When you were a baseball-loving kid growing up in New York during the belly of the 20th century, the name Abner Doubleday carried weight.
The old soldier dude invented the game we loved, said the Lords of Baseball.
Of course now the myth-busters say it ain’t so.
None of that matters to the folks that run the short-season Class A club in Auburn, N.Y., 25 or so miles west from the Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood. So they have named their cool little franchise the Doubledays. And followed up on that by making their mascot an old-times dude with the name Abner on his uniform back.
This I know because my dear wife Karen and I attended Opening Night Friday with Michelle, her brother Scott and others. Scott’s great girlfriend Lizzie, for instance, and family. It’s a tradition for all of them Auburnites to go to Opening Day. We tagged along.
Falcon Park is three turns off Route 5 and a far cry from our NBT Bank Stadium on the North Side of Syracuse. It’s an old park. Field, really. Nice homey feel to the joint. We got the feeling that these couple thousand folks had all been going forever.
Hover over any gallery photo for a description. Click on any image for an enlarged slide show.
We walked up the stairs to the silver bleacher-style general admission seating, which we’d nabbed at a table set up at the gate for the price of $6 per ticket.
The field looked Opening Day ready, green as can be and manicured to Grade A level.
The fans were happy to be there on an 80º F night under a bright blue sky, not filling the stands, but doing a good job of Friday Night appreciation.
The players went through the Opening Day ceremonies like champions.
And then came the moment, special, always, no matter who invented this game that lives in our hearts.
Auburn won, 3-0.
I looked it up the next morning on the team’s site.
The concession lines were very long. I braved the one for beer and got us a couple in the second inning.
But the separate one for hot dogs …
We left with the game scoreless, drove to the Denny’s and had a delicious if late dinner.
That’s a slice of Americana, too.
Who did you think invented baseball? Which souvenir would you buy, and why? Which photo is your favorite, and why?