Harry Greninger walked up to me and started laughing.
“You’re working hard,” he said.
“Some days I can hardly keep up with everything,” I said back to Harry, who laughed again.
See, Harry was thinking I wasn’t working hard because I was sitting in the second row behind home plate at Joe Becker Stadium watching the Missouri Southern Lions baseball team play the Fort Hays Tigers on a sunny, warm spring afternoon.
Hey, I didn’t just magically appear at Joe Becker, I did have to drive to the ballpark.
I think that’s something.
And before I drove to Joe Becker, I attended a musical brown bag lunch at Grace Episcopal Church in Carthage for a column that I plan to write in a few weeks.
It wasn’t all rest and relaxation.
OK, the truth is I really wasn’t working that hard Monday. I decided to go to Joe Becker when I found out that the game — originally scheduled to be played in Fort Hays — had to be moved to Joplin because of the recent heavy snows in western Kansas. The fact that the weather in Joplin was near perfect made my decision even easier.
I don’t get out to Joe Becker as often as I would like, so when I get a chance like I did Monday, I jump at it. Besides, I wanted to check on the work that the city’s parks and recreation department has done to upgrade the press box and concession area at Joe Becker.
Between the first and second innings, Chris Cotton, the parks and recreation director, took me to the press box. There still is a little bit of touch-up work that needs to be done, but the remodeled and expanded press box looks great.
I checked out the concession area on my own. The way I did that was to ask the nice lady at the window for a cheeseburger and a bottle of water. I was pretty sure the cheeseburger would be good because I could see a guy flipping a bunch of them on the grill. It’s always a good sign when you can watch your burger being grilled.
When I got my burger, I put some mustard on it, found my seat behind home plate and took a bite. It was very good. Maybe not “Mutt Burger” good, but so good that I decided to have a second one. Who knows? Maybe what made the Mutt Burger — served up for so many years by the late Mutt Miller — so good was the idea of the Mutt Burger. In any event, as good as Mutt Burgers were, I can say the burgers I had Monday were also pretty good.
Did I mention that I had two of them?
The great thing about watching baseball at Joe Becker is you get to sit pretty much right on top of the action. Because of that you can usually notice something neat that you might have missed at a bigger ballpark.
For example, in the first inning of the first game, Lions outfielder Dane Kolkmeyer came up to bat with runners on second and third and only one out. In a situation like that, the batter’s sole responsibility is to drive that runner from third to home either by a hit, a long fly ball or even a well-placed ground-ball out. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, you just need to get that runner home.
Dane struck out that time.
A couple of innings later, Dane was at the plate again. I was anxious to see if he had learned anything from his first at-bat. A few pitches later, I got my answer when Dane slammed the ball over the left field fence for a home run.
That’s why I like to watch baseball at Joe Becker.
Harry Greninger walked up to me and started laughing.
- Local News
State audit of Joplin School District begins
Staff members from the state auditor’s office have begun their audit of the Joplin School District, Superintendent C.J. Huff said Monday. They are expected to be in the district four days per week for the next five to six months, or perhaps longer, until the audit is complete, Huff said.
Burglary conviction draws shock prison time
A Joplin man who received 120 days of shock incarceration time Friday in a drunken-driving case in Jasper County Circuit Court was assessed a concurrent sentence Monday in a burglary case.
Mike Pound: Family gatherings mirror circle of life
The annual family gathering is getting bigger. There tends to be an ebb and a flow to most family gatherings. When you’re a kid, and especially if you’re a kid from a large Catholic family, the gatherings seem to be huge.
Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case
A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.
Main Street TIF district study to begin
A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.
Area communities, Jasper County work to improve communications
The first law enforcement officer to respond to a fatal shooting last November at Northpark Mall was from the Duquesne Police Department — not Joplin. Joplin police Chief Jason Burns said he wasn’t bothered by that. “We dispatch for them, and they had an officer close who could get there faster,” he said. “And getting help to people as quickly as possible is more important than jurisdictions.”
New and old TIF districts on agenda for Joplin council
Another tax increment financing district is being proposed for Joplin, this one along South Main Street. The area is close to the new Mercy Hospital Joplin that is set to open next year. RKS Development is seeking authorization from the Joplin City Council when it meets Monday night to prepare a request to establish a TIF district.
Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Family grows by one — a black Lab named Raven
If you haven’t experienced the feeling of a tiny puppy in your lap at the end of a perfect July Saturday — hammock time, s’mores, leisurely walks, you know the kind — I highly recommend it. It is pure joy.
Jo Ellis: Car show, sidewalk sale and more scheduled for weekend in Carthage
All roads leading to Carthage should be packed this weekend as numerous events geared toward entertainment, cultural pursuits and bargain hunting are expected to pull in large crowds.
Susan Redden: Hobby Lobby lawyer to speak at watermelon feed
Josh Hawley, who helped represent Hobby Lobby in arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on contraception requirements in the Affordable Care Act, has been added to the list of speakers for Thursday’s annual watermelon feed sponsored by Newton County Republicans.
- More Local News Headlines
- State audit of Joplin School District begins