Thursday, June 24, 2010

Take Me Out To the Ball Game

Kelowna Falcons Logo

The Kelowna Falcons play ball here.  The team is part of the West Coast League

Most of the players are American kids who play for NCAA schools during the school year.  Some of these kids go on to sign with MLB Teams.

I love going to the Falcons home games.  It’s the only place I can hear the National Anthem in public.   

This is minor league ball.  I refer not only to the standard of play, but to the atmosphere as well.  The Falcons owners have done an outstanding job of securing sponsors for little events that go on during the games.  The PizzaWay pizza eating contest is always a hoot. So it the TD tire roll-off. There are base races and cup-of-water races.  The bat spin is sometimes more exciting than the game itself.  It takes some getting used to.

All the home games are broadcast by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guy called Ryan Watters.  The games are live on the Falcons home page and on AM1150.  Because I’m 57, it makes more sense to me to take a transistor radio to the ball park than an iPhone to listen to the game.  But people here don’t seem to get that part of the experience of the ballgame is listening to the home team announcer, so I also bring an earphone.

Of course, the games are on an AM station, the radio is mono, and plugging in a “regular” set of ear buds means sound in just the left ear.  I got tired of the right ear bud dangling and getting in my beer, so I went into The Source looking for a cheap mono ear bud.

The Source used to be RadioShack in Canada, and then it was known as The Source by Circuit City.  Now it’s not even that, it’s just The Source.  To give you an idea, one of my customers went to The Source to get a replacement CMOS battery for his computer.  The battery cost $6.99 CAD and they offered him an extended warranty for an additional $1.07 CAD.

I only go there for things that I need and can’t get anyplace else, like a really cheap mono ear bud.  I found one in there for $4.99 and took it to the counter.

The young lady at the register (or “till” as they say here), picked up the item, looked it over and said, “What are you going to do with this?”

I tried to explain to this maybe-20-year-old that I need to plug it in to my mono transistor radio so I can listen to an AM station while I am at the ballgame.

Blank stare.

She didn’t get “mono” or “transistor” or “AM station” and I am pretty sure she didn’t get “ballgame” either.  (She did, of course, want to sell me an extended warranty.)

The entire baseball experience is underappreciated by most people in Kelowna, it seems to me.  If your only knowledge of baseball comes from watching a couple of ex-Blue Jays do the commentary on Canadian cable TV, maybe it’s hard to relate to watching minor league baseball live while listening to a decent play-by-play man.  Maybe trying to bring baseball to Kelowna, in Canada, is like trying to bring hockey to San Jose, in California… Hang on a minute.

An evening at the ball park is a great evening, win or lose.  Thank you to the Nonis family for bringing quality baseball to Kelowna, and keeping it here, against all odds, for ten years.


Jode said...

Play ball, eh? Sounds like much fun.

catester said...

He's no Jack Buck, but Ryan does a better job than all of the announcers I've heard for the USA teams in the league.

Christine said...

The extended warranty on batteries is something The Source offered back when it was still Radio Shack, and though some people make fun of it, I've used it (and came ahead) on one occasion.

I had an SLR camera (pre-digital) that took an odd battery that I could never seem to find at most stores; Radio Shack, however, had them. The first time I bought them I refused the extended warranty, scoffing at the idea of paying (I think) $1.99 per battery when, as you metnioned, the item only cost around $6. But, when I drained the battery when I forgot to turn the camera off one day about a month later, I wasn't laughing.

I went back and bought a new set and purchased the extended warranty, which they keep on file, so you didn't have to keep your receipt to use, and a few months later got a new set for free, and then a few months after that got a second set. Apparently I had a problem with leaving my camera on when I put it away, and the model I had didn't turn itself off after a minute or two.

Anyway, long story short, I ended up getting several sets of batteries for the $1.99 extended warranty and saving a few dollars. Probably the only time I've bought extended warranty that I've actually used it. But I did feel slightly vindicated after my husband laughed at me for buying it in the first place. ;)

catester said...

Thanks, Christine. Ironically and sadly, my customer who declined the battery warranty passed away, but the battery lives on.

Thanks for your story. Maybe next time I'll take the warranty!