Round Rock, Texas

His skull had split and broken away from crown to the base of his neck. A Cuban, pottery, "speak no evil" monkey that had stowed away in Sue Anne's purse across Canada, Grand Cayman, Europe and the US before meeting a terrible fate at the ball park in Round Rock, Texas.

Just nights before, Willie Nelson, John Melloncamp and Bob Dylan had entertained at the same stadium, but the night the monkey died it was the Round Rock Express and the Portland Beavers. It is amazing that anyone saw the game. True to modern design and marketing expectations, the ball park in Round Rock has picnic areas, playground equipment, a basketball court, swimming pool, berm ball courts and numerous other attractions or distractions from the baseball game.

You do not have to be a baseball fan to have memories of the places the game is played. I will never forget walking from the evening twilight into a fully lit up Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC. Somehow the greenest grass always grows on the playing field.

The park in Round Rock captures the same sense of supernaturally green grass that is the hallmark of ball parks everywhere. It is the atmosphere of minor league ball parks that Nelson, Melloncamp and Dylan sought to honor with their ball park tour.

It is difficult to walk the mall around the park in Round Rock and think that there is much in common with the minor league parks of 50 years ago. Restaurants, bars, shops and an office building surround the field and focus attention on the jumbo screen that replays the game and directs the between inning competitions for free dinners and oil changes. Ball parks do no look the same.

What is the same is the thirty friends who occupied four rows in section 112. What is the same is the beer and peanuts. What is the same is sitting in the fading sunlight with friends to visit and allow the baseball game to play out. The pace of baseball seems to fit better with the heat of summer and spectators who can socialize. A ball park and a game can create an aura, but it is really all about the people who gather there.

Everyone in section 112 was greatly concerned about the monkey. Had the skull fragments been saved? Where else could that many people ask the same question? Only at a baseball game where we have time to soak up the atmosphere and visit with friends.

The home town Express won, 6 to 3.

Lee McGavin, Leander, Texas 2009

Add your story to this page!

Comment on this Story

Add a New Comment

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License