Archive for the 'Stadiums' Category

Haarlem Notes

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Myworld heads back to the States tomorrow. Some notes on my impression of Haarlem, Netherlands and Pim Mulier Stadium. It is a little bit different than about writing about minor league cities and the parks I went to last month.

***Haarlem is a cool place. It gives off a beach vibe with the canals and the sea gulls floating in the air. Every now and then they give out a cry and you feel you are at the beach. Supposedly they have a beach, but that was not my purpose for coming to Haarlem. It was to watch baseball. I never got out to what they call their beach. Coming from San Diego beaches are usually disappointing.

***The city has curvy, winding brick layered streets with a huge town square where it feels pretty nice to find a table at a local eatery, order a beer and just watch the people pedal their bikes past you while you are savoring your beer without a care in the world. Sometimes it makes you wonder where these people are pedaling their bikes.

***Haarlem is noted for being the center of the tulip bulb growing business. When I see tulips sprouting in my front yard each spring I’ll think of Haarlem.

***The New York city Harlem was named by the Dutch settlers after this city. The newer Harlem has gotten better, but when I think of ghettos I think of Harlem, New York. We certainly did a number on that city after the Dutch settlers left.

***There is lots of beer brewing in Haarlem, dating all the way back to the 15th century. They used to make the beer from the water in the canals but that got too polluted so they had to improvise. It makes sense when sitting in the town square to relax and drink a beer brewed in Haarlem. They have a lot of choices for you to make.

***When walking around the brick structured dwellings and businesses that surround the city take a closer look at each of the buildings. Some of the brick or walls date all the way back to the 12th or 15th century. You can still see some of the old writings carved in the leftover stone that is still used to support the newer office building.

***The Honkball tournament is every other July so if you want to watch some baseball and relax in a cool city, visit Haarlem in 2018. If you want to visit in September of this year they will be having the European championships at Pim Mulier stadium. You will see a few more errors than you see in major league baseball, but the atmosphere is good. They have some traditions that are unique to their culture, such as doing deep knee bends whenever a pitcher is changed in the middle innings. They also carry some of the American traditions, such as singing “Take Me out to the Ballgame” during the bottom of the seventh.

***The stadium is Pim Mulier Stadium. It is not a large facility, holding about 3,000, more if you include the tented suites that sit in back of the stands. There are no arm rests to the seats or cupholders, but it is better than bleacher seating. The stadium sits in the middle of a large sports complex that houses other baseball fields, soccer fields and outdoor tennis courts. There was no reserved seating at the tournament, so it is first come first to pick your seat. That becomes critical when you consider the only shade in the stadium is directly behind home plate, covering about 40 seats. For 7 PM starts the sun is still shining in July at 9 PM. Many of the fans bring their umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. They also bring their coolers filled with food and drinks.

***They have a small museum inside the stadium along the third base side. The museum takes you through the history of Dutch baseball. If you can’t speak Dutch you will have to be satisfied with looking at the pictures. The 2011 World Cup champions have a corner there, an event myworld witnessed as the Netherlands upset Cuba for the Gold Medal. The United States team sent a group of minor league players including Travis d”Arnaud. The Netherlands had Didi Gregorius at short, Jonathan Schoop at third base, Xander Boegarts, who played right field but was mainly a bench warmer and others I’m probably forgetting.

***The concessions include a donut stand, lots of ice cream facilities, a kibbling (fish and chips)stand, a candy stand, a place for hamburgers and a bar where you can get beer from the tap. The choices are a little different from what you would see at an American park.

***As far as the stadium itself, there is a scoreboard that records the pitchers velocity and the name of the batter and his batting average. They have a video board in right center field, but that is a little too small to see unless you carry binoculars. The park itself with its chain link fences would be no different than a local college field, though nowadays some of the college baseball fields are ramping up their stadiums to give themselves a minor league look about them. The fences all carry sponsor advertising.

***That’s about it.

Five Games, Five Days, Five Parks - Day Five Crosscutters in Overtime

Friday, June 24th, 2016

The day before it took them 13 innings before the only run was scored by Williamsport in their 1-0 win over Mahoning Valley. This night it only took them eight innings before the two teams scored their first run. It again went into extra innings, Williamsport winning in ten, 2-1.

The Scrappers started the skinny Tristan McKenzie, the Indians first round pick in 2015 in the competitive balance round. In his first start he had lost but only gave up one unearned run. In this start he did not give up any runs in less than five innings of work, taken out with runners on first and second with two out, but again the Scrappers did not score for him. McKenzie is one of those players who is so skinny he could be represented as a stick like figure. He got a lot of swings and misses with his fastball, striking out five, or one each inning he worked. Myworld did not see much of a breaking pitch.

