PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL AS IT WAS MEANT TO BE
Today I went with my younger brother and sisters to U.S. Steel Yard in downtown Gary, Indiana to watch the Railcats play the Joliet Jackhammers. The Railcats had much more in the way of offensive power, and the Jackhammers’ pitching staff seemed to be stuck in batting practice mode. Actually, it was a couple of big innings (4 runs in the 2nd, and 6 in the 6th– capped by Ben Risinger’s grand slam) that did in the Jackhammers. Railcats pitching scattered ten hits as Gary won 10-3.
The biggest star of the game, in my opinion, was the ballpark. The Steel Yard is cozy, easy to navigate, clean, and modern. There are no bad seats, and no long waits for anything (granted, it was a rather sparsely attended game today). The ticket prices are very affordable (check the website), which makes up for the concession stands having typical major league-like black market prices ($4.50 for a slice of mediocre pizza? Geez…). Even better, parking is no sweat. There are plenty of free spaces surrounding the ballpark area, so paying ten bucks to park right next to the Bennigan’s (which is shrewdly placed right behind the right field bleachers) is purely a luxury.
For those who want to get there by public transit, the South Shore Line stops a few blocks from the ballpark. Of course, finding trains that match the starting and ending times of the game might be a bit of a challenge, but the ride to and from downtown Chicago is quicker than driving (and South Shore Line trains have toilets, too).
For my money and time, I’d much rather return to the Steel Yard than go to U.S. Cellular or Wrigley Beer Garden to watch a pro baseball game. I can read the major league scores and highlights on the internet, but for live ball I’m going minor league. Maybe I’ll have to check out the Jackhammers, the Schaumburg Flyers, and the Kane County Cougars, too.