By Mike Beatty
The Joplin Globe
Yes, professional baseball is returning to Joplin. It’s our tryout to see if we can and will support a professional baseball team.
At 2 p.m. on Mother’s Day, May 12, the Kansas City T-Bones and the Wichita Wingnuts will be playing their final exhibition game at historical Joe Becker Stadium. For you Kansas City Royals fans, Frank White is one of the coaches for the T-Bones.
If you haven’t been to Joe Becker, you are missing a great baseball experience. This game will serve as the kickoff to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a historical stadium that had baseball greats such as Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Joe Garagiola, Ken Boyer and Whitey Herzog play on its field.
For you baseball trivia fans, did you know that minor league baseball was played on Joe Becker until 1954. Today the field is home to our MSSU Lions, and this summer it will be the home of the Joplin Outlaws. There has been a lot of work done on the stadium this year with a new concession area, new locker facility for the umpires and new press box. My family and I have enjoyed many MSSU games there over the years and find it a great place to watch baseball.
As a baseball fan, father of a young aspiring baseball player, having played the game myself and coached Little League, I confess that I have a self-serving interest in seeing Joe Becker Stadium full of fans. I would welcome and support a minor league baseball team if it chooses Joplin. I look forward to the day where we would have a multi-purpose stadium that would host baseball as well as many other events.
There is nothing more fun than taking your family to a baseball game on a warm sunny day, taking in the smell of hot dogs being made on the grill, enjoying peanuts, popcorn and cracker jacks while you enjoy a great game. The best part of minor league games is you and your kids can get the close-up experience of chasing foul balls, getting close to the action and the players and really getting the feel for what it is like to be on the field.
I know this game is on Mother’s Day, but if your mom is anything like mine (the Granny basketball player who also was a catcher on a fast pitch softball team), she would love to be with the family enjoying a great family experience in the sun. Dads and kids, you may want to do what I am planning to do. To ensure that taking mom to the ball park is a great experience, I suggest strongly you take her out either before or after the game to one of our fine restaurants and buy her a great present from one of our advertisers.
So here’s your plan. On May 12 the gates are going to open at noon. You will want to be there early as all tickets are first come first serve and available to the first 1,000 fans. Moms get in free with a paid admission. Kids get $1 off if they come in uniform. Tickets are only $5 for adults and $3 for kids. Bring lawn chairs just in case as there will be room inside the stadium on the third-base side if all the seating is taken.
Then it’s 1, 2, 3 strikes you’re out at the old ball game!