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June 23, 2000

The Daily Prospectus

A Night at the Park

by Joe Sheehan

Baseball is good any way you can get it. On TV at home, at a local minor-league park with your significant other, watching 18 six-year-olds hit off a tee in a game in which the second baseman is left-handed...it's a great game in all its forms. But one of the best ways to enjoy the game is going to the park with a group of people who are as passionate about baseball as you are.

I was lucky enough to have that last night. BP's Rany Jazayerli, who resides in Michigan, was in the area for the evening so we planned to catch the--you guessed it--Royals at Edison Field. We were joined by the braintrust of the popular Web site Rotonews: Jeff Erickson, Pete Schoenke and Scott Pianowski, who in addition to providing thousands of rotoheads an information fix happen to be some genuinely nice guys.

Going to a game with a group of [pick one: fans/nuts] like this gets you into debates like, "Who is the greatest Angel ever, based solely on their performance with the Angels?" (Brian Downing, Tim Salmon, Chuck Finley and Nolan Ryan all garnered support). Or speculating which of the Giant relievers were responsible for changing the "9-5" on the out-of-town scoreboard into "10-11" and a Cardinal victory (most of the guilty parties were mentioned, but no one suspected Mark Gardner).

Not to mention being able to share the unique and unusual things that happen at a game. Like Royals second baseman Jeff Reboulet playing a position that can only be described as "right field" for a couple of Mo Vaughn at-bats. Or Tim Belcher spinning six innings of one-hit ball, followed by Mark Petkovsek's three perfect innings. Or Tony Muser letting Rey Sanchez bat with the tying run on third base and one out in the seventh. He popped to second, essentially ending the game. Those of you familiar with Rany's, er, mild rooting interest in the Royals can take a moment to imagine his joy.

If you like your games 1975-style you would do well to contact Jeff and Pete at Rotonews about their availability. I've now attended two games with them and seen a grand total of nine runs and about four and a half hours of baseball, with four completely random pitching performances by Belcher, Jay Witasick, Joe Mays and Steve Sparks. It was a well-pitched, fast-paced game, and no matter what Tim Kurkjian says, it wasn't a complete rarity.

What it was was a good baseball game on a beautiful summer night, enhanced by excellent company. And that is what I would wish for all of you this weekend.

Joe Sheehan can be reached at jsheehan@baseballprospectus.com.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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