LAS VEGAS BALLPARK A GRAND SLAM FOR AVIATORS

Greetings sports fans and welcome yet again to a historic edition of Vegas Valley Sports Beat. The little column that dares to ask. It is a gorgeous day here in the Las Vegas valley region, the sun is chirping and the birds are shining. That’s rather odd too but then again what isn’t anymore?

Let us turn our attention now to the wonderful world of Las Vegas and see what is happening this weekend. It was just last year that I heard about the plans for the new baseball park that was being discussed in the press box at Cashman Field and now the Las Vegas Ballpark is going to be having their Grand Season Opening game April 9th, 2019. The Las Vegas Aviators will host Sacramento in what is sure to be a baseball game.

Courtesy of Las Vegas Review Journal.

The new home of the Las Vegas Aviator’s sounds very nice from all reports, and there will be plenty of good seats and good eats. There is no doubt about that.
Built at a cost of $150,000,000 the president of the Aviator’s, Don Logan says the ballpark is the best minor-league ballpark he has seen in 30 years. “This is like a major-league stadium,” he said in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

And the photographs I have seen, do bear this assessment out. It looks like a fine park for any team to play in. I like it because it evokes memories of Cashman Field where I got my one and only opportunity to cover a 51’s game as a sports journalist. And several games for the Las Vegas Lights FC. Cashman Field was no slouch as far as that goes but the Las Vegas Ballpark is what it might have been at one time while keeping the spirit alive.

Print of opening night ceremonies for Las Vegas Lights FC inaugural home game. 2018- Mine.

The only other baseball games I’ve ever attended were mostly farm teams in St. Petersburg, Florida and I went to a fair number of them when the tickets were free. I saw Geronimo Pena play several times when he was in the minors. Sitting in the bleachers one night with my wife and her kids and the full moon rose over Tampa Bay. I incited the outbreak howling that ensued in the stands, myself because it was the biggest harvest moon you have ever seen. It was magical because of the fun we had, not who won or lost.

I caught an old-timers game once from outside the outfield fence but I got a game ball hit by some Hall of Famer in a very old Pirates uniform. I got it signed by all the players after the game too. Not to mention the pictures I took with a 1200mm zoom lens on an old Pentax camera I had with me. I got some great close-ups at home-plate.

I have no idea to this day who any of them were or where my pictures are. I just know I enjoyed the game. I remember that, and those memories stay in your mind always.

But admit I sprayed enough clear shellac coating on that baseball to make it hard as a coconut shell and preserved those signatures under it. Not because of any imagined future monetary value it might have but because I loved being there, watching the game and taking it all in. I have no idea where it is either. It was only valuable to me.

Courtesy of Las Vegas Review Journal

The only MLB game I ever attended was when I saw the Cleveland Indians lose at home to the Yankees in an ALCS night game. The Yankees went on to win that series, and the World Series that year. In spite of my desire to see Cleveland win the Series.

I didn’t get a ball but I did get a commemorative handtowel to wave when I booed the Yankees, and I got an Indians earring to match it but just my luck they were sold out of hotdogs by the time I got to the game. I drove up from Kent on the spur of the moment so it took a minute to find an extra “ticketholder” in a generous mood. It was so worth it too.

I sat in the nosebleed section behind third base and the visitor’s dugout but up there with the pigeons. You had to love the view of the parking lot behind me. The pigeons certainly thought it was coo..l. So did I. There was too much going on to give my full attention to the game. I felt sorry for the few NY fans who made the trip to root for the Yankees though. They were woefully outnumbered by Indians but it was so much fun just to be in the game. You feel me?

I am no great fan of baseball but I still love a good game whatever the sport and I am a life long fan of sports from hunting to the Olympic Games Summer and winter. I’m a huge fan of competitive gymnastics and downhill skiing, and the Winter/Summer X Games are the best. Yes, I do watch roller derby and sometimes wrestling. I love boxing and the MMA too. I watch them all and always have.

I’ve seen many gold medal performances on the world stage from Nadia to Ali to Michael Phelps to whom I say high, you are a champion, sir. I watched live as an injured young Olympian lady nailed a perfect 10 point off the pommel horse and captured a lot of hearts. I was in a beach bar in Florida to be exact. The place was packed and went nuts too when her feet touched down and her hands went up. I remember Kimbo Slice getting pounded down in like 16 seconds by an unlikely last-minute substitute fighter nobody thought had a prayer. May Kimbo RIP. I’ll never forget seeing Sting kick Hulk Hogan’s butt so bad he swore never to return to Las Vegas in front of the crowd at the MGM Grand Gardens Arena. Rick Flair was even there. WOOOO!

