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Hi! I'm in South Dakota

That’s a takeoff on the Wayne’s World line where Wayne is trying out the new green screen for the show and it shows him a background of Delaware, and he’s supposed to come up with something to say. He goes with (unenthusiastically), “Hi, I’m in Delaware.” I’m not unenthused about being in South Dakota, though. Mount Rushmore is here (though 333 miles away) and so are the Wingnuts.

Surely the Eagle wouldn’t send me to cover a game in Sioux Falls, right? Surely not. I travled up in a rental Kia Sportage with Jeremy and Asa, two members of the Nuthouse, section 118 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. Last year we went to St. Paul, so I suspect we’re just making our way north to south through American Association cities. Next year it’s Sioux City, followed by Lincoln, then Grand Prairie, Fort Worth, etc.

I got about three minutes down the road from my apartment this morning before I realized I’d forgotte. n my cell phone charger. When I went back to retrieve it, I should have also grabbed a sweatshirt. Because it’s not exactly warm up here — it’s windy and the sun isn’t out. But I’m in a (excessively) heated press box, so I can’t complain too much. Except about the excessive heat. And Jeremy and Asa are at Wal-Mart (allegedly) purchasing cheap long-sleeve T-shirts for everybody. We’re good.

We passed the Wingnuts’ bus on the way up here. It’s about a 7 1/2 hour drive from Wichita. We left at 9:05 or so and arrived at 4:35, so the math works out there. The bus didn’t arrive until about 5:40, so the Wingnuts will have to scamper a bit to get ready for this one. When we passed the bus, manager Kevin Hooper was asleep in the front, so I imagine everyone is well-rested.

The field is nice. Very nice. Much nicer than I expected. Actually, I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m very impressed. The dimensions are a little wacky, but the ballpark is clean and it has an intimate setting. It looks new — much newer, much nicer than Lawrence-Dumont. I have no problems with L-D, but this part is just nicer. Grass infield, that helps.

Now, about those dimensions. I’m reading them off the outfield wall here — 312 down the right field line, 330 to straight-away right field, 410 to just right of center, 393 to just left of center, 380 to the left field power alley, 343 to straight-away left, 317 to a little more left, and 313 down the left field line. No dimension posted for the right-field power alley, but it’s probably 360 or so, I’d say. Lots of turns and corners, so it might be difficult for outfielders who aren’t used to it.

Interviewed Joe D’Alessandro for the first time last night and was impressed. Nice kid. He’s younger than me, I can call him “kid.” Not taking the loss of his closer’s role too hard. That’s the kind of guy you want on your team — doesn’t complain, just does what he’s told. Hopefully for the Wingnuts’ sake he reduces those shaky outings, because with his electric fastball he can be a weapon in the postseason.

Better go see what Jeremy and Asa are up to. I’m sure they’re in the parking lot, trying to relate to the Sioux Falls natives. The unlimited mileage on the rental car tells us we should check out Rushmore tomorrow, but the five-hour trip quickly talks us out of it. So tomorrow, or whenever, I’ll have a report on the happening town of Sioux Falls. Talk to you then. Or whenever.