Column: Bombers offer a trip back in time

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Dubois County Bombers shortstop Simon Scherry (2) reacts after hitting a two-run single in the bottom of the second inning of Friday evening’s game against the Owensboro RiverDawgs at League Stadium in Huntingburg.

By JIMMY LAFAKIS
jlafakis@dcherald.com

I can’t imagine a more satisfying sound than the crack of a wood bat against a baseball. It’s a perfect marriage of two harmonious objects working in concert.

I was quite pleased to hear that sound during my first Dubois County Bombers game on Friday evening. The Bombers welcomed the Owensboro RiverDawgs to historic League Stadium for an opening-night Ohio Valley League contest.

Cowbells rattled throughout the stadium as the Bombers’ starting lineup was introduced. Players jogged onto the freshly-chalked field with their stirrups raised high. Those sights and sounds affirmed one notion — summer looms over the horizon.

As a young boy, I soaked up everything that baseball had to offer. I learned about the Polo Grounds and all of the players who made history inside its hallowed fences. Friday evening offered a blend of retro and contemporary action, and my inner baseball junkie appreciated the unique opportunity.

Beyond the wood bats and stirrups, I also made note of the stadium’s intimacy. Fans chatted with the Bombers along the first-base dugout before the first pitch. When the RiverDawgs hit a foul ball, spirited Bombers supporters made sure that everyone knew it was foul. It was a quintessential Indiana experience — one of those moments you just have to see for yourself.

Of course, I must mention League Stadium’s historic tie-in with “A League of Their Own,” a motion picture truly ahead of its time. League Stadium ignites the imagination, and it was neat to think about the Rockford Peaches thriving in their all-female league. I smiled to myself when I imagined the team lighting up the vintage scoreboard in left field. The scoreboard adds a certain charm to the mix.

In a 1992 review, the late American film critic Roger Ebert lauded “A League of Their Own” for its ingenuity and intrigue. Ebert said, “The movie has a real bittersweet charm. The baseball sequences, we’ve seen before. What’s fresh are the personalities of the players, the gradual unfolding of their coach and the way this early chapter of women’s liberation fit into the hidebound traditions of professional baseball.” That is high praise from a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Indeed, opening night’s buzz created an extra jolt of energy inside League Stadium. When the Bombers scored their first run in the bottom of the first inning, the home fans burst into a frenzy. The faithful supporters were certainly glad to be back at the ballpark, especially after the extended hiatus.

Friday evening’s game marked the dawn of something new yet familiar, something historic yet modern. As I peered into the outfield, I wondered how many future Major League Baseball prospects will come through League Stadium this summer. With as much talent as I’ve seen on the local prep circuit, I’d imagine that several OVL players will hear their names called in future drafts.

Those thoughts are for down the road, though. For now, baseball is officially back in Dubois County. The sharp crack of the bat signifies the beginning of a new era.




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