July 9, 2010

Legion Field has the best cup of coffee in town

Since moving to Montana, I've been aghast at the lack of Starbucks.

Coming from Washington where there was a Starbucks under my kitchen sink, the lack of the corporate coffee giant bent on ruling the world was slightly disconcerting. Where was I going to get my cup of joe and complain about the rain and the terrible play of the Seattle Mariners?

Well I found the perfect cup of joe, and the perfect place to get ballpark food for that manner. Having been to numerous minor-league baseball games, I'm use to a teenager with braces, desperate for a summer job, serving me a hot dog that's been sitting in lukewarm water for about six hours.

Not at Legion Field. Manned by the parents and families of the team, they put on a major league assortment of food. This stuff just isn't good, there's lots of it and it's cooked to order.This Saturday when some games were pushed backed because of rain, I found myself driving to the Legion Field specifically to get lunch and go home. No joke. And judging from the people hawking hot dogs back to their cars, I wasn't the only one.

People from Conrad who were attending the games over the weekend told the parents manning the stand that it was the best concessions they'd ever had.

A few weeks ago, I rolled out of bed bleary-eyed and stumbling over to Legion Field for an early game during the Babe Ruth Tournament. I was absolutely shocked when one of moms freshly brewed a cup of coffee for me. Special order.

I mean who does this? Even the most fancy pants restaurant gets their coffee from a pot. I was more perplexed and amazed than the Missoula Pioneers trying to hit Kyle Bagnell's curveball.

The variety of food is also shocking. They seriously offer more choices at their ballparks than most minor-league teams. By a long shot. I'm pretty sure they could be the only baseball park in America that has a breakfast menu. They're probably just weeks away from implementing the Mission Valley Mariners Happy Meal.

Operating the concession stand at Legion Field, families worked rotating three and a half hour shifts. One can only imagine the mayhem when entire teams mobbed the stand after a game looking for food. Limbs were undoubtedly lost.

Two parents, Daniel and Katrina Rausch, spent their 26th wedding anniversary this week at Legion Field. Katrina was instrumental in helping concessions run smoothly and Dan was behind the plate umpping and also is responsible for field maintenance.

I know they gave out a hustle award for the tournament, but wow, is there like a parent MVP award we can give to all of them or something?

Proceeds from the sales obviously go back to the team. Some of those funds help players that cant pay the fees to play ball. Leftovers from the proceeds can also go back into helping improve the field itself. While the prices there are extremely reasonable, I'd imagine I've spent enough in concessions to get third base named after me.

Or perhaps a urinal. That's more fitting for a journalist right?

This first thing Mission Valley Mariners head coach Jami Hanson said after winning the tournament was thanking everyone that helped. A few rain delays mixed things up a bit, but all the helping hands certainly made this weekend a good one.

And I found a great replacement for Starbucks. Now there just needs to be more morning games going on a Legion Field.

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