Remember when baseball was fun? Gentlemen in straw hats and women with parasols would gather at the cow patch to jeer, cuss and throw food at the athletes? No? Neither do we. And fortunately, we don't have to.

We can get all the Crackerjacks and none of the era's painful dentistry simply by nabbing a free ferry. Out in the forgotten borough tonight, the Staten Island Yankees start another fun season for anyone who enjoys baseball without all the muckety-muck.

Keep reading for some of the advantages the minors have over their big league buddies.

Winning Record
The Class A Short Season team has won the league championship five times since their formation in 1999, a 50 percent rate, which is even better than that of their slightly better-paid counterparts. They've also sent 41 players to the majors -- almost as many as the Ripken family.

Cheaper Tickets, Better Seats
In a case of obscene New York rents, the new Yankee Stadium clipped 4,000 seats and raised the price on a prime seat to a blinding $2,600 (The outfit eventually slashed that price in half, and still no one's willing to pay that much). Of course, that's an exceptional example. The average grass-side ticket goes for a mere $510, which would also get you a decent bedroom in Queens for a month. Contrast that with the Baby Bombers, who will plop you behind home plate for just $16.

Fun Mascots
The Yankees don't have a mascot except for 1979's Dandy bird or, worse, menu items in Yankees caps during the '90s. Their farm team sports Scooter "The Holy" Cow, an homage to Phil Rizzuto, who in addition to informing Americans about the Money Store, was apparently a respected Yankees shortstop. Lately Scooter's battled two other cows, "Red" and "Huck," so even if you hate baseball, you get to watch slapstick performed by anthropomorphic bovines. And hey, if you're a plushie, you get three times the titillation!

Promotions
Staten Island's Richmond County Bank Ballpark regularly features Tuesday Night Tickets, in which you get a twofer on a ticket purchase by bringing the wrapper from a Kraft Singles packet. Think about that: you can seat two people on the foul line for $7 each and justify eating a stack of cheese every week. And that's not even the package that gets you free Wendy's. Now if only there were some way to combine cheese and burger into a delicious hybrid.