Archive for the ‘ Minor League Baseball ’ Category

About Last Night: Mississippi Braves, August 2, 2015

This season, when I’m on the road, I’ll be writing an on-the-spot blog post about each Minor League ballpark that I visit. Then, upon my return home, I’ll provide the multifaceted blog coverage that you have come to know and, perhaps, even love. Let’s get to it, lest it get to us!

August 2, 2015: Trustmark Park, home of the Mississippi Braves 

Opponent: Montgomery Biscuits, 5:00 p.m. game time.

Trustmark Park, from the outside: 

003Trustmark Park, from within: 

021Culinary Creation: Uh, here’s a hot dog with mustard. What more do you want?

038Ballpark Character: Me. Why not? This was taken on the concourse, via an iSnap photo booth.
isnap1At Random: It’s been a while, so here’s a #Cupdate:

IMG_0129

Your Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day: 

Next Up: 

Jackson Generals: 8/3

Nashville Sounds: 8/5

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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About Last Night: Montgomery Biscuits, August 1, 2015

This season, when I’m on the road, I’ll be writing an on-the-spot blog post about each Minor League ballpark that I visit. Then, upon my return home, I’ll provide the multifaceted blog coverage that you have come to know and, perhaps, even love. Let’s get to it, lest it get to us!

August 1, 2015: Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Montgomery Biscuits 

Opponent: Tennessee Smokies, 6:35 p.m. game time.

Riverwalk Stadium, from the outside: 

007Riverwalk Stadium, from within: 

013Culinary Creation: Biscuits (of course), blending into the woodwork

051Ballpark Character: Miss Gravy, Duchess of Pork — just a pig and her front office cubicle:

039At Random: Riverwalk Stadium used to be a train station, and much of the original architecture remains. These stairs lead to the team offices:

038Your Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day: People are telling me this punchline is too subtle. There is no such thing as a too-subtle punchline.

Next Up: 

Mississippi Braves: 8/2

Jackson Generals: 8/3

Nashville Sounds: 8/5

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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About Last Night: Mobile BayBears, July 31, 2015

This season, when I’m on the road, I’ll be writing an on-the-spot blog post about each Minor League ballpark that I visit. Then, upon my return home, I’ll provide the multifaceted blog coverage that you have come to know and, perhaps, even love. Let’s get to it, lest it get to us!

 July 31, 2015: Hank Aaron Stadium, home of the Mobile Baybears 

Opponent: Jacksonville Suns, 7:05 p.m. game time.

Hank Aaron Stadium, from the outside:

002Hank Aaron Stadium, from within: 

007Culinary Creation: Conecuh Sausage with peppers and onions

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Ballpark Characters: Batboy Wade Vadakin (now in his 18th season) with his father, Jack (who drives him to every game).

IMG_0089At Random: The kitchen in the Hank Aaron Childhood Home and Museum (located on the grounds of the stadium, open during every game).

IMG_0080

Your Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day: 

Next Up: 

Montgomery Biscuits: 8/1

Mississippi Braves: 8/2

Jackson Generals: 8/3

Nashville Sounds: 8/5

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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About Last Night: Biloxi Shuckers, July 30, 2015

This season, when I’m on the road, I’ll be writing an on-the-spot blog post about each Minor League ballpark that I visit. Then, upon my return home, I’ll provide the multifaceted blog coverage that you have come to know and, perhaps, even love. Let’s get to it, lest it get to us!

July 30, 2015: MGM Park, home of the Biloxi Shuckers 

Opponent: Jackson Generals, 7:10 p.m. game time.

This was my second night in Biloxi, so I’m going to vary the “About Last Night” template a bit. Here, then, is a Vine depicting my short walk to MGM Park.

And here was the scene, shortly after I arrived.

IMG_0050Some fans took cover in and around the Shuckers Shop.

007Where, for the record, this shirt is the #1 selling item.

005Meanwhile, it just kept raining.

To pass the time, Shuckers broadcaster Chris Harris interviewed me on the air. This was fun.

But what is life if not a constant succumbing to the inevitable? The game was called — doubleheader Friday, Shuckers fans, the first in MGM Park history — and there was nothing left for me to do but (kinda sorta) make a joke.

For far more from my visit to Biloxi, check out this MiLB.com piece.

