Baseball fans, take note: The Denver Browns are up to bat.
Summertime is generally a quiet time for baseball diamonds at area high schools—the school year has wrapped, and players are working their summer jobs. The exception is East High School, where, come 12:30 p.m. most Sundays, more than 100 fans crowd the sandlot stands. They load up on sunscreen, listen to the crack of the bat, and root for the Denver Browns, a semipro team of ex-minor league players, newbie college grads, and old-timers hoping to hit just one more home run. It’s like the local version of The Rookie—minus Dennis Quaid. Even though the Denver Browns are overshadowed by the Rockies, they’re one of the toughest teams in the competitive 18AAA Elite Wood Bat League of the National Adult Baseball Association (NABA), the largest adult baseball organization in the United States. Last year, the team went 20–3 and won the NABA championship. Their mighty bats—watch for number 19, Matthew Jerebker, the Browns’ third baseman—have created a community following, which the team uses to promote the game through youth programs and summer camps. “I grew up in a small town, so I wanted to bring that old-school mentality to Denver,” says Gino Grasso, the team’s owner. “We’re personally connected with everyone who comes to our games.” Oh, and unlike the Rockies, tickets are free.