The Cut4 Road Trip, Day 10: Celebrating Michael Jordan's baseball career in Birmingham
The guys behind Cespedes Family BBQ have embarked on a cross-country road trip to see as many Top-100 MLB prospects as possible.You can find an introduction to the trip and their full schedule by clicking here.
The single greatest athletic achievement of all-time is Michael Jordan playing baseball. As a 31-year-old in Double-A, he hit .202 and even crushed three dingers after not seeing a live pitch since high school. Jordan's time with the Birmingham Barons is generally considered a joke or a failure, but his ability to not look like a complete and total disaster at the Double-A level shows you how insane his raw athleticism was.
Regions Field in Birmingham is a lot of things. Opened in 2013, it is first and foremost a hilariously nice Minor League park. But it doubles as a Michael Jordan shrine -- at least, the baseball part of his career. We saw at least five Jordan uniforms in the stands and at least five hundred pictures of him on the concourse. So if you ever make it out to a game in Birmingham, save your Crying Jordan baseball joke and simply revel in the magnificence of a 31-year-old basketball legend hitting .202 and STEALING 30 BASES IN DOUBLE-A.
We only had to drive about 90 minutes to get to Birmingham, which lessened the crazy road trip-ness of our crazy road trip. We still had to get to the park around 1 -- pretty early for a night game, even by our standards. Why so early you ask? So that we could make sure that no one else was using the field. Why? So we could play fungo golf with No. 1 White Sox prospect Carson Fulmer.
Fungo golf wasn't the only victory Fulmer tallied up on Saturday. The Vanderbilt product's talents stretch beyond the course and onto the ping pong table -- before crushing our souls on the field, Fulmer was busy in the clubhouse smacking down former Major Leaguer Aaron Rowand, who now happens to be an outfield and baserunning coordinator for the White Sox.
So, after getting edged out by Fulmer 21-19, Rowand spoke to us about his new role with the White Sox and the important role ping pong plays throughout the Sox's farm system.
We also did a Facebook Live chat with Brewers prospect Brett Philips. Yes, he's the laughing guy. He also happens to be a pretty awesome ballplayer and a great interview.
A Baseball Game Appeared: Biloxi Shuckers at Birmingham Barons
Saturday's game represented a first for us on this summer's trip: extra innings. Regulation offered a fair bit of action, with all 10 runs between the two teams being scored via the long ball (including one from Brewers No. 12 prospect Tyrone Taylor). But the two teams completed the customary nine innings knotted at five, and headed to the wondrous abyss of baseball overtime. In this case, we only got one additional inning, as Birmingham outfielder and No. 9 White Sox prospect Courtney Hawkins laced an RBI single to right field in the bottom of the 10th to walk it off for the Barons. However, it feels like we underrated the insanity of the extra inning proposition: The 9th inning ends, and then off you go, into a world of not knowing whether you'll be sitting in your seat for another 10 minutes or another two hours. Or, possibly, forever. Because baseball dictates you play until someone wins and baseball is really hard. Eventually we're going to see a 30+ inning marathon of a professional baseball game. Let's just hope it doesn't happen on this trip.
Where We Woke Up: Montgomery, Ala.
Where We Slept: Hartselle, Ala.
Miles Driven: 178
Miles Driven To-Date: 3,002
Time in Car: 3:01
Time in Car To-Date: 50:52
Tomorrow's Plan: After what's felt like a year (it's only been two days) we're going to leave Alabama. North we shall drive, toward Tennessee, toward freedom, toward the Jackson Generals.