The Crosscutters countered with Ranger Suarez. He was equally as effective, not giving up a run in five innings of work. He also struck out five, one of those in the second inning with runners on first and third with two out.

The Scrappers finally pushed across their first run in the eighth inning, gift wrapped by the Crosscutters infield. First shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa had a ball slip out of his glove after he ranged left to reach the ball. A wild pitch advanced Gabriel Mejia to second. It appeared he was picked off when he broke for third and the pitcher had yet to pitch the ball. Randy Alcantara stepped off the mound and threw to third. Third baseman Lucas Williams ran Mejia back to second, tossed the ball but too high for the second baseman to catch it. Mejia advanced to third where he scored on a Alexis Pantoja infield in single that skirted past the glove of Gamboa.

The Crosscutters rallied in the ninth off Scrappers closer Henry Martinez, Jesus Alastre rolling an infield single to third and Lucas Williams lining a single up the middle for a hit. Darick Hall struck out but Luis Encarnacion was able to coax a walk on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Arquimedes Gamboa atoned for his error with a fly ball deep enough to right field to score Alastre.

The Scrappers handed the game to Williamsport in the bottom of the tenth after a two out throwing error by Jonathan Laureno put Jose Antequera on second, where he scored on a Jesus Alastre single.

Williamsport Musings

The city was built by the lumber industry. In the late 19th century they were known as the lumber capital of the world. That lumber would be transformed into baseball bats if they didn’t use aluminum bats in the Little League World Series. Now, many television sets are tuned into Williamsport to watch 12 year old kids compete in baseball.

At one point in the city’s history they had more millionaires per capita than any place in the world. The high school team nickname was the Williamsport Millionaires to reflect that. That is not so anymore now that the lumber barons have few trees to chop.

Williamsport native Joe Lockard, stationed in Oahu is said to have warned his superiors of an impending Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Those superiors dismissed his readings, stating they were American B-17 bombers coming from the mainland.

The top employer for Williamsport is another health industry, Susquehanna Health, further evidence that our economy is geared toward our population not staying well. Sickness or staying healthy seems to drive many municipalities. The second biggest employer is the State Government, further evidence there is very little manufacturing industry driving our cities.

The only famous person of note is Mike Mussina, unless you include the name of Carl Lutz, who invented Little League baseball in Williamsport.

Game/Stadium Notes: Bowman Field is the second oldest minor league park in the country, built in 1926. Except for a modern scoreboard in right field Bowman Field would look like any pony league field, with the card board fences stacked up in the outfield. They are doing some construction on the first base side of the dugout to enhance the stadium…The original Little League field is across the street from Bowman where they played the first Little League World Series with mostly United States teams from 1947-1958. A game was being played there when myworld stopped by. You can still play baseball there, but the field is like a grandfather with hip and joint pain when compared to the newer fields on the other side of Williamsport…During each inning a couple round boys on each side of the field walk up and down the first and third base side of the field holding up a sign telling the fans what inning it is. Of course these round or inning boys are sponsored…There was a 45 minute rain delay. Tires were used to hold down the two tarps that covered the field…The bleacher seats are covered which is nice during a drizzle. It would probably provide some shade during a day game…They advertised a Dominican Plate at a local hotel with the food served by some of the Dominicans on the team. The Crosscutters roster is filled with Dominican players…It is a long trek from the dugout to the on deck circle. The person myworld feels sorry for is the bat boy, who must pick up the bat, run to the dugout to return the bat and then run about twenty yards to the home plate area where he waits to retrieve foul balls or another bat…The retired numbers of 59, 41 and 36 appear in the centerfield area. The lettering was too small to make out the names, but myworld will research that later…Logan Ice has one of the cooler names in baseball. He went 0 for 4 with three whiffs so his bat was as cool as his name. Emmanuel Tapia also struck out three times…The only real impressive player, hard to rate players on one game in rookie ball, is left fielder Enmanuel Garcia for his numerous defensive plays out there. He looked like a player who could play centerfield.

Five Games, Five Days, Five Parks - Day Four Tyler Tater Only Run in Railriders Victory

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

The pitchers dominated in the game tonight. Chad Green of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders threw 95 mile per hour heat tacking up swings and misses to the tune of nine strikeouts in seven innings. His fastball lost a tick or two in the later innings but the only hits he gave up were the two singles to Tyler Collins in the first and third innings. Tyler Austin, whose prospect status has disappeared provided the only run of the game when his blast bounced onto the walkway in left field that straddles the bullpen area, taking one hop and hitting the scoreboard. It was all the Railriders needed in their 1-0 win over the Toledo Mudhens.

