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June 24, 2008
A green scene in Aberdeen
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
by Timothy Tilghman
IronBirds baseball is serious business. Individual tickets to attend ballgames are hard to come by. Right from the beginning on Opening Day when the IronBirds launched during the 2002 season in Aberdeen, Maryland, the entire available seating has been sold out from Day #1. 6,000 seats every baseball game for seven consecutive seasons is quite a record.
The immediate impression of Ripken Stadium is its majestic edifice. This exceptional sports facility is home to the Aberdeen IronBirds, owned by hometown native Cal Ripken, Jr., former Baltimore Oriole #8. The devotion of these Minor League season ticket holders to their IronBirds is unwavering. Not many other teams can boast about the level of loyalty demonstrated by these sports enthusiasts.
Along with younger brother Bill Ripken, the two have pursued their passion in cultivating grassroots baseball camps by building enrollment in the Ripken Youth Baseball Academy located on the complex grounds. Little League teams from all over the globe travel to compete in the Cal Ripken World Series each August.
The view beyond the venue is populated by a sea of green tree tops. The vehicular traffic bustling by on I-95 is neither visible nor audible. Parking and exiting the facility grounds is a relatively quick affair. Cars continue to park free of charge, but the municipal council has suggested charging a fee in order to raise additional revenue.
The first pitch sailed across homeplate at 7:13 pm. The Aberdeen IronBirds took the lead in the third inning by scoring three runs. The Staten Island Yankees batted in three runs following in the fourth inning. A fourth run was secured by the Yankees in the seventh inning.
Ultimately, that singular extra run gave Staten Island the advantage and victory over Aberdeen. The IronBirds valiantly persevered at bat, but it was not to be. The Yankees were able to prevent the IronBirds from scoring another run in the ninth inning and the ballgame concluded at 10:59 pm.
Family, friends and fans relaxing in the stands, socializing together, and getting excited over the field action - what more could one ask for? Ripken field is flanked by the Crab Shack party pavilion that rests on the first baseline and an elevated party deck section positioned along the third baseline.
Situated directly behind homeplate is a three-tiered open air Cafe offering spectators a birdseye view on every play. For the minors in your party, there is a busy Kids Zone complete with an arcade. The little legs can occupy themselves with several choices of entertainment. The general admission bleachers almost appear out of place among all of the modern amenities available at Ripken Stadium.
Finding an affordable event or function to take the whole family is becoming more expensive each year. Minor League Baseball is just the right ticket! Gasoline prices continue to climb and spending an evening at the ballpark does not require spending a whole lot of money. The price is right so come and enjoy an evening of hotdogs & homeruns with the IronBirds.
© 2008 Timothy Tilghman