This is my first blog for Bradenton Patch, so let me give you a little introduction. My name is Mike Farnham, you can call me Mike, we don't have to be formal here.
I grew up in New York state, as a Mets fan, and always loved baseball. My family moved to Florida in 1978 and there was no local Bradenton baseball team - say for the Spring training Pirates. We would come to a few games and enjoyed watching and getting autographs.
Flash ahead to 1994 and the baseball strike. I was so disgusted with the players and their demands, I went on strike myself. I didn't watch, read or speak baseball for 14 years! It was now 2008, The Tampa Bay Rays had come to the area, and I decided it was time to give baseball another chance. My wife and I watched the whole season and fell in love with the team. One problem was that they were in St. Pete/Tampa and though it's only a 45 minutes drive, it's still not close.
It's January 2010 now, and there are rumblings that the Pirates have purchased a Class A-Advanced team to start playing in McKechnie when Spring training is over. We've had various teams come and go from Bradenton. The Florida Sharks basketball program lasted a year. Ice hockey in Lakewood Ranch never happened. I was skeptical that this new team would last, so rather than get my hopes up, I ignored it. Sometime in July of 2010, my company had free tickets to a game at McKechnie. I decided that free was the right price, and my wife and I went to a game. We were hooked! We came to about 20 more games through the end of the 2010 season, rode the spirit fan bus to a playoff game in Charlotte, and had a blast! These players are playing because they truly love the game!
I started volunteering with the new Bradenton Marauders management - helping them at public functions, to get the word out about them. We purchased season tickets for 2011 and have been more involved than ever. Baseball is back for us. The Marauders have made it fun to watch the game and remember why it is a fun game - the players, the other fans, the Marauders staff and management. The People!
Enough about me. This blog is meant to be a fan's perspective about Bradenton Marauders baseball. I hope it will inspire you to want to come out to a "home town" ball game and see what it's all about. I hope you give you all sorts of topics to enjoy and discuss and debate about. Let me "Take YOU out to the ball game".
Baseball is back, though I guess it never left really, I just was looking in the wrong place.