Sioux Falls Stadium, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

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Sioux Falls Stadium, Sioux Falls, SOUTH DAKOTA

State number:  37
States to go:  13

Number of games:  1
First game:  July 8, 2016 (Sioux Falls Canaries 18, Winnipeg Goldeyes 9)

(Click on any photo to see a full-size version.)

There are many, many ways to get a low score on this website.

I’ve been places where there is no local feel. I’ve been places where the crowd was disinterested. I’ve been places that were out of control with their promotions.

But Sioux Falls was strange in the way it seemed to get so many things wrong. I was not impressed, I’m afraid.

I will admit that I am not predisposed to enjoy independent-league ball. I have trouble keeping track of the narrative and can’t quite get behind the bigger stories involved. I’m sure that if I knew the ballplayers, I would have a better sense of this, but since the majority of the players are out of affiliated ball and (save for a few) won’t be getting back in, the narrative isn’t exciting to me. I respect the ballplayers for making money doing what they love, yes. And they’re better at baseball than I am at most things. But I can’t follow the story, and I like stories.

The canaries weren’t doing any favors here, either. Their program had literally nothing on their opponent!

No names, no backstory, no standings to be found…I couldn’t figure out who was on the other team without doing some on-line searches on the smart phone. I found this really problematic. It sends a message to me, and not a good one: that the baseball isn’t the most important thing going on.

And on this night, the Sioux Falls Canaries and the Winnipeg Goldeyes were not

playing very good baseball. Nobody could seem to pitch, field, or stop anyone from scoring. The game got tedious in a pretty big hurry, and if a baseball-head like me is saying that, it’s a pretty severe problem.

Then, things were awfully expensive. I have never been to a ballpark that charged for a bouncy-house run before. My children are still of the age where they might want to ricochet off of pneumatic plastic for a while before first pitch, and I have had them do so in multiple ballparks. Never paid a cent. Now, my kids were 1200 miles away, but if they had been there, the idea that I’d have to shell out ten bucks for them to burn off pre-game energy…I found that especially problematic.

And then came a hilarious blooper.

My buddies went out to get a beer. They’re beer snobs—they have been known to call American commercial beer

as “making love in a canoe” (a synonym for “fucking close to water”). So when I saw one of them come back with a very light-yellow beer in a clear plastic cup, I knew something was amiss. They like their beer darker. I wondered aloud what was up.

Turns out that they each went to a spot and were looking up at the list of beers, when the person behind the bar said “You know, Miller Lite and Coors Light are free.”

“Free?”

“Because of your wristbands.”

My friends were not wearing wristbands. But they gave them free beer.

I cannot even believe that this happened. Apparently, they wandered into a group setting without being stopped, and then managed to get a free beer. But when the whole ballpark feels a bit disinterested,

hey, why not? I learned that free making-love-in-a-canoe beer is more valuable to my friends than paying for the good stuff. I’m not sure when or how that knowledge will aid me in the future, but I’ve got that knowledge now and will keep it.

The game became so draggy and so crooked-number-y that I didn’t fight very hard when the suggestion was made that we abandon it in the 8th inning and head back for some Quickword competition. And, again, if I’m the one bolting a baseball game, it’s a pretty serious problem.

So I hope that Sioux Falls has turned it around. Seem like some nice people there in South Dakota, and athey deserve a better experience—a less apathetic experience—than I got on that night. 

BALLPARK SCORE:

REGIONAL FEEL:  3/10.  I do not remember anything here.  The view is of a suburb that could be in any of the 50 states. 

CHARM:  2.5/5.  There is nothing charming about cash grabs.

SPECTACLE:  2.5/5.  Don’t remember much here.

TEAM MASCOT/NAME:  2/5.  Canaries?  Really?  Maybe there’s a local reason I don’t know. Here is Cagey, the chief canary.

AESTHETICS 2.5/5.  Not much of a view, and the concourses were really unattractive.

PAVILION AREA: 1/5.  One of the most unattractive I have ever seen, and they wanted money.

SCOREABILITY:  0/5.  No visiting team rosters, no interest in what happened on the field. Scoreboard regularly wrong. The baseball was tertiary to the experience, and the experience wasn’t even much.

FANS 3.5/5:  Fine.

INTANGIBLES 0/5.  The baseball was horrible (errors, walks, nobody getting anybody out) and the experience was both expensive and disinterested.  Not a very good night, I’m afraid (although I still like baseball).

TOTAL 17/50

BASEBALL STUFF I SAW HERE:

Pretty much everything one doesn’t want to see. Nobody could get anyone out. Twelve walks, a catchers’ interference, several errors, a hit batsman, passed balls…ick.

JC Linares hit two home runs for the Canaries, a grand slam and a two-run homer.

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