On the Road: Visiting Dan Daniel in Danville

To see all posts from my July 3 visit to the Danville Braves, click HERE. To see all my posts from my June/July 2016 Appalachian League Road Trip, click HERE. To see all my “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).

The penultimate stop on my Appalachian League trip was Danville, Virginia, the land of the free and the home of the Rookie-level Braves. The Braves play at American Legion Post 325 Field, often referred to as “Legion Field” because who has time for a 12-syllable ballpark name?

Not me. I barely had time to take a photo before I crossed the street.

img_0110Legion Field is located within Dan Daniel Memorial Park, a city-owned recreation complex.

img_0108Despite the gray skies, a robust crowd was expected at Legion Field on this Sunday evening.

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For this was not just any Sunday evening. It was Independence Day Eve. David Cross, longtime D-Braves general manager, was dressed for the occasion.

img_1864Almost immediately upon arriving, I met with Danville Register-Bee writer Jordan Bondurant.

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Jordan interviewed me on the field prior to the game, which led to this story (and accompanying video). When we were done talking, I turned around and took a poorly composed photo.

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I also took note of that which was occurring atop the dugout.

Mascot Blooper! was decked in his patriotic best, and joined by special guest Captain America. A 5′ 6″, 145-pound Captain America.

img_0117The gentleman in the below photo was selling 50-50 raffle tickets; at the time this picture was taken he reported $301 “in the kitty.”

“Whoo-ee!” he then added, leading me to believe that $301 was a lot to have in the kitty before the game had even begun.

img_0119I spent several minutes pondering the slogan on this team bus, which was parked just outside the ballpark. “Experience!” and “Excellence!” are presented as separate positive traits, but I initially read it as a command to “Experience Excellence!”

img_0122But wait! On the back of the bus it simply says “Experience Excellence”. Is “Experience” now a verb? Or did they simply not have the room for an exclamation point?

img_0124The bus inspired me to experience excellence for myself, by gazing upon this wonderful wall art.

img_0123Blooper!, meanwhile, was gazing upon the field. The evening’s ballgame — between Danville and the visiting Burlington Royals — had begun.

img_0125Like the rest of us, the D-Braves bullpen could only sit back and relax. Chill out. Take in the atmosphere.

img_1872The ballpark was packed, the front office staff was busy, and I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I just wandered around, taking in the various views while trying not to obscure the views of others.

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img_0133I spent several innings with Brooke and Mary, that evening’s designated eaters. That has already been documented in a separate post.

img_0136I went on to spend some time (like, three minutes) in the press box. The chairs are yellow.

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As the evening wore on, the bleachers got fuller and fuller. The bleachers got fuller because fireworks were to follow.

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Tonight’s winning lottery numbers?

img_1889Winning numbers? Maybe. But winning team? No. Burlington won by a score of 3-2.

Many of the Braves players were gracious in defeat, high-fiving fans and signing autographs en route to the home clubhouse.

img_1892The game was followed by fireworks. If there’s one thing I can guarantee regarding my fireworks photos,  it’s that they will be awful.

img_1893But I can also guarantee that my Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke, disseminated nightly, will be awesome.

Goodnight from Danville, Virginia.

***

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

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