Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ring Your Bell

Columbus has a AAA baseball team who is moving stadiums come next season. While I totally support the move from the current location to the more vibrant downtown Arena District, I felt a few pangs of nostalgia as this baseball season is coming to a close. See, as a little girl, I spent many memorable summer evenings with my parents and older brothers watching Clippers games. We usually sat behind the Clippers dugout and at the time the team was the farm affiliate of the New York Yankees. This gave us the chance to watch rookies move up through the system, in the early 80s we would have watched Don Mattingly before he got called up to the majors. (Some good Clippers history here.) Actually, I was probably not so into the baseball at that time. I found it more fun to place the stickers from the Cracker Jack boxes to the seats in front of me and to spend most of the game ringing the cow bell that was for some reason part of the fan experience. There was a song that went along with ringing the bell..."Columbus Clippers our fans are half the fun, whether we are winning or if we've had a spell, Columbus Clippers ring your bell." As I got older, my brothers would hide the bell from me because I was evidently supporting the team a little too much.

So it was with all of these memories (and more) that Chris and I joined some friends at Cooper Stadium for the last Dime-A-Dog night in the current stadium. A perfect late summer evening, Monday night drew in many fans wanting to see the stadium one last time and probably like me, relive their own Clippers at Cooper stadium memories.

The stadium seemed smaller than I remembered and the souvenir stand was sold out of bells, but there is still something magical about minor league baseball in a small stadium brimming with young families. And while the Cracker Jacks came in a bag instead of the traditional box, there was still a surprise inside (sadly no stickers). I didn't hear the Ring Your Bell song, but the Clippers pulled out a win.

I'm looking forward to visiting the new stadium and creating new memories with our children, but I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for what I knew as Cooper Stadium, home of the Clippers.

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