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Gwinnett's style of ball no home run

My first reaction upon reading about Commissioner Bert Nasuti's proposal for a ballpark to host a minor league baseball team here in Gwinnett was, "It's about time."

Many of us here in the Post newsroom have often bemoaned the fact that Gwinnett does not have a pro baseball team. We've got hockey, we've got basketball, we had arena football, but a professional form of America's pastime is noticeably absent from Gwinnett's landscape.

How great would it be not to have to make the trek into Atlanta to watch nine innings? If we lured a Braves farm club we could check out the newest talent before it made it to Turner Field, a place where the words "disposable income" take on a whole new meaning.

Minor league baseball would be a great addition to the county. It's designed to be fun and (usually) affordable. The players haven't grown big egos or salaries yet, and sometimes you get the chance to see a big-league star while he rehabs an injury without having to pay the big-league price. Plus, minor league baseball is just cool.

Minor league teams have cool names like the Joliet Jackhammers, Hudson Valley Renegades or the Modesto Nuts, a team which has a tough-looking pair of mascots made up of an almond and walnut.

Minor league stadiums also have cool promotions like Marilyn Monroe Look-Alike Night, Richard Nixon Bobblehead Night or the Hagerstown Suns' Funeral Night, where one fan won a complete trip to the Great Beyond, including embalming.

All that right in my backyard? Obviously, I was excited.

That is until I read this quote from Nasuti: "It's another way to boost Gwinnett as a destination point."

That brought me screaming back to reality.

Gwinnett is already a destination point. We already built it, and they came. Nearly three-quarters of a million people live here and not even God knows how many drive through here every day.

The county is rapidly running out of room while making sure no one forgets that "Success Lives Here." Where Success lives and where the county pretends it lives, of course, is a topic for another day. But the point is minor league fun is geared toward blue-collar people. So could there be any hope that the county wouldn't "Gwinnettify" a minor league team? Probably not.

What kind of promotions and contests could a Gwinnett team have then? Here's a few ideas:

•I've Got a Bigger House Night: Homeowners get in free, provided they can show a copy of a mortgage that is a) less than six months old b) for at least $500,000 c) for a home that is four sides brick and d) not more than 6 feet from the house next door.

•Make Your Own Bat Night: Fans can carve their own lumber, but only from trees developers bulldozed to make way for strip malls that will be vacant in six months.

•My Kid Is An Honor Student at, Well, I Forget Which School Night: Free admission for all students who live next door to a sign marking the future home of a Gwinnett County school that will take the place of the school they started going to this year that took the place of the trailer they went to school in last year.

•Illegal Landscaper Night: Free beer for all illegal immigrant workers, provided they work at least one inning helping the ground crew drag the field.

•Rush Hour Night: The game starts at 5 p.m. Free admission for anyone who can make it there through Gwinnett traffic by then.

I would love to see minor league baseball in Gwinnett. But I want just that: minor league baseball in Gwinnett.

Not Gwinnett's version of minor league baseball.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. Have any thoughts about this column? Share them with us at letters@gwinnettdailypost.com. Letters should be no more than 200 words and are subject to approval by the publisher. Letters may be edited for style and space requirements. Please sign your name and provide an address and a daytime telephone number. Address letters for publication to: Letters to the Editor, Gwinnett Daily Post, P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0603. The fax number is 770-339-8081.