Lefty Chad Bell pitched well for the Mudhens. He didn’t allow a run in his six innings of work, giving up just three hits. Preston Guillmet served up the Austin homerun to take the loss.

Logan Kensing faced three Railriders in the eighth inning and struck all three hitters out. The Railriders rallied against Diego Moreno with a walk and single putting runners on first and third with only one out. Dixon Machado hit the ball hard but right at the third baseman, who easily turned two to end the threat. Gonor Mullee closed out the game for the Railriders, retiring the side in order, the last two on whiffs.

Scranton Facts

There is not a city named Scranton Wilkes-Barre. The name is a combination of two city names located close to each other, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Scranton is the larger city, the sixth largest in Pennsylvania.

Scranton could be the most powerful city in the world. Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States was born in Scranton and Hilary Clinton spent her childhood here, with her father buried in Scranton. Don’t know if the two ever crossed paths while living in Scranton.

Scranton was built on iron and steel. When that production moved overseas the city stopped growing. In 1962 a retailer named Thrif D Discount Center opened in Scranton. This was the beginning of the Rite-Aid drugstore chain.

Wilkes-Barre

This is the 13th largest city in Pennsylvania. It was built on coal. When coal was replaced as an energy source the city downsized with it.

There is no person that catches my eye that was born in Wilkes-Barre. It is the birthplace of Planters Peanuts Co.

Legend has it that Babe Ruth hit one of the longest homeruns ever in an exhibition game here. It was measured at 650 feet. It was witnessed that the ball was still rising as it cleared the 400 foot fence. Don’t know if they measured it where it stopped or where it landed.

Game and Stadium Notes: The ballpark does not have a lot of personality to it. PNC was built in 2013 so it is a new park. History can build personality, but it doesn’t appear they wanted to bring any of the history of the old park to the new park. PNC has all the bells and whistles of a modern park, with a nice scoreboard, a kids fun zone and a couple bar areas in the outfield where the adults can spend money on expensive alcoholic beverages. There are no statues of great players or plaques recognizing the achievements of great players, at least what I could find…The food choices are not as varied as Reading but they have nachos and tacos, pannini sandwiches, sausages, hamburgers, Texas style barbecue in right field and chicken tenders. Myworld tried the pierogis, a staple in Pennsylvania. We’ve had better in Pittsburgh at the Pirates park…It is best to buy tickets on the third base side. You are looking into the sun for the first three innings on the first base side…In the fourth inning they have a legend’s race with Thurman Munson, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Billy Martin. Joe won the race tonight. Billy Martin never wins…Streamed along the right field fence PNC has an International League scoreboard in addition to a major league scoreboard…The town of Hazelton, which is as far from Scranton as Wilkes-Barre, likes to point out that Joe Maddon, the manager of the Cubs was born in Hazelton…There is a walk ramp that passes the bullpen area in left field. Tyler Austin hit a homerun to score the only run of the game tonight. The ball landed on the ramp passing the bullpen, bounced up and hit the scoreboard…The stadium has a nice backdrop with the trees and the hill. The restaurant Non’Nos sits atop the hill looking down at the ballpark…Mark Teixeira made a rehab start in the game at the DH spot. He singled his first time up, grounded out and walked…Aaron Judge seems to have trouble making contact at pitches thrown near the knees. At 6′8″ he has a large strike zone. His last two at bats he swung and missed at three pitches travelling near the knees…Chad Green had a lot of swings and misses to his 95 mile per hour fastball. The Yankees briefly called him up and he struggled in two appearances. The Yankees acquired Green from the Tigers in the Justin Wilson trade…Jacoby Jones has trouble making contact on balls with a break. He struck out in three of his four at bats. Anthony Gose struck out all three times he batted. After Diego Moreno had thrown six straight balls to start his appearance Gose had a check swing strike on a pitch that appeared to be out of the strike zone. Two more pitches and he was a strikeout victim for the third time. If he continues to have at bats like that myworld would predict his return to the major leagues is doubtful…The Railriders shift against Dean Green paid off when Green lined one to the shortstop who was playing on the first base side of the base…Nick Swisher does not have a lot of speed to be playing outfield. Tonight he was playing right field and Judge was playing left.

Five Games, Five Days, Five Parks - Akron Over Reading

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

The two teams were in first place in their respective divisions. Reading had the best record in professional baseball at 49-20, a couple games better than the Cubs. The Akron Rubber Ducks used a couple two run homeruns in the opening two frames to beat the Reading Fightin Phils 5-2.

The Fightin Phils had recently called up Tyler Viza from Clearwater. This would be his third start at AA, winning his first and getting a no decision in his second. The big bats got to him early in his third AA start with Clint Frazier bombing a pitch into straight away centerfield to give Akron an early 2-0 lead. Todd Hankins pulled a pitch into the leftfield bleachers for another two run homer to extend the Akron lead to 4-0.