Next Up: 

Mobile BayBears: 7/31

Montgomery Biscuits: 8/1

Mississippi Braves: 8/2

Jackson Generals: 8/3

Nashville Sounds: 8/5

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

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About Last Night: Biloxi Shuckers, July 29, 2015

This season, when I’m on the road, I’ll be writing an on-the-spot blog post about each Minor League ballpark that I visit. Then, upon my return home, I’ll provide the multifaceted blog coverage that you have come to know and, perhaps, even love. Let’s get to it, lest it get to us!

 July 29, 2015: MGM Park, home of the Biloxi Shuckers 

Opponent: Jackson Generals, 7:10 p.m. game time.

MGM Park, from the outside:

007MGM Park, from within: 

025Culinary Creation: Garlic-butter grilled oysters (shucked offsite, but so shuckin’ good).

IMG_0036Ballpark Character: Bello, daredevil clown extraordinaire, hamming it up before tossing a ceremonial first pitch.

041At Random: An interesting approach to foul pole construction.

026Your groundbreaking and subversive ballpark joke of the day: Thus far, I’ve got nothing. Wish me luck, as I’ll be making a return trip to the Shuckers tonight.

Next Up: 

Biloxi Shuckers, part II: 7/30

Mobile BayBears: 7/31

Montgomery Biscuits: 8/1

Mississippi Braves: 8/2

Jackson Generals: 8/3

Nashville Sounds: 8/5

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

About Tuesday Night: New Orleans Zephyrs, July 28, 2015

This season, when I’m on the road, I’ll be writing an on-the-spot blog post about each Minor League ballpark that I visit. Then, upon my return home, I’ll provide the multifaceted blog coverage that you have come to know and, perhaps, even love. Let’s get to it, lest it get to us!

 July 28, 2015: Zephyr Field, home of the New Orleans Zephyrs 

Opponent: Colorado Springs Sky Sox, 6:05 p.m. game time.

Zephyr Field, from the outside: 

004Zephyr Field, from within: 

008Culinary Creation: Alligator Sausage Po-Boy with crawfish etouffee, peppers and onions

021Ballpark Characters: The broadcasting duo of Tim Grubbs (right) and Ron Swoboda.

037At Random: It is rumored that this outfield berm boasts the highest elevation in the greater New Orleans area.

007Your Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day:

Next Up: 

Biloxi Shuckers: 7/29-30

Mobile BayBears: 7/31

Montgomery Biscuits: 8/1

Mississippi Braves: 8/2

Jackson Generals: 8/3

Nashville Sounds: 8/5

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

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On the Road: Taking a Peek at the Valleys in West Virginia

To see all posts from my June 30, 2015 visit to the West Virginia Black Bears (this is Part One) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my June 2015 trip through the Virginias, click HERE. To see ALL of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

2015 “On the Road” landing page HERE! 

The reason that I dubbed this road trip “Virginias 2015″ —  as opposed to “Virginia 2015 — was because it did indeed contain multiple Virginias. But the singular did not become multiple until the very last day of the trip, when I crossed the state line from Virginia into Maryland and then into the other Virginia.

West Virginia.

This was a scenic journey, full of steep hills and Maryland woodland and convenience stores that sell beet eggs (marking the first time I’d had a beet egg since visiting the Hagerstown Suns back in 2011). IMG_1548But I’m not here to write about beet eggs. I’m done with that, it’s ovum. I’m here to write about the West Virginia Black Bears, the newest entrant into the increasingly inaccurately named New York-Penn League. Actually, I already have written about the Black Bears, over on MiLB.com, and I’m going to borrow from that article a few times in this blog post. Starting now:

Over the last two decades, the New York-Penn League has expanded far beyond the two states in its name. The Class A Short Season circuit currently has franchises in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Vermont and, as of last month, West Virginia.

The NYPL’s first Mountain State entrant, which relocated from Jamestown, New York, has dubbed itself the West Virginia Black Bears. Specifically, the Black Bears represent the north-central metropolis of Morgantown and the surrounding community. Monongalia County Stadium, the team’s brand-new facility, is shared with West Virginia University’s Big 12 baseball program. The Black Bears, a Pirates affiliate, played their first game there on June 19.

