Jul 2010 04

Happy fourth of July, everyone!

As I sit in my condo overlooking the lovely beach on Fort Walton, Florida, I really wish I’d put on sunscreen yesterday. Although I am Asian, apparently I can sunburn.

Anyway, I’m aware that the majority of my posts revolves around the Cardinals, but as you may vaguely be aware, there is another baseball team that presides within St. Louis. Considered a semi-pro team, the River City Rascals are out to prove that a night out at the ballpark doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to be entertaining.

Playing in the independent Frontier League, the Rascals won their division last year and ended up finishing second in the league. This year, the Rascals sit in second place with a 22-20 record, second, 14 games behind the Southern Illinois Miners.

Outfielder Stephen Holdren is the driving force behind the Rascals’ offense, hitting .261 but slugging 7 HR with 36 RBI in 42 games. He’s also reaching base at a .367 clip and slugging .503. Infielder Scott Robinson and 2B Doug Sanders have also provided steady run-providing insurance, driving in 26 runs each. Josh Banda also provides power for the team, hitting 7 HR and driving in 24.

Pitching-wise, Gary Moran has been the most consistent starting pitcher for the Rascals. He’s started eight games and has gone 3-3 with a 3.05 ERA. He’s struck out 32 hitters against just ten walks and held opponents t o a .256 batting average. Jason Lowey has been an extremely dependable closer, posting 12 saves and striking out 30 in just 18 innings pitched, compiling an even 3.00 ERA.

If you’ve never been to a Rascals game before, well, you’re probably not in small company, but it’s a shame. T.R. Hughes Ballpark, located off highway 70 out in St. Charles county, is a small yet attractive ballpark. Tickets range in price from a mere $6-11 for the best box seats. There are all-star suite packages available for a bit more for all-you-can-eat buffets and the like. Food is reasonably priced as well, with a hot dog costing just $1.50 (compared to $5 and upwards at Busch!).

One other intriguing thought when watching these guys play is pondering whether any of them might make it to the majors. Although the Frontier League is an independent league, several of its players have gone on to play in the major leagues. Some of these players have also played for the St. Louis Cardinals, including Jason Simontacchi, Matt Duff, and Josh Kinney.

So if you’re looking for something to do this summer that won’t cost a lot of money, check out the Rascals. Take in a game, have a few cold ones, and who knows? Maybe someday down the road you’ll see one or two of these guys in the future playing in a slightly bigger venue.


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