Viza settled down for the remaining five innings, giving up just two hits, both of them in the fifth inning. Todd Hankins led off the inning with a single but was thrown out by five feet trying to steal second. Clint Frazier roped a two out double into right centerfield but when he slid into second he bounced off the bag and the Phillies Valentin was there to make the tag for the third out.

D.J. Brown did not allow a hit in the first three innings, walking one. In the fourth he gave up a leadoff single to Jesmuel Valentin. Jorge Alfaro lined one into the left field bleachers to score the Fightin Phils first two runs. A walk to Dylan Cozens, who is leading the minor leagues in homeruns with 19 sent slugger Rhys Hoskins to the plate representing the tying run. He skied one into left field, raising gasps of expectations from the fans, but falling short of the fence, caught by Jordan Smith at the warning track.

The Phillies had one more opportunity to score in the sixth, loading the bases with one out on two walks and a single. Christian Marrerro grounded a ball to second, and despite a bobble by Ivan Castillo prior to his flip to second Akron was still able to complete the double play. For the fans in the deck head section of the left field bleachers, there would be no free pretzels tonight. They had a couple two out hits in the seventh and eighth but their day was done after the sixth.

Akron scored an insurance run off Joely Rodriguez in the eighth. A one out walk to Bradley Zimmer led to the run. Clint Frazier grounded what could have been a double play ball to third but Harold Martinez dropped the ball. He was able to pick the ball up quickly to get Frazier at first, but Zimmer advanced to second. Zimmer scored on a single by Nellie Rodriguez, who beat the shift by grounding a single just to the right field side of the second base bag.

Reading Phacts (at least from Wikipedia)

Reading is the fifth largest city in Philadelphia. The 2010 census showed they had the largest share of citizens living in poverty in the nation. A drive around Reading by myworld shows this may be changing as there a number of nice housing developments in the city.

John Phillip Souza died here in 1932 but Taylor Swift was born here. Wikipedia shows she was born in Berks County where they have Dieffenbacks potato chips, which began in 1964, 15 years before Taylor was born. Someone at the ballgame confirms that Taylor lived in two houses in Reading before the family moved to Nashville.

Wal Mart is the seventh largest employer in the city. The largest is Reading Hospital. A lot of cities seem to depend on hospitals or medical facilities for their employment, relying on the fact that in this day and age people will seek medical care when they are sick. The medical industry seems to be thriving on our abilities not to stay healthy.

My favorite candy bar, the York Peppermint Patty was invented here. Vanity Fair was also founded here in 1899 but under the name Reading Glove & Mitten Manufacturing Company. They changed their name to Vanity Fair in 1911. They are not listed as one of the top ten employers in the city since all of their manufacturing base has moved to China or the Caribbean. Now they are just an outlet mall where they sell their clothes that are now made overseas.

Game and Stadium Notes: Reading may not be a pretty stadium but it has beautiful ambience. It is like the plain girl who has the great personality. You just have to love her despite all her faults. The food selections are more varied than at the Phillies major league park, even though they have less room for concessions. Where is the imagination of major league parks. They have soup, corn on the cob, stuffed pretzels and your typical fare of hot dogs, hamburgers and cotton candy. Myworld tasted the ham and cheese stuffed pretzel since one of the things Reading is known for is their pretzel manufacturing. It was good but myworld would have taken more ham and cheese and less pretzel…It was Ryan Howard bobblehead night. They also handed out a bag of potato chips from Dieffenbacks, a local potato chip manufacturer (Berk County)…The park has a pool out in right field, but it is reserved for groups who pay a little extra to splash in the water and watch the game from the right field pool area…They have a number of small free parking lots surrounding the ball park. It is recommended you get there early to get a prime parking spot. Exiting the stadium can take awhile because they only have two ways you can leave and a number of cars feeding into the same area…If you go to a day game the only shade in the stadium appears to be behind home plate in the upper levels. They also have left field bleacher seating. The 67 club, along left field has a number of picnic tables where you can sit and eat while you watch the game. There is also a deck head in the left field bleachers. If the left fielder gets on base every fan in the bleachers gets free pretzels. A homerun and one fan gets a special gift pack…There are a number of team pictures over the last 50 years behind the home plate area, including the 1955 team who had a player by the name of Roger Maris on the team…The hot dog man rides out in his toy ostrich once an inning and throws skinny hot dogs out into the stands. Today he went out in the second inning…Clint Frazier appeared smoother gliding toward the ball than Bradley Zimmer. Myworld thinks Zimmer will fit better at a corner outfield…Clint Frazier has a lot of flowing hair stuffed under his hat…There was a veggie race in the fifth inning. Lettuce defeated carrot, cauliflower and broccoli.

