Gallery : The Grass Roots Game

The California League offers a down-home brand of baseball. Some teams like Bakersfield play in old, quaint stadiums that have wooden facades and outfield billboards advertising pest control, sunflower seeds and, these days, cellular phones.

During a Cal game, players dash out to the concession stand between plays or, if they’re busy, they give fans money to buy them snacks.

One woman in San Bernardino always brings fudge to the home-team dugout.

Even the top brass join in the fun.


During ceremonies for opening day ’92, the league president got a pie in the face, courtesy of the High Desert Mavericks.

His crime?

He’d warned the former Riverside Red Wave not to move to the desert in 1991.

The Mavericks ignored him and built a high-tech park. That year they set a Cal attendance record and won the championship.

NEXT SUNDAY: In the Cal, life on the road means a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. The life is far from glamorous, but the dreams are big.