The stadium is located on “Gyorko Drive,” named after local-baseball-hero-turned-San Diego Padre-Jedd Gyorko. “Gyorko Drive” isn’t on any maps yet and will probably not appear in your GPS device of choice. Your best bet is to set your coordinates for the Wal-Mart on University Town Centre Drive (in Granville, not Morgantown) and then just keep on driving right past the Wal-Mart (as it is always best to do). Eventually, you’ll make it to Monongalia County Stadium.

This was my first view of the stadium. Many superior views were to follow, but you never forget your first.

002Meanwhile, in the other direction, there was this vast expanse:

001Again, from my MiLB.com story:

Monongalia County Ballpark is located not in Morgantown but to the northwest in the comparatively miniscule town of Granville (pop. 2,508). The area in which the ballpark is located used to be coal mining country. It is currently surrounded by, well, not much.

Change is imminent. Granville’s University Town Centre — a sprawling assemblage of chain stores, restaurants and hotels — is located en route to the ballpark, and similar development is planned in the area surrounding the park. Black Bears assistant general manager John Pogorzelski said that there will soon be a new Route 79 off-ramp close to the stadium to accommodate the traffic generated by the new hotels, stores and, of course, baseball fans.

Pogorzelski and Black Bears general manager Matt Drayer both relocated with the franchise from Jamestown, New York, where they held the same positions with the Jammers. To say that West Virginia and Jamestown are two entirely different baseball atmospheres would be an understatement. It would also be correct. Here’s a picture of the Jammers’ home of Russell E. Diethrick Park, from when I visited late last August:
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Pogorzelski — whom I will henceforth call “John” — gave me a tour of the facility. We began by entering the external structure located beyond right field (to the left of Gate C). The smell of paint permeated the area, resulting in a visceral reminder that this ballpark is still very, very new. Here’s the home clubhouse, which is pretty small for a new stadium. Nonetheless, when we walked by, there was some ping pong-table acquisition chatter going on inside. There’s always room for ping-pong.

006The vast majority of the ballpark’s Black Bear population was out on the field, vigorously exercising thigh muscle.
007As you may have inferred from the above photo (but probably didn’t) the entire field (save for the clay pitcher’s mound) is artificial turf.

008The berm area is real grass, but the berm area (on both sides of the ballpark) is not yet open to fans because the hills are so steep. This is a very Hill-y ballpark, even on days in which I am not there.

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The Black Bears might compete on artificial turf, but they nonetheless have (and need) a groundskeeper. His name is Craig McIntosh.

011I wrote a short MiLB.com article about Craig and how he does his job, which can be found HERE. It is the first story that I have ever written that includes the term “mound fetish.” Craig also talked about how a big part of his job his job involves picking debris off of the artificial turf. Hence, rules:

013

Monongalia County Ballpark has only 2500 fixed seats. There are no arm rests, at least for now, with John explaining that the initial choice was between arm rests and cup holders.

“We figured that people would need a place to hold their beer,” he said.

014We then walked up the stairs to the press box and suite level, which provides the best example of what is this ballpark’s best feature: The View.

IMG_1549Once again, I’m going to dip my blogging ladle into the supple pre-existing MiLB.com article well.

The unique topography of Monongalia County Ballpark makes for a somewhat awkward layout, but any minor inconveniences are made up for — and then some — by what is one of the best views in Minor League Baseball.

The ballpark faces to the southeast. That’s downtown Morgantown beyond left field (in both foul and fair territory), which gives way to the smaller town of Westover and, most prominently, the natural beauty which lays beyond the winding Monongahela River (not visible from the ballpark). There’s a reason that WVU’s sports teams are called “Mountaineers,” and, of course, within those mountains one can find black bears.  

There’s a lot of room in the press box — especially by New York-Penn League standards — and this is because the ballpark needs to accommodate the oft-larger WVU Big 12 baseball media contingent. (There are three radio booths — home, visitor and student — though the student booth isn’t used during Black Bears games.)

018

021There are three suites, one of them being this 50-person group area.

022Behind the ballpark, on the first base side, is a WVU-affiliated medical facility. I guess, if you really wanted to, you could watch the game from here for free. You could also take a terrifying tumble into the abyss, if you’re not careful.

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At the time that I visited, the Black Bears front office had not yet moved into what will be their office. Like the player locker rooms, I was surprised at the relative smallness of the offices. Generally, new ballparks are more expansive.

033Nice view from this executive suite, however:

032As we got closer to the start of the game, fans started gathering outside the main gate.

