Thursday, February 19, 2009

Baseball Place No. 13: Lawrence-Dumont Stadium

The National Baseball Congress World Series features a 56-hour marathon of 17 straight games, drawing diehards to historic Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita, Kan.

My time there was far shorter.

Josh Pahigian picked the stadium and the NBC Hall of Fame as spot No. 13 in “101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out.”

I was attending an education writers conference in Denver when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. Two days later my Flint Journal editors learned that Terry Nichols, who once lived in the area and still had family three, was involved.

I was told to check out, catch a flight to Kansas, learn more about this man and follow his first court appearances.

Those adventures are among the wildest of my career -- they're here -- and of course we worked a little baseball into the picture.

I had a little bit of time to run to Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The Wichita Wranglers were on the road, but folks were kind enough to open a gift shop for me and allow for some photo-taking.

I was surprised to see an artificial turf infield, but supposedly that’s to withstand the pounding from the two-week tournament.

I caught a flight out of Kansas City after the court proceedings were over, and had a little bit of two more stops, the Harry S Truman Museum and then Kauffman Stadium, where the Royals team bus was pulling away for a road trip – and kind staffers once again opened a gift store and allowed me to wander around and snap photos.


OK, if you read the comments, M Mayes pointed out something I didn't see. The scoreboard at Lawrence-Dumont has a goose that clucks along and drops a "goose egg" on the line score when the visiting team doesn't score a run.

If you treasure the 1972 Topps baseball set as I do, you'll like his blog, which is here.

I found this photo of the goose in action on an amazing site called The Lope that features Ace, a well-dressed jackalope, who apparently travels all over the place and gets people to pose with him, even members of the band Yes. It's worth checking out!


MMayes said...

I went to a game there in 2002 while the Wranglers were still there. The place was an absolute dump. I think the spectacle of the NBC is more the attraction than the stadium.

MMayes said...

I forgot.

One thing you missed by not seeing a Wrangler game there was the scoreboard. It must be some local tradition, but when the visiting team was held without a run, there is a mechanical hen or something like that which "walks" across the top of the scoreboard and drops a "goose egg" onto that inning for the visiting team.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,
What are they going to do with all of the feral cats that have occupied Shea for years? And by cats, I don't mean bad asses like you and me (you qualify as a BA ever since you took me as a hostage an made me drink beer in Mexico, at knife point as I recall).

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Tim, I'm pretty sure those cats are making the trip to the new stadium. Of course, they can't enter until the official "inaugural season" patch is affixed to their sides.

I am a mere bad ass apprentice to the master that is my cousin!