I have to admit that I am hooked on the film, « Field of Dreams » with Kevin Costner. The first time I watched it, it just haunted me. It was about my birth state of Iowa, and it showed Iowa in a very good light. Towards the end of the movie, one long-deceased person looks at Kevin Costner and asks, « Is this heaven? »
« No, » Coster replies, « it’s Iowa. » For those of us who were born there, there is an understanding of what that means. You can visit Iowa, play John Denver’s song, « Thank God, I’m a Country Boy, » and lose yourself to a state that, every four years takes precedence in the effort to elect a President. My cousins still live there and they know everyone running by the time the caucuses happen. And good things happen to Iowa. It is a wonderful state to live in.
Massachusetts is just as good. With its views of heaven at the beaches, and its attempt to maintain its small-state philosophy, it is a good alternate to Iowa. But, in my opinion, heaven is Iowa. Except in one specific location. And that involves baseball, Lowell’s answer to the character’s question in the first paragraph. When I want to go on vacation, I go to somewhere unique to Massachusetts. I have told many friends, that I am the person who looks and asks David Heller, the owner of the Spinners franchise, if the area a few feet from the mighty Merrimack River is heaven. In my imaginings, Dave says, in response to the baseball question of the day, « Is this heaven? »
« No, » Dave says, « it’s LeLacheur Park. » LeLacheur Park certainly looks like heaven, especially when the sun is painting the green darker colors. It is beautiful to be there, and the patrons, the fans, are great. I heartily recommend the season ticket so you can enjoy the view and absorb the excitement. Half of the pull of the park is in the stands and bleachers. A full-season box office seat is just over three hundred dollars. For unlimited baseball, it does not get better than that. That is one day at Fenway Park and the game of baseball played in Lowell, is often better. I witnessed more homeruns last year, and they came within one game of winning the prize. This year, they will do better.
I have a close affiliation with the Spinners. My brother-in-law, by wife’s brother, set them up to play in Lowell. His name was Paul Tsongas. That Paul Tsongas. He built LeLacheur Park. He is not the spirit of LeLacheur Park, that is Eddie LeLacheur, but he had something to do with it. Just ask David Heller if you can corner him. He will tell you how integral Paul was to the park. It would not exist without him. Or without Eddie LeLacheur. They both played an integral part in the game.
Drew Webber, the former owner of the park, championed the unknown Spinners into a force to be reckoned with. He got the equipment, he took care of the park, and in a moment of personal pride for me, he asked Paul’s namesake, Rory Paul Peters, who is also Paul’s nephew, to pitch the first pitch to the catcher, ever. Rory was, I believe, eight years old, and he, according to the SUN, pitched the first pitch as a strike. It was a strike, I watched it. The catcher did not have to move to pick up the pitch. It was a perfect lopping pitch, straight to the catcher’s mitt. I could not argue with that appraisal. It looked perfect to me and it was the first pitch ever in the history of the Spinners.
A DAY WITH THE SPINNERS
If you were lucky and had season tickets two years ago, you could see Mooky Betts, and other World Series players, playing baseball for the Lowell Spinners. Actually, we should put that in quotes. It is the « Lowell Spinners. » For the sake of brevity, I will continue to just use the name. But it is worthy of good punctuation.
This year’s coaching staff is the same as last year’s. Last year they almost took the title. This year they are going to take it. Don’t forget to buy your season’s ticket. It is a cheap guaranteed fun experience that appeals to the entire family. There is the Canaligator, a rumpily figure that looks something like an alligator. He has a wife. In the twenty-five seasons that the « Proud Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox » played thusfar, the Canaligator provided a lot of the entertainment. They even have a toothbrushing dentist. Key Promotions include the « All You Can Eat Mini-Plan, » Bobbleheads, a Patriots player appearance, as well as a Bruins player appearance, a Revolution player appearance, and, again, many Bobbleheads.
For those of us with cancer, which includes myself, there is a May Cancer Walk. July 4th. sees Lowell City Fireworks. There is a baseball clinic on July 16th. my brother Tom’s birthday, and Spinners Baseball camps in July and August. There will be many amateur baseball competitions and the chance to see your child play baseball in a professional park maintained by the Spinners and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
Opening Day is June 18th. All Star Events happen on August 17th. and 18th. Information can be reached by calling 978-459-1702. Call for ticket information. Ask for Riley Robar. He is very helpful as are all of the members of the staff.
So what do you want to do this summer. You want to watch a very good team play very good teams. You want the leisurely game of baseball. You want to see heaven. It’s at Lelacheur Park. Have a great time, and if you see me give me a big « Hello. »