Five Games, Five Days, Five Parks - Day Two Phillies Slide Continues

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

It is only a three hour drive north but myworld has never been to the Phillies new park. Back when the team was winning and the Phillies had sellouts every day there was no motivation. The last couple years there just has not been time on the schedule. We went, we saw the park and we were not impressed.

It is off 95 taking exit 17 or 19, like a box put in the middle of some ex-industrial zone with the Eagles football park and the 76ers and Flyers sports arena next door along with a number of warehouse facilities. They have no downtown activity and there is one building with a collection of restaurants where you can eat at. That is not myworld’s idea of a festive atmosphere. So it gets an F for its location, kind of like the team it puts on the field now.

Inside the park the biggest noise was created by the singing lemon chill gal who did a pretty good business along the third base line. She seemed to have a perky smile on her face throughout the game, despite the murky demeanor surrounding the team. There is not a lot to cheer for if you are a Phillies fan. They had a small flirtation at the top of the standings to begin the season, but they have settled to the bottom like a rock now that the season is close to the All Star break. Only the hot Braves sit below them in the standings.

When you are batting utility infielder Andres Blanco as your cleanup hitter you are not going to score a lot of runs. That was the task for Shelby Miller as he faced this punch and judy offense his first day off the disabled list with his ERA above 7. He allowed a run in the second inning after giving up a leadoff double to Andres Blanco, proving his cleanup spot was deserved, and a two out double to Tyler Goeddel that went over the head of the late breaking Socrates Brito in center field. After the second double Miller did not give up another hit until the seventh inning. The manager is frustrated with the lack of professional at bats.

Jeremy Hellickson got the start for the Phillies and he looked as if he was heading for an early exit after almost giving up the cycle to the first four hitters he faced. Jean Segura opened the inning with a double down the left field line. Phil Gosselin drove him in with a single past a diving Freddy Galvis at short. Jake Lamb pumped one deep into the right field bleachers for a two run homerun to make it 3-0. Rickie Weeks could not complete the cycle, doubling down the left field line, his wide girth preventing him from scrambling to third, something he may have been able to do earlier in his career when he had some speed.

Hellickson settled down after that. He retired the next three hitters and then gave up just two hits in the next six innings, retiring the last 10 hitters he faced. Of course, the Diamondback lineup lacked a bit of explosiveness with Rickie Weeks as their cleanup hitter. Paul Goldschmidt was taking the day off.

The Phillies did put up a little rally with back to back two out singles by Cameron Rupp and Tyler Goeddel off Shelby Miller in the seventh. The D-backs went to Tyler Clippard and the Phillies responded with pinchhitter Jimmy Paredes, who flied out to centerfield to end the threat.

The Phillies again tried to rally in the ninth, getting a leadoff single from Odubel Herrera and an error by Nick Ahmed put runners on first and second with no one out off Diamondbacks closer Brad Ziegler. Tommy Joseph, who was clobbering homeruns early in the season, spoiled the mood by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play and Cameron Rupp struck out to end the game.

The Diamondbacks offense sputtered through the rest of the game, satisfied with their three runs and four hits in the first inning. They collected three hits the rest of the day, one of them being erased on a double play and the other on a caught stealing when Segura tried to steal but found himself too far from second base when the ball was caught by the second baseman and tried to return to first.

