Saturday, May 9, 2009

Baseball Museum 1: Play Ball Exhibit at Mesa Historical Museum

I briefly already posted about visiting the Play Ball Exhibit at Mesa Historical Museum in a post from my phone here. I mentioned our favorites, but it does not do the exhibit justice, so now that I have some more time as we drive back to Tucson I am posting a little more thorough of a review. Of course, more photos to come in the album that you can get to by clicking any of the photos above.

The Play Ball exhibit is an one room exhibit inside the Mesa Historical Museum. The exhibit focuses on the history of the Cactus League, but also has a tad more general history of baseball in Mesa. It technically does focus on the Cactus League as a whole, but really it mostly focuses on the Cactus League in Mesa with a lot of the space devoted to the Cubs and the history of them Spring Training in Mesa. Not that that is a bad thing, as I still consider myself a Cubs fan despite more recently being a Nats fan. However, it seems a tad misleading to come into the exhibit thinking it was going to be more about the whole Cactus League.

The exhibit starts out well rounded with a wall that is made to look like a wood fence with knotholes in it. When you peek inside each knothole you can see a photo of one of the current or past Cactus League ballparks. This is pretty much the only part of the exhibit that truly portrays the whole league.

The exhibit goes on to tell about the leagues history, but this is mostly done through just words and not much artifacts to go with it. Then it gets into the Cubs and their connection to Mesa and there is a decent amount of artifacts to go with that part including a clubhouse door from the Old Hohokam Park that is signed by Mark Grace. It makes sense the exhibit shifts to mostly focusing on Mesa since it is afterall Mesa's Historical Museum. Plus it is not like it entirely ignores the rest of the league. It just sort of over represents the Cubs and sort of downplays that the league once was a much more spread out thing, but I guess it kind of pulls it into the location that is now among the very central hub of the league in Phoenix.

Overall this exhibit was fun for all and I do think it does what it sets out to do, which is begin to display the history of the Cactus League. It certainly is not anywhere near all inclusive of the league, but there is hope as this really is supposed to be just the start with hopes for it being built into its own museum within 5 years. Plus having a Wii with a baseball only game (Backyard Baseball) definitely swayed Mik from being bored and playing his PSP to actually doing something at the museum.

Update 5/10/09: All photos I took at the museum can be viewed here or by clicking the photos in this post and viewing rest of album.

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