Sidewalk Ballfield

One of the best sidewalk experiences you can have in the Twin Cities is to be randomly in the neighborhood of Randolph and Hamline when a ballgame is going on.

You see, legendary Catholic sports high school, Cretin-Derham Hall, has one of the most sidewalk-friendly setups imaginable for a baseball field. Their ballfield is nestled snugly into the Ran-Ham neighobrhood. They play their games right on the streetcorner, with the 3rd base fences and the outfield walls pretty much flush against the street.

It means that anyone walking around this intersection on a nice day, lined with a bunch of interesting shops, will find themselves unexpectedly involved in a baseball game.

[The sidewalk warning track.]

I happened to find myself going to Kopplin's Coffee the other day and ran into a coach wearing the uniform for my old high school. I proceeded to get a coffee, and read a book while lounging on the grass and watching the Warriors win a close game against the CDH squad.

As the game goes on, you have different types of spectators: regulars who come to see some pretty good high school baseball, family of the players, and then there are just passers-by who typically lean against the highly-leanable ballfield fence, resting their feet on the bottom rail, and pausing for a while to see the baseball action.

[Two men demonstrating proper fence-leaning technique.]

Otherwise, you can sit at the Kopplin's cafe tables and see some of the game. Every once in a while a foul ball will escape the bounds of the field, and land onto a parked car. Then it's the duty of the closest pedestrian to fetch the ball and toss it back to whichever high school benchwarmer is running to get the strays.

[Home plate acheives peak voyeur density, two layers of leaners.]

It's a real neighborhood event, and there's just no way that a huge suburban high school campus can compete with the intimacy and personality of the Cretin-Derham ballfield. It's my favorite place to to see a ballgame this side of Wrigley or Fenway.

[You know you've really hit a home run if your baseball lands in The Nook.]


Anonymous said...

That is a great setup for a ballfield.. never really watched a game there, but it is conspicuous for its watchability.

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