I love to participate in many sports from softball, to darts at which, as many can attest to I’m hard to beat. I love shooting pool even more. But not even as much as I love bowling. I even watch it on TV. Sometimes. I played HS basketball, trained with the football team and ran track and field too. I love full contact beach or mud football and even in my old age don’t toss me a rugby ball and think I won’t run through you and/or over you for a goal. All day long.

What can I say? Oscar Madison has always been both of my spirit animals. Sports fan, and journalist all in one. I’m just naturally disorganized.

The Las Vegas Aviators don’t feel, as do other high profile sports teams in Las Vegas, that Vegas Valley News is big enough to represent them in the media and that’s understandable. It doesn’t matter anyway.

Since I currently seem to be the voice of Vegas Valley News sports and Vegas Valley Sports Beat; I will say only that I don’t need to be there any more than some of the reporters that are given press passes but only stay a short time before they leave. I’ve covered 3 Super Bowls play-by-play from a distant barstool far far away. So far. I’ve watched every one of them since 1971 too. I even remember Miami’s perfect season.

My only aim is to promote the good in sports, travel, news, and entertainment in Las Vegas and the rest can take care of itself.

Speaking of which:

Yours truly.

If food is on your mind, the overall menu at the new ballpark, from what I read, is sure to appeal to your taste buds in some fashion if not another. Be it a prize winning gourmet hot dog or apple pie Ala mode and nachos in a reusable blue plastic baseball cap that I think is cool. There are going to be a variety of vendors and they will even have a healthy children’s meal that parents will approve of.

From what I read in the R-J earlier they have a specially crafted beer that is only available in two 2 places in Las Vegas and the ballpark is one of them. Unquestionably it would have to be the best by anyone’s standards. The cocktails sound great as well. I don’t drink very often but when I do I like a well-made drink selection to choose from. They seem to have that covered.

The open level where groups can get food and drinks included for $40 is a great bargain no matter how you slice it, and if you prefer more luxury it is available from all appearances which is of course a good thing too. Props to the planners and the builders it looks like a fine place to play ball.

I have enough experience building stadiums to know. I started the dome on the stadium the Devil Rays play in and I worked on the Las Vegas Sports Complex on the roof with the Ironworkers. I built 52 ton steel roof trusses for a college stadium in Richmond, Va, too. Now I’m also blessed to be an ICC structural steel special inspector. Nice job ladies and gentlemen. I like it.


Courtesy of Las Vegas Review Journal

Mr. Logan has stated and I agree with him wholeheartedly, that it’s about so much more than just a ball game. People of all ages and descriptions come out singly, in pairs, they come out in groups, and many families attend these games. I have made my view crystal clear in that regard that it’s a night of entertainment. Which is as it should be. True?

I was at the 51’s game as a sports journalist but I ran out to the parking lot to chase down a foul ball for a small fan who wanted one really badly but when I got back to the press level with the ball the family was no longer there, so I still have it.

Mine.

Beer and baseball go together well I can vouch for that myself. I left the stadium one night staggering drunk because it was 4 for a dollar beer night. My buddy Jimmy, was as smashed as I was and I’m sure we were not the only ones who left the park inebriated that night. I can’t speak for them but I walked to the ballpark and I walked back home safely, as did Jimmy.

What rankles me is the idea of how many children are on our roadways when a game or any like social event lets out. This goes the same for every event. It only takes one moment of inattention, one delayed reaction to end a life with a motor vehicle. And it rarely if ever involves the end of a single life.

The officers of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department, the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, and the Troopers of the NHP are going to be out there with you, in force. They are going to be looking for anyone driving under the impairment of alcohol and or drugs. And if you are, for your own sake, I hope they find you and lock you up for the night instead you meeting them by accident.

Please, for the sake of everyone concerned including yourself, if you do drink don’t drive. There will always be another way to get home without having to take that risk and bet on lousy odds with your life. No true friend would or should ever allow you to, but why push your luck? And, in case anyone wonders, no I have never had a DUI.

This is only my learned opinion based on my personal knowledge of the consequences just from a simple DUI. Those associated with Felony DUI are progressively worse. That trouble and woes are squared again if you are here visiting from out of state and far worse still if you are from a foreign nation and have no diplomatic immunity. I’m just saying, not judging anyone.

I just happen to give a damn, and I have this opportunity to speak my peace freely in the press in the hope that it might save even one life. I hope you will agree with me but that’s all on you. Please, do your thing responsibly as though your life depends on it.

Thank you to the Las Vegas Review-Journal for whom all photographic rights are reserved, and for the structural overview of the ballpark they contributed to this article.