Over the past few years my interest in baseball has started to look beyond Major League Baseball. While the quality of baseball at the Major League level is better than any type of Minor League play, there is still something romantic about games not a part of “The Show”. The pressure is a lot less, the games are more family friendly and the towns are smaller. It also doesn’t hurt that ticket prices are more than reasonable.
After my first experience watching AA Baseball in Tulsa, Oklahoma last year, I figured it would be fun to chance it and try out the nearby independent CanAm League. It was only in the past year or so that I realized that “professional” baseball could be found so close to home in Quebec City, Trois Rivieres and Ottawa. So I decided one evening before I got on the train back to Montreal that I would head over to watch the New Jersey Jackals take on the Ottawa Champions.
The crowd was small (just over 3,000) and the park was modern and intimate. Since I didn’t know any of the players I didn’t know what to expect from any of them. It was interesting to see that even at this level the pitchers had 90+ mile an hour fastballs and the hitters could routinely hit balls out of the park. I found the major difference in quality from the major leagues was the consistency of players. The fielding was at times weak and in this game at least, the hitters dominated the pitching.
I quite enjoyed the experience and would recommend it if you, like me, don’t have Major League Baseball in your hometown.