For a touch of Norman Rockwell America, try Harry Grove...

Salmagundi

June 24, 1992

For a touch of Norman Rockwell America, try Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick on Father's Day.

Sadly, the home-town Frederick Keys lost 5 to 3 to the visiting Peninsula Pilots this past Sunday. But that was the only glitch to mar a marvelous occasion.

Imagine 5,000 sun-soaked baseball fans, every seat the equivalent of a box behind the dugout at Camden Yards, tickets at $4 for general admission and $2 for seniors and little kids, the loud-speaker announcing umteen lucky numbers ($10 off a meal or a grocery bill), dads and granddads asked to stand up not once but twice for deserved tribute, three youngsters throwing out the first ball all on one-hops to the catcher, birthday greetings name by name, foul balls in such profusion that everyone had reason to hope for a cherished souvenir, the seventh inning stretch with everyone singing a ditty called "Shake Your Keys" and doing so accordingly, the inevitable queen for a day, public thanks for local organizers and promoters and, of course, enough food on sale to pay some of the rent.

Did we forget America's Favorite Pastime in the above scene-setter? Well, just let it be said that minor league baseball has a touch of the same magic seen in the major and little leagues. There is rigorous ritual, tingling tension, constant competitiveness and just the plain joy of playing and watching baseball.

Try it the next time the Orioles sell out down Baltimore way.

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