Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

A Sudden Glut of Baseball

After a quiet early portion of baseball season, bereft of games, things dramatically shifted. In the last week, I’ve checked out the Pirates’ gorgeous PNC Park, and caught a Single-A doubleheader, seeing both the Hagerstown Suns and Frederick Keys today.

What does this all mean?

I need to write!

I have a full write-up on PNC Park (and by extension, Pittsburgh) in the hopper, and I’ll get rolling on reviews of Municipal Park (Hagerstown Suns) and Neymo Field at Harry Grove Stadium (Frederick Keys) in the coming days.

All in all, it’s been a great week of traveling through Pennsylvania and Maryland, getting a chance to traverse a few mountains, check out a Civil War battlefield, and most of all, see a few ballgames!

New adventures on tap for 2016

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After nearly 2 decades in Atlanta, this will be my new home ballpark. *Gulp*

Last year was filled was unfulfilled promises and plenty of false starts. Baseball took a backseat to finishing graduate school, largely unsuccessful attempts to find gainful employment in an economy that doesn’t value people with liberal arts degrees (I have only myself to blame), and a strange purgatory where I found myself in a place where most things in life seemed to stall.

However, in recent weeks, the finishing touches on a move to the Washington D.C. area were put in motion. Not only will this provide me with real, quality job opportunities, but it also puts me dangerously close to the majority of the AL and NL East, as well as a plethora of minor league teams at all levels of play. To say I’m excited is an understatement. So, after an underwhelming few years, which found me wallowing around the south, seeing a game or two at a minor league park in Florida, Georgia, or Alabama, I will now have relatively easy access to six major league teams, and more minor league teams than I can count.

What does this mean?

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Sunshine State Baseball Part II: Miami Marlins

A look at Marlins Park from our seats in left field

A look at Marlins Park from our seats in right field

To say I was skeptical of our visit to Miami is probably a gross understatement. After all, Miami was home to the Marlins, a team best known for somehow managing to win two World Series titles during their 20 year history, only to blow up the championship teams, spending most of their existence woefully behind their NL East opponents. Adding to the skepticism was the Marlins 2012 rebranding and move to Marlins Park–an actual baseball field–as opposed to their previous home of Pro Player Stadium, Joe Robbie Stadium, Dolphins Park, or whatever the name du jour was for that particular year.

Marlins Park is the source of quite a bit of controversy, and for good reason. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria wanted to keep his team in South Florida and pledged to move the team into Miami proper. Some doubted that baseball could actually flourish and after nearly 20 years of sparsely attended games, no one would blame the Marlins for heading west to Las Vegas or north to Charlotte, North Carolina. Instead–much to the chagrin of Miami taxpayers–Loria got his wish and a big taxpayer funded stadium was built on the site of the old Orange Bowl in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana district.

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Sunshine State Baseball Part I: Daytona Cubs

Rain spoils our visit to Daytona

Rain spoils our visit to Daytona

For as long as anyone can remember, Florida has been a hotbed for baseball. When spring training first started, Florida was the place to be, with it’s fantastic late-winters and early springs. It’s a state that is home to fifteen MLB teams during spring training, two MLB teams, and a litany of minor league teams. To say that Florida is a great place to see baseball is an understatement (unless you’re frying at a Minor League game in July or August). During our short jaunt through the east part of the state, we visited two MiLB parks (one game was rained out) and paid a visit to Jeffrey Loria’s gaudy palace in Miami. Each of our three stops will have a dedicated blog post, and if you want to see additional pictures from the trip, please check out our Facebook page! Continue reading

C’mon Braves, really?

Rain, rain go away

Rain, rain go away

UPDATE: I guess enough fans complained or the Braves realized that it wasn’t very fun to sit through a 4-hour rain delay on Monday. The team announced yesterday that anyone who has a ticket stub to the 6/17 game against the Mets can take it to the Turner Field box office and use it to buy a $5 ticket to 18 various second half home games. You can get tickets in pretty good sections as well, so it’s not a total loss for fans who suffered through Monday’s madness.

 

Even with threatening weather, I was excited to see my hometown Braves take on the Mets last night at Turner Field. I hadn’t been to a game since opening day and I was looking forward to seeing baseball. Yes, it was risky to buy tickets with a radar filled with different shades of green, yellow, and orange, but to the Ted I went. Not only was I greeted with close to a 4-hour rain delay, but a significant chunk of that delay featured no rain at all. First pitch was scheduled for 7:10; the game didn’t start until 10:52 EDT.

Managers Fredi Gonzalez of the Braves and Terry Collins of the Mets pushed hard to play last night, despite the weather, because the teams were already facing a 5-game series (there’s a makeup game today as part of a day/night doubleheader) and there’s a high probability of rain affecting one or both games today. I get what they were doing, but what resulted was inconsiderate to fans and unfair to players.