Game Notes/Stadium Thoughts: Myworld had a tasty cheese steak at Tony Lukes, which is located in left centerfield. Not a lot of different choices of food selections at the park with only two Philly cheese steak offerings. If Mexican is your thing they have a Mexican stand near the left field foul pole, otherwise it is hot dogs and chicken tenders…Parking is $18 at the stadium. Myworld parked at the Holiday Inn location for $15 but there was $10 parking at Pattison and Darien…There was a statue of Joe Frazier in front of the collection of restaurants. Smokin Joe lived his early years in Philly, ironic since the movie Rocky was based on a young white boxer going against Apollo Creed, the Ali of his time. There is also a statue of Robin Roberts in his sparkling white uniform by the ticket window and a bronze statue of Mike Schmidt…The bullpen has two layers, with the visiting team taking the upper layer and the Phillies taking the lower layer. I’m assuming the visiting team has to travel up and down the stairs to get to the field. The bullpen is located in the centerfield area…The scoreboard with the huge video screen is on the left field side of the field. You are blocked from seeing the full video screen if you sit on the third base side, but that is also the shady side if you are going to an afternoon game. There is a smaller video screen in right field above the scoreboard fence that mimes the large scoreboard. There were no games being played so the scoreboard only listed the night games for what was not a complete schedule…There is ivy growing up the brick wall in centerfield near the bullpen area, along with green bushes, a little contrast to the brick and mortar of the stadium environment…The centerfield area has a cracked bell, which probably looks more illuminated in the evening and probably does something if the Phillies hit a homerun, but myworld did not see any of that today. Underneath the bell are some bleacher seats, but no one was sitting in them on this warm afternoon game…The attendance was announced as 22,218 but it appeared smaller…The Diamondbacks wear these ugly gray uniforms, with some players wearing the teal colored cleats. The uniform color appears like a light gray which has turned dark gray because of the sweat that has accumulated from the day. The dark gray uniforms looked even darker after the sweating from the players in the high 80 degree heat…Socrates Brito was called up today and broke late on a ball hit over his head in centerfield. He went 0 for 3 with two whiffs…Peter O’Brien has hit a couple homeruns, but with a batting average of .138 he does not look ready. He struck out on three pitches in the ninth inning…The Philly Phanatic drove out in his dune buggy and shot out hot dogs to fans in the lower level of the stands in the sixth inning. If you are in the upper levels don’t expect to see any flying dogs coming your way…Traffic getting to Reading was a challenge. A one hour 30 minute drive turned to four because of heavy traffic and rush hour trying to get through Philly. Myworld is now in Reading and will see a night game tonight.

Suns Cook the Blue Wahoos Early

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Wandy Peralta was the starting pitcher for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He failed to finish the first inning, giving up five hits and a walk before departing with two out in the first with five runs already crossing the plate. Juan Perez made a critical error on a ball that could have been turned into a double play to gift wrap the last two runs. The Jacksonville Suns would ride the seven innings of pitching from Jake Esche to claim the 6-2 victory.

Carlos Lopez had the big first inning hit when he sailed one over the head of right fielder Juan Duran for a triple, scoring Kenny Wilson, who had started the game with a single. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases before Wandy could get the first out on a grounder to second. With runners on first and third and one out Terrence Dayleg bounced a one hopper at Perez who had it skip by his glove for an error. A two out RBI single by the pitcher Jake Esche ended the day for Peralta.

The Blue Wahoos tallied their first run in the fourth. Jesse Winker walked and an error by shortstop J.T. Riddle put runners at first and second with no out. Seth Mejias-Brean grounded into a double play at third, but the 6′7″ Juan Duran drove in Winker with a line single up the middle.

Matt Juengel got the run back for the Suns with a blast that barely cleared the fence in left field to give the Suns a 6-1 cushion. The Wahoos came right back after a Juan Duran walk and a triple from Juan Perez to make it 6-2. Yovan Gonzalez could have made the game more interesting by driving in the runner from third, but he stranded him with a swing and a miss. Brian Ellington came on to relieve Esche and retired the last batter to stem the threat.

Pensacola was unable to muster any kind of rally in the last two innings, despite the appearance of the rallyfish. Juan Duran hit a two out double in the ninth off the right centerfield fence but Juan Perez struck out for the final out of the game.

Game Notes: The sight lines for this stadium are excellent, with the fans watching the game while looking at the water of Pensacola Bay. A good 450 shot could carry into the water. If you arrive early enough you might see the Blue Angels work on their flight formations as they pass over the stadium. There was a full moon out and scattered thunder clouds hanging from the sky to make for an interesting post card picture moment…The mascot is Kazoo, a blue dinosaur like creature…Just like Mobile, only the video board was working to project the innings and score. The regular scoreboard was not working…The one downside with the park is the abundance of advertising. Every strikeout is a mention for roto rooter and a ball sailing out of play will get the ball smashing into car window sound, followed by an advertisement for car window repair…They had an eyeball race in the 6th inning. Different colored eyes racing against each other sponsored by an eye doctor…The Silver Wahoos, a group of older ladies who danced on the field was sponsored by a retirement planning group…A dark cloud passed over the field and inundated us with a ten to fifteen minute rain shower. It was not enough to postpone the game, but the fans left their seats. There is not a lot of cover to hide under at Wahoo Park…Juan Duran did not impress me with his defensive chops, but at 6′7″ if he can get his arms extended he could be a force…Jesse Winker also had a good offensive day going 2 for 3 with one walk. He also made a nice sliding catch…Myworld can’t say anyone on the Jacksonville Sons stood out…

Ijames Leads Baybears

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Myworld was in Mobile, Alabama where the Baybears defeated the Tennessee Smokies 3-2. Stewart Ijames hit a pinch hit two run homer to give the Baybears the victory. For Ijames it was his 15th homerun of the year.

