The Florence Freedom are an independent baseball team in Florence, Kentucky (obviously). If you live around Cincinnati or Florence and you have not been to the UC Health Stadium, you should check it out some day. It is an extraordinary stadium, especially for independent baseball. On August 19th I was there for the first ever Florence Freedom Legends Game. This particular Legends Game brought back players from the Reds and the Chicago Cubs. There were autograph sessions and a 7 inning baseball game. If you timed everything right you could get all of the players autographs. It was also really cool to see some of those guys get back in the batters box but the crowd was pretty small, and that is very unfortunate.
The Legends In Attendance
As I said, there were former players there from both teams; obviously I was there more for the former Cubs players than the Reds. The players that were in attendance are:
Me with one of my favorite players from the 2003 season, Kyle Farnsworth
I was lucky enough to get to see Farnsworth and Patterson play when the Cubs almost made it to the World Series back in 2003. However, I have never seen the other guys swing a bat. I think, of all the guys there, the most surprising was Lenny Harris. He still has some quick moves and he can still make the throw from 3rd to 1st.
Something else that made the game entertaining was watching these former players give each other a hard time. Lenny Harris and Bill Madlock were especially entertaining. Madlock would take up the position of 3rd base coach and give meaningless signals to the batter and Harris would try to stall the base runner until the ball was thrown to him.
Take Me Out to the …. Crowd?
The total capacity of UC Health Stadium is approximately 4,500 seats; however it seemed as though there were barely 500 people there. I was surprised by this considering the caliber of the former Reds players as well as the free autograph session. During the game, someone who works for the Florence Freedom came down by our seats and sat across the aisle from us. He commented about how they “were expecting twice as many people”. They thought that by bringing together two teams with a long rivalry would attract more fans. I certainly understand his conundrum.
On the other hand, I feel like this event lacked sufficient advertising. I only heard about it because I have a friend on Facebook that “liked” the Florence Freedom page which was advertising the game. I never saw anything about it on the local stations nor on the radio. I was even more surprised by the latter since they had two radio DJs as pitch hitters for the Reds. One of them is a DJ for a station I listen to every day, thus my confusion as to why the game was never mentioned on the air.
Granted this was the “first ever” Florence Freedom Legends Game so perhaps one of their lessons learned was to advertise more. I hope there will be a “second ever” Legends Game. I’m even considering attending a couple of Florence Freedom games as well. They are in first place in the Frontier division and UC Health Stadium really is a beautiful ball park. I highly recommend getting out there for a game and keep your eyes and ears open for next years Florence Freedom Legends Game.
(Coming Soon: A gallery of pictures from the game)
I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!