When you are a young athlete you dream of the big time, what in baseball they refer to as The Show. For members of the Ottawa Titans, this is a season of hope.
The Titans play in the Frontier League. It isn’t quite the bottom of the baseball ladder, but there are a lot of rungs from here to the Major Leagues. The players are here because they are hoping to attract attention and get signed by a team affiliated with a major league team. Many have had a chance before, but things didn’t pan out as hoped. Sometimes injuries get in the way, or their development as a player is slower than others. Sometimes it is just an executive taking a dislike to you.
But they still want to play baseball for a living. In the Frontier League the money isn’t great, but there’s that dream to consider.
If you are a baseball fan, you will understand when I say the Frontier League is about the equivalent of Class A ball. If you aren’t a ball fan, well, the on field product is good but the talent level varies. Major league ball players getting the minimum wage at that level make more money for one game than most of these players get for the season.
I usually root for the underdog, and must admit a certain liking for baseball due to its structure. The clock isn’t the tyrant it is in most other sports. Before television that used to mean shorter games because you don’t have so much time wasted by play stoppages.
Over the years though teh game has changed to the point where now there is a timer to ensure batters and pitchers move the game along. it is supposed to speed up teh overall game, which at the major league level was taking about three hours to play – 45 minutes longer than when I was a teenager.
The Titans home opener was Friday night. It was my first experience with game using the pitch clock, and by the third inning I was sold on this innovation. Mind you, it didn’t make the game any faster; it still took almost three hours to play.
That though was more a factor of the score. A high scoring game is always going to take longer. The visiting Empire State Greys managed seven runs, and didn’t look as if they belonged in the same ballpark, given that the Titans scored 17 times.
It was a great night for baseball, a great start to the season and, for the players at least, one more stop on a hoped-for road to stardom.
Lucky you, Lorne! Baseball is a very pleasant game to watch in person. I used to attend the Single A London, ON team as a grad student 30 years ago. All in all, it was better than driving to Detroit to watch the Tigers. Now we’ve moved to Powell River, I should try out the junior hockey. I used to watch the Pats in Regina – much more fun and much less costly than the Canucks in Vancouver.