Our next official stop is a parking lot in Madison, WI. After listening to some Saturday afternoon MLB games, this is where UBT13 baseball truly begins.
We exit toward a sandlot ball field where a couple of youngsters have a pre-game catch. Families picnic and relax beneath the trees.
Mitch pulls two tee shirts from a box. Tees with a baseball logo on front and game schedule on back are UBT tradition since our very first trip.
Folks approach the wearer, both on and even well after UBT, to ask questions and validate our obsession. We hear a lot of “I always wanted to do that.” As you’ll continue to read, Mitch and I don’t just want.
Turning behind us, we soak in the Duck Pond, aka Warner Park. As we approach the entrance, we feel an energy that never dissipates throughout our incredible evening.
The LaCrosse Loggers and Madison Mallards line up on each baseline for pre-game. The area behind the concourse is packed with a variety of concessions and paying customers.
Northwoods League college wood bat baseball is alive and doing quite well in Madison, averaging 6,200 energetic fans per game. Tate Matheny (Mike’s son), a freshman at Missouri State, roams the Mallards outfield.
Mitch and I soak in a quick top of the first from the concourse railing behind home plate. As we prepare to head for our seats, an usher notices the UBT itinerary on our backs.
Chris Burwell, the usher, takes us aside. More UBT magic.
Following a quick introductory chat, he has someone that he wants us to meet. Who’s talking with a sponsor a few steps away? Steve Schmitt, the Mallards friendly owner, who quickly asks Chris to grant us VIP treatment. General Manager, Conor Caloia, also stops by for an introduction.
Chris carefully fits Mitch and me with wristbands and shows us upstairs to a sprawling deck behind home plate called the Tricor/West Bend Club. We enjoy the game, conversing with other fans and staff, and the goodies from here until the final out is recorded in the Mallards’ easy 9-1 win.
From Deep Short