|Reno Manager Brett Butler celebrates championship|
Monday, August 29, 2011
My Last Minor League Road Trip of the Year
I just returned from the Reno Aces Ballpark where I took in the first 4 innings of the Reno-Fresno AAA game. I found myself watching my i-phone looking at MLB play by play results of the Dodger game with Kershaw than I did watching the action. I must say though, the Reno venue is a great baseball experience for this town.
I arrived at 5:30, an hour and a half before game time. Since the ballpark is downtown, there is no parking lot and numerous businesses allow you to park in their lots for between $5-7. I found a space in a law office parking lot and paid $5. I could see the ballpark about 2 blocks away and started towards it, but I kind of ran into an obstacle. The Truckee River.
I wasn't about to swim across, and the current was pretty swift, but I really couldn't see any other passage. Then this guy with the fishing pole trying to catch his dinner pointed me to a bridge that was beyond the trees.
Voila! The ballpark!
I went to the ticket window and expected to shell out about $20 for a top tier seat. The woman in the booth told me that General Admission tickets for the night were $1.00. Hey, what can I say? I’m cheap. I bought the $1.00 ticket and walked around.
The enemy was present too.
The upstairs restaurant and bar is named after the Manager.
I looked at a tweet from Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times and he showed a picture of the sparse crowd at Dodger Stadium just before game time. I then looked at the Reno crowd and realized that there were more people at this game at start time then at Chavez Ravine.
I got hungry and noticed that the ballpark favorite was the "Fully Loaded Tamale." That sounded delicious, so I shelled out $7.50 for one. I wish I could report that it was fantastic, unfortunately I'd rate it about a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Did you ever wonder what happened to Lucas May? He was traded to K.C. last year for Scott Podsednik along with Elisaul Pimentel. Well, Lucas has since been dealt by the Royals to Arizona and he is currently hitting .258 with Reno, splitting time behind the plate with another player. A lot of us weren't happy with the Podsednik deal, thinking May had a decent future. He got his cup of coffee in the majors with the Royals last year and started this season in AAA Omaha, where he got off to a poor start, hitting .176. Kansas City then traded him away in June. Here he is in a Reno Aces uni.
During the National Anthem, Brett Butler and bench coach Rick Burleson stand together. Burleson led the Dodgers Single A affiliate San Bernardino Stampede (along with Steve Yeager) to a California League Championship about 11-12 years ago. Go figure, Butler and Kirk Gibson are in the Arizona organization.
Altogether, a great night. But I couldn't just stay there and watch this game against the Giants affiliate Fresno Grizzlies knowing full well that Kershaw was spinning another gem back in L.A. I left in the 4th with Reno leading 4-2.
Kershaw is now 17-5 after throwing another complete game. The Cy Young Award, (and a 20 win season), is looking more and more promising. With the Giants loss tonight, my prediction that the Dodgers pass the Gnats for 2nd place is looking better and better. The Dodgers are now 7-3 in their past 10 and playing winning baseball. It's a shame that it's probably too late for a playoff run, but I'm optimistic about a very successful September.
Where was this James Loney the first 5 months of the season?
Lastly, how many times does Andre Ethier get caught in a run down after driving in a run? I'd love to see that stat. Andre's base running has been of Little League par this season.
Looks like I should have stayed. Reno's 5-2 victory clinched the Pacific North Division Title. I could have seen a celebration on the field.