037Most stadium main entrances are not located in the left field corner, as this one is. Take it away, MiLB.com story:

The home plate side of Monogalia County Ballpark is built up against a hill, and as such there is no home plate entry into the ballpark. This leads to a unique feature in that the main entrance, Gate A, is located in left-center field. Fans entering through the gate then embark on (what should be) a leisurely walk down the third base concourse to the seating area behind home plate.

038The evening’s ballgame, featuring the Black Bears taking on the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, was not destined to start on time. The skies were threatening. Look closely and you can see that the tarp was on the field. (It’s better to have a mound fetish than the mound wettish.)

IMG_1552Another ballpark, another rain delay. Thus is life on the road.

Speaking of “life on the road,” I am writing this post from an undisclosed location in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Yep – a new road trip has already begun, and here I am still writing about the last one. Stay tuned for more from West Virginia, as well as what is sure to be a whole heck of a lot from this late July/early August jaunt through the Deep South.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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On the Road: Surf and Turf in Potomac

To see all posts from my June 29, 2015 visit to the Potomac Nationals (this is Part Three) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my June 2015 trip through the Virginias, click HERE. To see ALL of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

2015 “On the Road” landing page HERE! 

This is Tony Jaeger.

047Tony’s last name does not have an umlaut, but his name is pronounced as if it was the first two syllables of herbal liqueur Jagermeister (which does have an umlaut). He said that bartenders sometimes give him free shots of Jagermeister, which is good, because it’s not a drink that he likes enough to actually pay for.

But Tony wasn’t attending this Potomac Nationals game so he could drink, or at least that wasn’t the primary reason. He was attending it so he could eat. Specifically, he was to serve as my designated eater (you know, the individual who consumes the ballpark cuisine that my gluten-free diet prohibits). He was joined at Pfitzner Stadium by his girlfriend, Katie. They met on eHarmony, and have been dating for six months.

052Tony, an El Paso native, lives in Washington D.C. (about a 45-minute drive from “The Pfitz”). He works for a non-profit organization that aids those recovering from addiction, managing the property and also assisting with activities.

“I’ve watched him do bingo,” Katie said.

Katie, meanwhile, had been an elementary school teacher for the last decade. She recently resigned, however, saying that it’s “a longer day than I get paid for.”

Tony and Katie are both baseball fans. He has a share of a Washington Nationals season-ticket plan, regularly rides his bike to games and follows the team’s affiliates online. Katie, who lives in Annapolis, Maryland, is a Baltimore Orioles supporter. She also supported Tony’s designated eating endeavors.

“I’m excited; he likes to eat,” she said. “And I like this stadium. It’s what baseball is really about. I’m glad we’re here.”

The three of us were standing in the Cafe Area, a concession and picnic area located just past the main entrance. The Cafe Area had a fairly wide-ranging menu, including, yes, a bacon boat.

058

The Cafe Area also had a tremendous line, one so long that I have to show it over the course of two photographs.

045

044We were in search of “The Codfather,” a fried fish sandwich obtainable at the tent on the left. There was no line to speak of at this tent, thank goodness. The mighty Ben’s Biz does not deign to wait in lines.

012

This turned out to be a slightly trumped-up “Codfather,” as it included both cod and shrimp. It was topped with cole slaw. 046Here’s a shot of Jaeger:

048

And here’s a short video:

“Thank God for the cole slaw, otherwise it’s just fried seafood in a hot dog bun,” said Tony, of the Codfather. “It’s good, tasty, if someone was looking for something substantial. I would add cocktail sauce.”

Okay, what’s next?

“Let’s look for the enigmatic,” it says in my notebook. I’m not sure who said that, but it captures our collective spirit at that moment. Specifically, we were looking for the enigmatic “National Burger,” which had been suggested earlier in the evening by P-Nats general manager Josh Olerud. But where could this burger be obtained? It wasn’t in the Cafe Area and it wasn’t in the same tent location in which we had located the Codfather.

As we bravely plunged into the crowded concourse area, our fates uncertain, I heard a voice call my name. It was P-Nats food and beverage manager Aaron Johnson, and in his hand was the mysterious National Burger. The enigmatic had been located, and all was right with the world.

049

Johnson explained that the National Burger consisted of a pub burger topped with two slices of American cheese (one white and one yellow) and a Nathan’s hot dog. Beneath the burger, serving as the base, was a layer of french fries.

