A Trip To The Big E Lands Me At The Big SC

Saturday, Rachel and I had planned to visit Springfield, Massachusetts and the Big E, or the Eastern States Exposition. The Big E is a gigantic New England state fair packed with rides, food vendors, concerts, fair activities, and is one of the largest such events in the entire country. It runs for about 2 1/2 weeks every year around Labor Day to the first week of October. And Saturday, just about everyone from New England and surrounding areas decided to drive to the Big E at the precise time Rachel and I decided to drive to the Big E.

Just before entering the Memorial Bridge which spans the Connecticut River, 10 million cars and trucks and motorcycles merged with us to create a traffic jam like I have never seen in almost before. On Rachel’s phone, it showed 1.3 miles to the Big E and a cute baby laughing when prompted for the estimated time of arrival. That is not a good sign people! About 1 hour after getting onto the bridge, we arrived at the rotary on the other side of the bridge, about 500 yards of distance traveled, only to be met by an additional 15 million cars and trucks and motorcycles. It was approaching around 4pm and it was decision time. We had planned for Plan E (The Big E) and now it was time to move to Plan SC (Springfield College).

I had mentioned to Rachel that I had seen a live feed of a Springfield College fall baseball game on Instagram earlier. Being a SC alum, I am always interested in not only the college activities and events, but certainly the baseball team events as well. So, after sitting in traffic for close to 1 1/2 hours, we made a U-turn, headed through downtown Springfield, and over to the campus of my alma mater, Springfield College.

After a brief tour of the dorms I lived in (International and Alumni), Rachel and I made our way to the other side of the SC Library and found Archie Allen Baseball Field.

The field surface was grass when I played (briefly for 2 seasons) at Springfield College. This new field turf looks amazing and entire baseball complex is impressive to say the least.

This bullpen area, which was more of a traditional bullpen (dirt mound, grass in between mound and catcher) was the spot where I learned about the 4 rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder and how they work to throw a baseball. Or in my case, when one of them is torn and you can no longer throw a baseball.

No regrets or sadness standing on the mound looking at home plate. I was often injured during my limited time playing at Springfield College. I was a halfway decent baseball player but not a very good athlete it turns out. Migrating from a primary infielder/outfielder in youth baseball and high school to a primary role as a college pitcher did not sit well with my shoulder. Still, it was awesome to stand on the mound and just let my baseball soul feel 19 again.

The 2017 field upgrade from grass to this new surface is remarkable. I found a page on the Springfield College website that goes over the field transformation and some of the parties involved in the process. One of them being Baseball Hall of Famer, Cal Ripken, Jr.

Rachel and I walked around the entire campus on Saturday. We visited the track, the tennis courts, the pool, the rugby field, the newly minted soccer fields, the gorgeous softball field, the Student Union, the football field, and many of the student dorms and educational buildings on campus. It was great to say “hi” to current students and alumni there for Alumni Weekend activities. And it was great to set foot onto Archie Allen Baseball Field and relive some of baseball memories from my playing days at Springfield College. I am so proud to be an SC alumni and the work that continues to be done to enrich young people’s spirits, minds, and bodies.

For more information on Springfield College, visit www.springfield.edu.

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The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.

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