Up in the press box, Paul Frost, a distinguished-looking man with crew-cut gray hair, leaned forward and spoke into the public address system:
"Will you kids down there in the box-seat section along the third-base line stop walking on top of those railings and get back up there in the stands where you belong?"
The kids scurried back up to where they belonged with no face-saving dawdling about it, for the voice of Paul Frost has the ring of authority. He is no ordinary ball park announcer. He does that chore (as well as the official scoring) because he happens to be president of the Artesia ball club and has to save a dollar where he can. Baseball is just a hobby with Mr. Frost. He is an electrical engineer, a graduate of Purdue and the manager of the thriving electric power and telephone cooperatives serving the surrounding countryside. He led the campaign to get Artesia a team in the Sophomore League four years ago, along with Grady Wright, an oil producer; Ralph Box, also an oil man; Robert Bourland, an accountant; Charles Johnson, a banker; Earl Ziegler, an oil supply man; J. L. Taylor, a rancher; and James Ferguson, a retired merchant.
As the game got under way, Mr. Frost read off the lineups he had personally obtained from the rival managers and then identified each hitter and gave the summaries at the end of each half inning. In between times, he answered some questions about the team and the league.
"The Sophomore League," he said, "is a sort of an incubator for more than a million dollars' worth of bonus babies who have been signed by major league ball clubs. We didn't get any of the big ones. Bill Sebera, our first-string catcher, who was sent to us by the Los Angeles Dodgers, got $35,000 for signing, and Dan Ardell, who was optioned to us by the Los Angeles Angels just a little more than a week ago, got something like $40,000. The Alpine Club must have $300,000 worth of bonus babies. I believe one of their boys got $125,000."
"That," said Jimmy Cox of the Artesia Daily Press ("covering the Heart of Southeastern New Mexico's Growing Oil and Ranch Empire"), "is probably more than Spider Jorgensen made in his entire major league career."
"Very likely," said Mr. Frost.
"Aren't the lights in this ball park kind of dim?" asked an out-of-town man.
"Yes," said Mr. Frost, "but we can't do anything about that. The park belongs to the city and we get it for $1 a year."
"Because of the dim lights," said Jimmy Cox, "some people call this Candlestick Park."