Stupidly, I purchased upper deck tickets to last night’s game, sat through the rain, getting rather wet and cold in the process, and it was so late by the time they actually started playing baseball, I left following the first inning. It was after 11:00 p.m., it was a Monday night, and it wasn’t the type of night where I wanted to hang at Turner Field until 2 a.m. What’s even more unfortunate is that because of the rainout policy, the thousands of fans that left before the start of the game (22,000+ paid to go, maybe 5,000 stayed) are out the bucks they paid to attend last night’s game. Families with young kids, folks that head to work early, and others that just gave up had a pretty rotten experience last night dodging rain, spending oodles of money on food and souvenirs that couldn’t be enjoyed while watching baseball.

It’s really sad when you’re hiding in the bowels of the stadium eating a hot dog watching the grounds crew standing on a field where it isn’t raining, but simply anticipating a storm.

From the players’ perspective, they must be pretty upset. Yes, they are paid an insane sum of money to play a game, but they are professionals and asking them to start a game at nearly 11:00 p.m. when they had a 1:00 p.m. game the following day is cruel and unnecessary. I could understand the push to get the game in if the Braves were playing a west coast or American League team, but it was the New York Mets, a team you play 18 times a year and will be back in Atlanta in September. To further the players’ case, they asked for a response from the MLB Players’ Association at 10:00 p.m. last night when the radar showed more heavy rain moving into the Atlanta-area, but were met with silence.

I can’t count how many Braves games I’ve been to in my life, but this was by far one of the worst experiences–if not the worst–I’ve had at a baseball game anywhere in the country. It’s one thing to delay an afternoon game into the early evening, but it’s an entirely different situation to delay at 7:10 game until nearly 11:00 p.m. on a Monday night…

C’mon Braves, I love you and you can do better that this.

P.S. I’m moving out-of-state in early August and this was quite possibly one of my last Braves games for quite some time. Way to give a great impression on my way out of Georgia.

Gwinnett Braves: A great experiment or failed endeavor?

A beautiful and steamy day at Coolray Field, home of the Gwinnett Braves

Despite the Gwinnett Braves playing in nearby Gwinnett County for the past 3 years, I had yet to make it over to Coolray Field and take a look at the Atlanta Braves AAA affiliate. That changed yesterday when a last minute decision led to a trek over to Gwinnett County where success apparently lives. Before I get to the game (which the Braves won) it’s important that we visit the history of the Braves AAA team and what led them to the decision to move to the Atlanta suburbs.

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More Braves games? Sure!

The bobblehead is nearly here and I will hold onto mine like a treasure that only Indiana Jones could find.

Well, the big weekend has finally arrived. After weeks of anticipation, we’re less than 48 hours away from ‘Sid Bream slide’ bobblehead day at Turner Field. It’s a glorious giveaway that stands to be one of the best the Braves have ever done. Don’t believe me? Just ask the dude who’s already put them up for sale on eBay for $80 a piece. Think he’s nuts? He’s already sold one. Yes, a presale for a team giveaway has already sold on eBay for 80 bucks…

I, on the other hand, will not be spending $80 for the greatness of this bobblehead. No, I’ll be there on Saturday with tens of thousands of others flocking to the gates of Turner Field in a zombie like frenzy for bobbleheads. However, there might be another reason why Saturday’s game is close to selling out. This weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays isn’t just a rematch of the 1992 World Series, it’s Alumni Weekend at Turner Field, a wonderful tradition (ok, this is only the third year they’ve done it, but you get the point) that brings back the Braves of old. They meet with fans, play a softball game, and the Braves are even going to retire some guy’s number. Not sure why they’d do such a thing for #29…

Root for the Home Team will be there on Saturday (sadly won’t be there for Smoltzie’s retirement on Friday) and we’re excited to be covering all the action. Live tweets should be easy since Turner Field offers complimentary wifi and it makes connecting to the interwebs a breeze compared to other MLB parks. Not only will we be there for Sid Bream’s Awesome Day, but we’ll head back to Turner Field next Wednesday to see the New York Yankees take on the Braves for yet another bobblehead night (and another World Series rematch). Yes, another one. This time it’s Craig Kimbrel Rookie of the Year bobblehead night. So long as Turner Field keeps cranking out great giveaways, we’ll find a way to be there.

We’re still trying to plan out the rest of the summer, which will surely continue our adventures to Southern League ballparks and beyond. Stay tuned to Root for the Home Team for the latest.

Oh, and one last comment before I sign off for evening. I’m heading to Saturday’s game with a buddy of mine from middle school who moved away to Charlotte years ago. He’s coming down specifically for the ‘Slide’. Told you these things were hot.