Barnstorming / verb/ travel around an area appearing in exhibition sports events, especially baseball games
Lancaster, PA. Most think of Amish country, chocolate, good food, horse drawn buggies, furniture…. When I think of Lancaster, I think baseball! Lancaster has long been on my places to visit for a game, and last weekend, I was able to make this visit come true. And my visit to the Lancaster Barnstormers did not disappoint!! To quote my favorite wrestler, Gerry Brisco, “it’s worth the drive!”
So many of you are probably wondering, there’s baseball in Lancaster? I can proudly say, Yes! Lancaster has a proud baseball history. I won’t go into details here, you can check their Wikipedia page to check out the long history that Lancaster has with baseball. A quick summary of the current Barnstormers: they currently play in the Freedom divison of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, as part of the independent leagues. The independent leagues don’t have contracts with the major leagues. The Barnstormers began play in 2003, and play in Clipper Magazine Stadium.
Keep in mind, this IS professional baseball. Just because the independent leagues don’thave player development contracts with the majors, they do have players that make it to the big leagues. Walking in from the parking lot, the Barnstormers remind you of former players who have made it to the show!
When you first enter Clipper Magazine Stadium, you are greeted with a great mural of Dick Scott, who helped bring baseball back to Lancaster. A very nice touch!!
Food, Beer, Food, and Family Fun!
Hats off to the Barnstormers for their food and beverage selection. They are are par with most AA and many AAA MiLB stadiums I’ve been to for food and beverage options. They have great relationships with many local breweries, and their Broken Bat Craft Beer Deck had 21 (yes, TWENTY ONE) local beers on tap!
You can also order some great pub food there as well. I wish I had seen this menu in full earlier. I did catch up with someone who ordered the Piggy Parfait, and this is definetely worth going back for!!
What I “settled for” was an incredible beef brisket combo special from Hess’s BBQ. I was torn between the brisket and the pulled pork, but in my opinion, I made the right decision!
I couldn’t decide between the Carolina Gold and the Original BBQ, so I went with both!
One of these days, I am going to fast for a couple of days before going to a ballpark. In addition to the bbq and parfait mentioned above, the Barnstormers had quite a few gastrometric opportunities. Not that I need to lay off these things….. Choices include soft pretzel choices, a sweet spot, pretzel dogs, and a bucket of chicken tenders! (truth in advertising: I did order a pretzel dog late in the game. I was still pretty full, so I ended up eating less than half of it, but it was yummy!)
While they did have quite a few adult beverage opportunities, I appreciated this empty seat to remind folks about the responsibilities about drinking!
In addition to great food, it’s a VERY family friendly ballpark. Along the left field line, there’s a great kid friendly play area that includes an old style carousel that has quite a history behind it. I loved it that they incorporated this into the ballpark!
In Game Entertainment
The Barnstormers did a great job of doing a few different things, and taking old games and giving them a new twist. Not sure if they do this every game, or every weekend, but they had guest PA announcers for half an inning. Hershey’s Miniatures, they called it! Mia, Allie, and Ella did a bang up job introducing the home team!
Mid game, they also had their own pork race. It was a pretty intense competition, but sadly I didn’t get a good photo of the middle pork biting the dust! Let’s just say the middle chop went down like a sack of …. porkchops right after I snapped this pic!
I got a good laugh when Jason Rogers of the Bees came up in the first, and the Stormers chose the Mr. Rogers theme as his walk up song. Then in the second, Jamar Walton came up, and they chose the theme to The Waltons. I think only fans my age and up got the joke for that one. But I got it, and loved it!
The level of play actually exceeded my expectations. As did the umpiring! Covering both of these points, I lucked into a great photo of a close play at the plate. The Bees catcher was able to block the play with his foot, and get the tag down for the out. It was a tough call, one that the Barnstormers did argue, but in the end, the umpire made the right call!
Here’s the play, in real time, as called by the Barnstormers (note: yours truly is the one in the blue shirt behind home plate):
Here are some random game photos:
Loved the stirrup type socks!
My pet peeve: the crooked cap. Also, he entered the game about as fast as Mickey Rivers approached the plate. Mick the Quick could get away with it…..
I found it interesting that instead of having their club name on their uniforms, the Bees had one of their sponser’s names. They had that familiar look.
At the end of the day, the hometown fans went home happy with a 6-2 over New Britain. There’s one play that I really wish I had photos to capture, but only a video would have done justice to. So let’s go to the video and the call. Video credit: Lancaster Barnstormers
Clipper Magazine Stadium is a fantastic venue to catch a game. I really had fun there, and if you are in the area, it has to be a must see for any baseball fan!