Both starters pitched well. The Smokies Ryan Williams allowed just one run in the second inning in his six innings of work. Gabriel Guerrero, the nephew of Vladimir and a recent acquisition from Seattle lined a single to right field. Rudy Flores drove him in with a double past the flopping Dan Vogelbach down the first base line.

John Omahen gave up two runs in the fourth in his seven innings of work. Dan Vogelbach started the rally with a bloop single to left. Billy McKinney singled and Taylor Davis lined a single into right field to tie the score. Stephen Bruno lifted one to shallow right. McKinney tagged to go home. The throw home by Guerrero was too far to the third base side of the plate and crashed into the brick backstop. It would have been interesting seeing a throw on the money.

Silvino Bracho gave up a leadoff single to Wilson Contreras and then retired the last three hitters, the last two on strikeouts to pick up the save. Pinch hitter Anthony Giansiti swung and missed at three straight pitches for the final out.

Game Notes: The Baybears play at Hank Aaron stadium, where his home and museum sit next door. The team was voted minor league team of the year in 1998 and 2011. The mascot is Bay B. Bear. The most expensive ticket is field level which is $17. You can sit in the first three sections of the raised level for $13. Above that is $10, though they have general admission farther along the first and third base lines. The regular scoreboard was not working so they had to use the video board to visualize the innings, runs, hits and errors. This prevented any info on the players, which was a disappointment. They have retired box seats from Wrigley Field, Fulton County Stadium and another stadium along the concessions area…The manager for the Baybears, ex-catcher Robby Hammock warmed up the pitcher if the regular catcher was not ready because he was putting on his equipment…Dan Vogelbach is a big boy. Not a lot of height smacked into that mass. He watched three strikes against the lefthander…This was the second time myworld has seen Elliot Soto play shortstop and we are impressed by his defense. Since he is not a big guy his ability to generate any kind of offense is cause of concern.

Express Pound Zephyrs

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Myworld is here in New Orleans for the national volleyball championships so posts will be a bit sporadic. Yesterday was the only day the New Orleans Zephyrs were in town and myworld went out to the park. There were not any big time prospects to watch but Mike Morse for the Zephyrs and Josh Hamilton for the Round Rock Express were there for rehab. Nefteli Feliz also pitched a couple innings.

Round Rock got a leadoff homerun over the left field fence from Ryan Strausborger to lead off the game on their way to a 5-1 win. Strausborger also laid down a sacrifice bunt in the third inning that was followed by a Josh Hamilton opposite field slow roller to third that scored Tyler Pastornicky for the second run. Tyler had led off the inning with a blast over the head of the right fielder.

Tyler started the fifth inning with a single and Strausborger moved him to second with a single. In his last rehab at bat Josh picked up his second RBI with a bloop single over the head of the second baseman, Tyler scoring his second run of the game.

Jerad Eickoff went six innings with pedestrian stuff. The only run he gave up was a Kila Ka’aihue solo shot in the fourth that went into the Gator’s den in right field. He threw his fastball 88-90 with passable breaking stuff. The Zephyrs had an opportunity to get to him in the first inning when they got their first two hitters on. Cole Gillespie lined hard to the first baseman and Reid Brignac strayed too far from the bag and was doubled off. They also had runners on first and third with one out and Reid hit nothing but air on a two strike pitch. Cole Gillespie flied to left to end the inning.

Jared Hoying tattered one over the Gator’s den in right field for a two run homerun to make it 5-1. The two run blast was hit off Aussie Travis Blackley. Travis leaves that fastball at 88-89 and lacks a real effective breaking pitch. He did go three innings striking out four, relying a lot on location. He is not the mid-90s thrower he once was but he is lefthanded.

Neftali Feliz also no longer throws in the mid-90s. He pitched just over one inning, hitting 88-92 with his fastball. He retired four of the five hitters he faced, striking out one. Miguel Rojas was hit by a pitch in the seventh.

Game Notes: Zephyrs field is located in Metaire, a parrish outside of New Orleans. There is nothing atypical about the stadium. They play baseball but there is no skyline and anything unusual about the field. It does have two levels. You go there to watch baseball. Parking is $5. Mike Morse was very accommodating to the Little Leaguers that were there to run out to the field with the players. The kids all flocked to Mike when he finished his warmups in right field just before game time…There is a fenced in berm where fans can sit on the grass and kids can wait for a homerun out in the right field area. There is also supposed to be a swimming pool, but myworld could not tell if it was active…Tommy Field showed a nice glove at second base, a reason the Rangers probably gave him an opportunity in the majors. He doesn’t show anything special with the bat…Juan Diaz made some nice defensive plays at third base for the Zephyrs…Ticket prices for the lower level seats were quite reasonable, $11-12, so a cheap entertainment option if you don’t want to lose all your money in New Orleans at the casinos.

