As a baseball fanatic growing up in Rhode Island, McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket was more or less my field of dreams.
I’d get to Fenway Park in Boston – about 90 minutes away – once or twice a year to see the Red Sox. But McCoy was half that distance, and I got to see a lot of future Sox stars pass through there in the 1970s in their minor league days – guys like Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, and Fred Lynn.
One of the cool things about McCoy is the murals that adorn the concourse as fans enter the stadium. They depict team alumni who made it to the Major Leagues.
Fans entering Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, home of the State College Spikes, see a more modest, but similar display. Photos on a wall highlight 53 – and counting – former Spikes who have made it to the big leagues.
It’s a reminder that fans going to the ballpark are likely witnessing some players who will excel at the highest level of the sport. But for most people, a night out at a minor league game is more about the show and the atmosphere, about a place to gather to have fun with family and friends.
A Spikes’ game checks all of those boxes. From the Human Cannonball to fireworks to bobble heads, from a selection of beers that would be the envy of many Major League parks to plenty of intriguing food options, the folks over at Medlar Field have a good thing going.
They’ll get a chance to put on a show on a bigger stage this month when they host the New York-Penn League All-Star Game. Read more about that here.
Speaking of the Spikes, one note on this month’s magazine cover:
A group of folks who help make the Spikes’ games such a good show got together for our cover shot, several in costume. If you look closely, you’ll see a tall guy dressed in a taco suit in the background.
That’s Juwan Johnson, a star wide receiver on Penn State’s football team. Johnson is interning with the Spikes this summer.
“He couldn't be a better guy,” says Spikes general manager Scott Walker, who’s posing next to Ike the Spike on the cover.
“One day we might look back on this and he might be a star in the NFL, and he’s wearing a taco suit on the cover of Town&Gown,” Walker says.
It’s actually Johnson’s second cover for us this summer. He’s on the cover of Town&Gown’s 2018 Penn State Football Annual in more traditional gear – the blue and white!
(Click through the attached photos to see the covers.)