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Brookies at the Ballpark

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 03/12/2020 (355 reads)
By Matthew Lourdeau

Minor league baseball is all about fun. Sure, the players are doing everything they can to succeed at the lower levels of professional baseball with the hopes of getting to the majors. But while they’re giving it their all on the field, there is a whole lot more going on around them. T-shirt cannons, “bring your dog” nights, and appearances from B-list celebrities draw crowds that include die-hard fans and families looking for a night out.

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If you are an angler who lives around Altoona, Pennsylvania, the draw to come to watch the Curve this June might be their new look. For one weekend, the Altoona Curve will become the Altoona Brookies. Complete with new jerseys, hats, and more, the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to celebrate the state fish of PA.

Brook trout are beautiful fish. Fly fishers and conventional anglers alike seek after them. However, their relatively diminutive size and bright colors eliminate them from consideration for something like the mascot of an NFL team. But minor league baseball? It is a perfect fit. In a league where Trash Pandas, Yard Goats, and Sod Poodles play all season, a weekend of Brookies is more than okay.

As is the case for many minor league promotions, “Brookie Weekend” will benefit a nonprofit. Currently, the Curve has announced that a jersey auction will help the American Rescue Workers, a nonprofit that fights hunger and homelessness. Trout fishing is certainly a way to generate interest in a cause in the keystone state. Pennsylvania has the highest stream density of any state in the country. It just so happens that many of those streams are occupied by trout for most of the year. The outdoors in general, and trout fishing in specific, is woven into the fabric of Pennsylvania.

In a culture like that, embroidering a leaping trout on the front of a ball cap just makes sense. And, of course, it is a lot of fun.

Matthew Lourdeau runs Casting Across, a website and podcast that explore the people, places, and things that go into the pursuit of fish. Originally from the MidAtlantic, he currently lives in New England where he’s only a short cast from mountain brookies and seacoast stripers.
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