Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Trenton, the minor leagues' best franchise?

TRENTON, N.J. - The Dugout is confirming is status as Giver of Rain. The water started falling at the start of the third inning of Trenton’s Eastern League game against Binghamton. The tarp was on a half inning later (top photo). It appears the only rain in the entire Northeastern U.S. is centered above Waterfront Park.

That’s OK, it provides more time to write.

The sign hanging on ballpark’s brick facade (lower photo) brags to all who enter that Minor League Baseball tabbed the Thunder as the minor’s best franchise. I believe they are referring to winning the President’s Trophy. The Thunder, however, are not the reigning “best franchise in the minors.” That honor, according to Minor League Baseball, is currently held by league rival Altoona. If you were the Curve, wouldn’t you plan a late-night raid on that banner?

The ballpark is neither remote nor centrally located. The houses across Route 29 just beyond the leftfield wall look old – the 1960s may be a young estimate – and a little rundown. The view of most to those places is blocked by three stories worth of advertising, which may not be a bad thing. The Delaware River is just beyond the rightfield wall, obscured mostly by trees.

The Thunder have a dog, Chase that Golden Thunder, that retrieves Thunder bats at the end of home innings. Other than that, the between innings contests and entertainment have been pretty mundane. Just a few seconds ago they held a musical chairs contest on the field and both of the finalists were able to fit solidly in the remaining chair. Kinda humorous.

The hot dog was big, similar to other big dogs at minor league parks. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. While it lacks creativity, it’s still a solid dog. They also have something called “crab fries,” which The Dugout is looking forward to trying when the drizzle subsides.

The big thing Trenton seems to have going for it is romance. So far this season 11 couples have gotten engaged at Thunder games. It works out to an average of about one engagement for every five home games. Ah, there’s no place like Trenton when the concrete is in bloom.

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