This week was opening week for the Florence Freedom of the independent Frontier League, and I attended the game last night. This was my third independent league game (St Paul Saints and Rockford Riverhawks) and I loved every minute of it. The Freedom won 12-5 behind a strong pitching performance by knuckleballer Chris Webb, and the player of the game was definitely catcher Josh Lex, who had 2 doubles, 2 home runs, and a club-record 6 RBI.
Florence is a special little town about 15 miles south of Cincinnati in northern Kentucky and is one of the area's most rapidly growing cities. For those of you back home, it reminded me a lot of Appleton/Dykesville/Sturgeon Bay, and for those of you in Ohio, it is very similar to the Batavia Pike area. I love driving to Kentucky, because aside from the tourist Newport area, it's like a whole other country. You just feel like you have entered a foreign land when you go to Appalachia, and so I knew I was in for a big treat at the game.
The stadium itself is literally right off I-75 - I could see the "Champion Window Field" sign from the freeway exit. As with all great independent/minor league parks...awesome giveaways and promotions. Thursdays are "Thirsty Thursdays" in which Budweiser and soda are $1. As much as I un-support Busch and Coors products, I couldn't pass up the deal. There was a batter for the Freedom called the "Pesticide Inc. Pest of the Game," and the deal was if he got on base, an entire row of fans got a seat cushion. Unfortunately, despite the fact that he had 2 hits and 2 walks, I did not obtain one of these. I spent a total of around $35 on a pair of mesh shorts, 2 beers, a burger, a ticket, parking, a program, and a magnet schedule, with the latter three of the list being free items. Unfortunately I won't be around for any Dollar Mondays, but I will definitely be returning to take in some more Frontier League action, where you can pay $8 to sit so close you can hear the umpire.
Look for photos of the stadium/game to be posted this weekend sometime.
**A side note: top positional prospect Ryan Braun (3B) was called up for the Brewers today and will start in San Diego over the weekend for his major league debut. Elmer Dessens was placed on the 15-day DL.
LAST NIGHT'S RESULTS:
Twins off (22-24)
Brewers off (28-19)
Reds L (18-30)