“Since our team name is the Nationals, we figured we’d do something all-American,” Johnson said.

Tony wasted no time getting down to business.

051 “Oh, that’s good,” he said. “I couldn’t taste the potatoes, but cheese, burger and hot dogs captures the taste buds. And it’s not falling apart. If there was [an eating] challenge with this, I’d do it. And I’d get it again, if I could find it.”

And with that, Tony had completed his designated eating duties. He and Katie were free to return to their seats, which were located right behind home plate (courtesy of the P-Nats).

“They’re excellent seats,” Tony said. “I was telling [Katie], ‘Baby, this is the closest you’re ever gonna see home plate.'”

041

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On the Road: Hanging with the Regulars, Watching the Irregular in Potomac

To see all posts from my June 29, 2015 visit to the Potomac Nationals (this is part two) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my June 2015 trip through the Virginias, click HERE. To see ALL of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

2015 “On the Road” landing page HERE! 

I’m running out of ways to introduce the second part of a blog post series. It almost always begins at the start of the ballgame, and this post is no exception: A baseball game had just begun; specifically a Carolina League contest between the Potomac Nationals and visiting Carolina Mudcats at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium.

As mentioned in the previous post, this is a stadium that faces west to a degree that is less-than-ideal.

041It was a Monday, but it wasn’t just any Monday. It was Dollar Monday — $1 general admission tickets and $1 hot dogs. This led to a much larger crowd than I was expecting, which was later announced at 5,137. The concourse can barely accommodate such a robust group of buck wiener seekers.

036

Among the fans in attendance was Todd Headington, who asked for a photo and later tweeted the following. This is the first time I’ve ever been called a “MiLB Hero” and, yeah, I’m bragging about it.

But the real heroes are the guys on the field. I’m talking, of course, about that evening’s roster of Intern Olympians. There was some structure to all of this, with one team competing against another throughout the night, but who needs context to enjoy absurdity? 037I guess the blue guy won. 038The denizens of the non-descending dugout were unenthused by the proceedings. 040Uncle Slam, looking for a handout. 042The sun was oppressive at the beginning of the game, but as the evening wore on it turned into an incredibly pleasant night. Yes, not just pleasant, but incredibly pleasant. It’s easy to make jokes about the Pfitz being a glorified rec league field, but tell me you wouldn’t want to be sitting in the stands on an evening like this. I dare you. 056 I mean, really. 057And speaking of rec league fields, there’s one located just across the way. I took this photo through a chain link fence located on the third base side of the stadium. 053While there were plenty of open seats behind home plate, the bleachers were booming with $1 patrons. 060That was the view to my right. To my left was a front-office observation area of sorts. 059And straight ahead was Ken’s Place, a gathering place for a group of dedicated P-Nats fans. 062Would you believe that I wrote an MiLB.com story about the denizens of Ken’s Place? I’m sure you would. I don’t know why I phrased it that way. HERE is a link to the story, and here is an excerpt:

Ken’s Place [is] a standing-room-only gathering spot identified by a banner hanging on a chain-link fence that runs down the first base line. It has the atmosphere of a local watering hole, a largely male enclave where everybody seems to know everybody else. Within this convivial locale, the trash talk, in-jokes and beer flow freely. Ken’s Place is a longstanding tribute to die-hard P-Nats fan Ken Rostkowski, a mainstay at “The Pfitz” who passed away suddenly in 2007 at the age of 46.

“We’ve all been here a long time, at least 15 years,” explained Ken’s Place regular John Foot, whose name, he said, is spelled “just like a leg.” “Kenny passed away almost 10 years ago. We had all got to be pretty good friends with him. We all met through baseball.”

During my visit to Ken’s Place, something hilarious happened. For some reason, or perhaps no reason, Cookie Monster tackled Uncle Slam during a between-inning race. Uncle was Slammed to the ground, and his head popped off. I understand that headless mascots are one of Minor League Baseball’s biggest taboos, but as a conscientious journalist I have no choice but to share.

Moving on to a less-controversial topic, it was still a beautiful night! In fact, it just kept on getting more beautiful.  IMG_1539

IMG_1537

The P-Nats went on to secure a 7-2 victory over the Mudcats of Zebulon, North Carolina. But even more importantly, some interns won the Intern Olympics and some interns lost the Intern Olympics and therefore some of the winning interns hit some of the losing interns in the face with a pie of some sort.

