogden, who introduces itself as “the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers,” but the Chuck Berry song indicates that the players are going to Kansas City, and has an innocence and optimism that I associate with low-level ballplayers chasing the dream. Plus, I hear that Kansas City has some crazy little
Not quite as subtle or clever was the PA guy. While his sins were not as strong as those of the guys on my shit list in Detroit and Missoula, he came close. While I won’t be able to duplicate his tone here, he did the nearly-orgasmic squeak to introduce Chukars players, which, while I’m not a fan of it, I hear often enough to dial out. But, strangely, when the Ghosts sent a player to bat, the PA guy decided to do the opposite. He didn’t merely deadpan the names, like most PA guys do. He decided to take it a step further and tried to sound actively bored. Yeah, I know that “actively bored” is a bit of an oxymoron, but you need to hear this lame-o do his thing. Think someone at the DMV going over a missed test question for the 50th time that
The seating was a little bit strange in Melaleuca Field. It wasn’t just that the entire seating structure appeared to be made of aluminum (not the most aesthetically pleasing arrangement). It was that seat one and seat two in the same row weren’t next to each other. The number of
Companionship was not a problem for the guy in front of us, who my wife
Steven was a little too squirrely for a little too long on my wife’s lap, so she asked that I take him for a while. I took him around the concourse,
It turned out that the ballplayers were happy to get a distraction. One Kenneth Roberts (left) said hello to my son and offered his hand for a handshake. Steven didn’t yet do handshakes, but he would willingly dish out high fives, and he did so once I told Mr. Roberts that fact. Taylor Reid (right), another pitcher, then asked Steven if he was going to be a baseball player. Steven’s
The game turned into a pretty good extra-inning affair, and all three of us hung in there until the end. And while the ballpark itself wasn’t anything to write home about, it turned out to be an enjoyable, memorable night.
Regional feel: 5/10
Even with the nice Idaho baseball history on the inside, this is a pretty non-descript place. I can’t tell where I am in the USA during the game.
Charm: 2.5 /5
Some nice moments, but cheerleader PA annoyed me a bit.
Could be a little more for Rookie ball, but there was a little, and the sound effects guy was actually funny (without interfering).
Team Mascot/Name: 3.5/5
Charlie the Chukar is a furball. I had to look up what a Chukar was. Hardly intimidating, but locally appropriate.
All metal, with no real view.
Not much in the way of places to watch the game while wandering.
Missed a couple of pitching changes.
Mostly nice people, and a surprisingly big crowd.
A fun night where my son got a high-five. Also a good, interesting game.
BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:
Casper jumps out to a 5-0 lead in the fourth, with the big blow a triple by Robert de la Cruz. But Idaho Falls chips away, and ties the score in the 8th on a bizarre only-in-rookie-league play. Pitcher Clinton McKinney whirls around to try to pick the Chukars’ Tim Ferguson off of second. The throw goes into center field, and Ferguson trots to third. As he slows down at third, however, Ghosts’ center fielder Rafael Ortega goes to throw the ball back to the infield…but it slips out of his hand, and the ball goes shooting into the air towards right field. Ferguson kicks it into gear and sprints home. E1 and E8…tie score.
Travis Jones eventually wins the game with an 11th inning walk-off single. Unfortunately, the very kind Kenneth Roberts gets the loss. I hope the word doesn’t get around that pitchers who high-five my son from the bullpen wind up getting tagged for the loss that night…100% of the time so far.
In 2013, Dominique Taylor’s walk-off single wins it for the Chukars.
Anthony Mulrine wins a game with an 8th-inning home run for the Orem Owlz.
(Written July 2010.)