Historic Engel Stadium

Friday, May 29th, 2015

While in Chattanooga myworld accidentally ran across the historic Engel Stadium along O’Neal and Third Streets. It seems to be in a bit of disrepair. It was built in 1930 and housed the minor league team Chattanooga Lookouts. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Satchel Paige, Harmon Killebrew and Roger Hornsby are some of the Hall of Famers that played there.

The stadium was also used as the field for the Jackie Robinson movie “42″. It holds about 12,000 and the Wikipedia website stated it is used by a local college and high schools for ball games, but looking at the field conditions weeds seem to have replaced grass as the greenery there. Myworld would be surprised if any ball had been played there recently.

It has a pretty cool brick façade surrounding the field. Left field is a titanic 470 foot shot from home plate. There is still advertising along the outfield fences. The seats all appear to have the concrete bleacher seating. When myworld first saw it our first thought was this looked like a pretty cool field to film an old fashioned baseball movie. Maybe another one will come along to give the field a little more life.

Principal Park Iowa Cubs

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Most people will not have a reason for going to Des Moines, Iowa.  Myworld only picked it because Cedar Falls was on the road.  We wanted someplace to stay overnight to go east to visit Dyersville, the Field of Dreams Park, more of which we will write about in a separate blog piece.  The fact the Iowa Cubs have some pretty good prospects in Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara made it an attraction in and of itself.

The nice thing about the park is the Des Moines river runs along side of it, offering a nice backdrop as you approach the stadium.  With all the rain they have been receiving the river is running pretty high.  Good for the crops and the farm community.  Bad for the park if they get too much rain and the river overruns her banks and spills into the park.

They have a railroad track that runs past the stadium.  If you like the sound of a train as it toots its horn while it runs down the track it is pretty cool to be sitting at the park watching the game as a train runs past town.  It gives you a true Americana feel to the evening, a type of small town atmosphere you will never experience at the larger parks.  Myworld has hopes we would improve our national rail system, but expecting Congress to do anything constructive is like hoping for the Marlins owner to spend the money to build a winner.

You can see the golden dome of the Iowa State Capital building if you sit along the third base side.  The problem with the third base side is the sun is in your eyes the first three to five innings of the ballgame as you try to watch home plate.  It is best to sit along the first base side to watch the game, unless you want to strengthen those crows feet wrinkles around the eyes.  If you sit along some of the outfield seats you can get a view of some of the large buildings that mushroom over downtown Des Moines.

The stadium has been around since 1947.  It was rebuilt in 1990 with most of the wooden bleachers of the old stadium demolished to make room for the concrete structures of the new stadium.  In 1993 Mother Nature introduced herself to the new stadium by having the riverbanks overrun in the Great Flood of 1993.

The stadium was called Sec Taylor Field after a Des Moines sports writer, but Principal Financial Group offered $2.5 million for naming rights, so the poor sporswriter was dropped for the cash.  The new influx of cash allowed them to build a right field bleacher and a nice new scoreboard that hangs over right field.  The money was also used to enhance other amenities to the ballpark.

They have a restaurant along the left field outfield so you can dine and watch the game.  Myworld did not go into the restaurant so we don’t know how many tables had a good view of the park.  A giant glove sits on top of the restaurant.  A fountain explodes water out in right field, so if it gets too warm for the game you can take a walk to that area to get sprayed by the fountain.  Don’t tell the people from Iowa about global warming.  On July 1 and 2 when myworld attended two games, the night time game temperature dipped below 60 degrees.

The food choices seem abundant.  Myworld did not eat at the park since my hotel offered some dinner munchies that sucked away our appetite.  It didn’t look like you would starve if you went to the ball park and the prices seemed reasonable for ball park food.  Not a lot of concessions through the stadium, unless you wanted beer, cotton candy or a snow cone treat.

They have a mascot, which is Cubbie the bear.  I didn’t see much of Cubbie during the game.  Maybe he is a bit shy, but looking at his costume there is not a lot he could do in it.  At least you could identify him as a bear.  With some of the mascots it is a challenge to even identify what they are.

As most parks do they have a race during the game, sponsored by the gas station Kum and Go.  The characters are accesories you can purchase at the gas station such as drink cup, hot dog, chips and other characters that escape me for the moment.  The hot dog won both races in the two games myworld attended.  Later in the game they have three kids race dressed in hamburger costumes race around the infield.  In both races the kid with the longest legs won the race.

Nothing really special about the park.  The atmosphere and the sounds of the train noise in the background made it an enjoyable couple nights at the ballpark.  If you are in Des Moines and have nothing else to do, going to a game would not be a bad choice.  The prices are reasonable, a box seat costing you $14.