064There’s not much that can be done after that, except maybe toss a few tennis balls in the direction of various on-field targets.  065Well, actually, there was still one more thing to do. These jokes don’t write themselves.

Good night from the Pfitz.

IMG_1543

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On the Road: Putzing Around the Pfitz in Potomac

To see all posts from my June 29, 2015 visit to the Potomac Nationals (this is Part One) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my June 2015 trip through the Virginias, click HERE. To see ALL of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

2015 “On the Road” landing page HERE! 

The Potomac Nationals were the penultimate stop on this, my pen-penultimate road trip of the season. The P-Nats, as they are known colloquially, play in G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium. This facility is known colloquially as “The Pfitz.”

The Pfitz is located in Woodbridge, Virginia, part of the greater Washington D.C. area. Driving in this heavily congested area gives me Pfitz, but I allotted myself plenty of time to make the trip from Salem and made it to Woodbridge uneventfully. After arriving at the listed alliterative address of 7 County Complex Court, I parked my car in a lot largely occupied by Prince William County government vehicles. After changing my shirt (yep, yet another instance of stadium parking lot toplessness), I looked around and was at first confused as to where the stadium actually was.

001 Ah, yes, there it is.

002

The Pfitz opened in 1984, and has not aged all that Orwell. P-Nats owner Art Silber has been working for years to finance a new stadium, an effort I covered in some detail during the offseason, and its days appear to be numbered. But despite the long-articulated deficiencies of this no-frills Carolina League facility, I was immediately charmed by it.
003Uncle Slam wants you to, per industry operating principles, enjoy an evening of affordable family-friendly fun.

004The main entrance of the stadium leads directly into the Cafe Area.

008The Cafe Area is locked in an unending staring contest with “The National Mall” team store.

011In the adjacent ticket office, I became acquainted with a triumvirate of recent P-Nats giveaway items: Wilson “The Buffalo” Ramos, Michael Taylor Flattop figurine and the Jayson Werth Beard-A-Rine. All of them make perfect sense and do not need to be explained.

IMG_1533To the right of the team store is a franchise Hall of Fame, which features some pretty big names.

014

015

We now transition from big names to a small concourse.

017But the front office still finds ways to be creative within these confines. I’d never seen a photo booth at a Minor League ballpark before, and think it’s a great idea.

018I soon ran into Andrew Pollowitz,  recent Lynn University graduate and P-Nats intern.

019Pollowitz doesn’t dress like this every game, or at least I don’t think he does. The P-Nats were staging the “Intern Olympics” on this Monday evening, an event of great pomp and pageantry that required costumes such as the above. Weiners could be seen everywhere.

020

Finally, mercifully, I made it out onto the field of play. The Pfitz is a minimalist amalgam of seats and bleachers.

022

This, allegedly, is the best seat in the house.

024Here, we see a rare living example of the non-descending dugout.

025It was a beautiful day for baseball. That’s all I ever ask for.

027There is little relief from the sun, however, a situation that is exacerbated by the Pfitz’s less-than-ideal orientation. It’s not at Bakersfield (or even Batavia) facing-the-sun levels, but still pretty bad.

028The start of the game was still more than half an hour away. Thus, it was an ideal time to conduct an interview. This, here, is Thomas J. Rhoads, a Towson University professor and author of the recently-published The Call Up to the Majors: A Proximity-Based Approach to the Economics of Minor League Baseball.

029I’ll write an article based on my interview with Thomas, as soon as I get the chance (as you may have noticed, I’m having a real hard time keeping up with my travel schedule this season). But I’d recommend checking out his book if you’re interested in the business of Minor League Baseball (although, fair warning, it is priced at an academic rather than mass audience level). From the back cover:

This book explores the unique relationships between professional baseball teams and the unique ways professional baseball teams are organized in North America with a primary focus on how proximity can and does impact consumer demand. 

After taking the photo of Thomas seen above, I turned to my right and found myself in proximity to this quintessentially Minor League Baseball tableau.

Okay, enough stall-ing, it was time for the game to begin. The starters hustled out onto the field for the National Anthem.

032While the reserves took their sweet old time.

033

As for me, I’ll take my sweet old time finishing up this Potomac Nationals blog series. It’s not like I’m leaving on my next trip in a couple of days or anything. Stay tuned…

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

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