From SABR member Jen Mac Ramos at The Hardball Times on September 9, 2016:
You can see the sun setting over the center field fence. Ceremonial first pitches have been thrown and the team radio broadcaster now addresses the crowd at Sam Lynn Ballpark.
Dan Besbris, the broadcaster and assistant general manager, acknowledges the front office, the team and the fans, and makes one request as the Bakersfield Blaze’s time as a team gets closer to its end: “Don’t forget Sam Lynn.”
It’s the last home game of the regular season at Sam Lynn Ballpark. What makes this game special and memorable is that it’s the last regular season home game ever for Sam Lynn and the Blaze, which has been the High-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. At the end of August, Minor League Baseball announced that the Blaze would be contracted at the end of the season, along with the High Desert Mavericks, and two teams will be added to the Carolina League. The Mariners are likely going to keep an affiliate in the California League, though nothing has been announced.
It’s not as hot as most summer days in Bakersfield, nor are there any dust clouds. It’s clear and a bit breezy. Fans pass through the Dennis “Froggy” Gallion gate and the Johnny Wheeler gate at 6:15 p.m.—about an hour and 15 minutes before the game starts.
Near first base and third base on the field are the words “SAM LYNN 1941-2016” spray painted in the dirt. Behind home plate the words “THANK YOU BAKERSFIELD 75” are stenciled in. You can feel the energy as people file in, that they’re saying goodbye to a piece of them.
It’s bittersweet, some would say. But it’s not without its Bakersfield quirks—the things that make it stand out in the California League.
Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/dont-forget-sam-lynn/
Originally published: September 9, 2016. Last Updated: September 9, 2016.