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Southern Illinois Miners
If they kept records for "Most Overqualified Usher in Frontier League History," Carrie Moschino, an usher today at Rent One Park in Marion, Illinois, home of the Southern Illinois Miners, would be at or near the top of the list.
Moschino, like the rest of her fellow ushers at the ballpark, is friendly, knowledgable, and takes her job seriously. It's just that most ushers in this independent baseball league, don't have ten years of Major League experience.
Moschino, a Decatur, Illinois, native, who grew up a Cubs fan, was an usher at St. Louis Cardinals games in Busch Stadium II from 1993 through April 2002. Her day job at a downtown St. Louis hotel prevented her from working a full 81 games a season, but do the math, and she worked about 700 Redbirds games in that span.
Ozzie Smith's retirement and Mark McGwire's 62nd home run of the 1998 season. Then there was the night McGwire was chasing the single season home run record and was ejected early in the contest. The fans were not pleased. "I didn't know which way to turn or duck," says Moschino. Those were memorable moments during Moschino's tenure at the old park in St. Louis.
Busch Stadium II, Sections 133 and 134. Moschino has the sign for Section 134 in her home. $250 at a sale of old Busch Stadium parts for charity. $250, well spent. After all, the sign represents a workplace that no longer exists, and the spot where she met her future husband, Mike. Which also helps explain why Moschino works Miners games today. Mike sat with a group of buddies in row 17 of her section one night, that's how Mike and Carrie met. Their wedding was scheduled around a Cardinals road trip since the bridal party all worked Cardinals home games. The marriage meant a move to the southern parts of Illinois for Carrie.
In 2007 the Frontier League came to town in the name of the Southern Illinois Miners. "I waited from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the job interview," says Moschino, of her experience at a local mall. "I approached it like any other interview." Moschino is one of a handful of ushers who have worked all six Miners seasons. "It's important to have a presence," explains Moschino, referencing the between-innings march of the ushers to the front of the seating bowl. Moschino knows this is not the majors, but says a facility like Rent One Park has its perks. "It's more intimate and the players are more accessable." Carrie Moschino has held the same job, in two very different baseball worlds.
Rent One Park Notes: The ballpark opened when the Miners franchise began in 2007. Located just off of Interstate 57, it may be the only ballpark in which the primary view beyond the outfield...is a Menards store. The Miners are named such because of the area's strong coal mining history. This facet is highlighted throughout the ballpark with large historical coal mining photos on the walls. Rent One Park is a rarity in ballpark design in that its seats are gray and black, fitting with the stylized gray color scheme throughout the ballpark. Like several other Frontier League facilities, the field surface is entirely artificial. At one point, the pitchers mound was dirt, but it has since been converted to a synthetic surface.