I guess you guys are wondering why I put the hat logo of this Minor League Baseball Team as a starter to this article. Well to be honest it all intertwines with the support of the World’s favorite game and how it has had steady growth. I think we already know about those European or foreign professional athletes who play in the four leagues of the United States and Canada.
Kevin Garnett, Chad Johnson (It’s not Ocho Cinco anymore, Darrell Revis of the New York Jets won his bet), Kobe Bryant & of course the many players from Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Canada & the USA who play in the National Hockey League enjoy watching the game. But we rarely see those from Major League Baseball discuss about the World Cup or the game here. Bobby Abreu of the LA Angels of Anaheim who is from Venezuela is a fan and did come to Giants Stadium to watch the Red Bulls play when he was on the New York Yankees.
Americans who love the game is Shortstop Jack Wilson of the Seattle Mariners. When he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates and being interviewed on the pre-game show he wore a USA Soccer shirt and hat, of course recently Jozy Altidore was seen sitting in the NY Mets dugout with third baseman David Wright having a laugh before the game during batting practice.
But here is my story that should make everyone have a nice feeling that there are plenty of positives coming from those that play the game of baseball give respect to the world’s game that is known as Soccer/Football. Most of you know I traveled about a week ago to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to cover the Round 3 match of the US Open Cup as the New York Red Bulls faced the City Islanders of USL-2nd Division.
The sportsplex is on an actual Island along the Susquehanna River and can be reached from the main land by the Market St. car bridge or the Walnut St. walking bridge. The Minor League Baseball Stadium is towards the north end of the island and behind it is the soccer park where the City Islanders play their matches.
Now here is where it became full circle for me and my surprise at the same time. On the 4th of July weekend, my wife and I drove down to Trenton, New Jersey to see the Thunder (Double A Baseball level of the New York Yankees) play the Harrisburg Senators. We were sitting next to the visiting team’s dugout and as the game was finishing up I asked one of the players if his teammate was o.k. after taking a pitch that hit him in the left wrist.
After feeling concern I talked with starting pitcher Aaron Thompson who was traded from the Florida Marlins organization to the Washington Nationals and told him I was in Harrisburg for the US Open Cup match. To my greatest surprise he knew what I was talking about and he told me that he wished he was still in Harrisburg that day to watch the game, but was on the road in Portland, Maine to play the Sea Dogs.
To hear Aaron Thompson discuss soccer like it was a part of his life for a long time was refreshing. He told me he wants to see Red Bull Arena and down in Harrisburg on a re-hab assignment is Washington Nationals starting pitcher and Long Island native John Lannan, who currently has season tickets with his family at New York Red Bulls matches.
Aaron Thompson hails from Houston, Texas and when I informed him of the new agreement for the Dynamo’s new stadium, he was so happy to hear it that he can’t wait for the shovel or the actual construction of the stadium to start. What a fabulous thing to hear and the hope for the games continued growth in the United States keeps on going and going up. I think we can have the belief that it won’t surpass Baseball or the NFL in this country. But as long as the game is respected and can join in along with the talk on all the sports shows on TV & Radio, that is very reasonable to ask for and right now it has been going in that direction. But there is one more thing about Mr. Thompson that I would love to add.
He knows that the US National Team program is improving & Major League Soccer is growing. He can’t wait to see our country one day win the World Cup and to see MLS as the top league in the world. We have to support our league because it will give us the best chance for our National Team to win the World Cup. When those magical days come, it will be very exciting to see & I hope Mr. Thompson has a good and long career when he reaches Major League Baseball and the Washington Nationals.