Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Happens When A Blogger Gets Stuck in Traffic Near a Ballpark

On Monday night I found my self stuck in traffic on US-19 in my old stomping grounds of Clearwater, FL.  I noticed that the lights were on at the stadium where the Clearwater Threshers, the Single-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Philllies, play.  So instead of hanging a left back to Tampa and sitting in more traffic, I hung a right and pulled into the parking lot.

It had been a cloudy, rainy day in Tampa (which is doing nothing for my tan) so it wasn’t a 100% lock that the game would be played. Things were clearing up, but just to be safe I splurged for the highest end ticket that promised me a little bit of an overhang and, thus, protection from any rain.  The cost for the ticket - $13.  Gotta love minor league ball.

The ticket was $3.00 more than normal because I opted in for the “Feeding Frenzy” upgrade. All you can eat burgers, hot dogs, fries, pizza, peanuts and popcorn.  My friends, this is why America is the greatest country in the world.

I was planning on live-tweeting the game, just because I was alone and felt like being annoying. Unfortunately, my phone chose not to cooperate and ran out of battery life just after I snapped one photo of the ballpark.

You can see the photos of the other stuff I did on Instagram @TorchRamrod

Lucky for you, my loyal readers (Mom, Dad hope things are well for you) I did jot down my thoughts and will now present them to you, along with some extra information I’ve looked up since them.  So instead of a live-Tweet I give you a Twitter Reenactment of my thoughts during the Clearwater Thresher/ Tampa Yankees baseball game:

 - Pre-game music is a mix of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The Threshers audio guy is really catering to his demographic.

- If there are 500 people here I would be surprised. Pretty sure everyone gets a foul ball tonight.

- The Threshers lead-off hitter is Drew Stankiewicz. There is no way in hell he’s not related to former Yankee Andy Stankiewicz. (He is Andy’s son.  I now feel extremely old).

- Not to be outdone, the Yankees are starting someone named Rookie Davis. That sounds like a name the computer generates five seasons into dynasty mode on Maddon 2013.

- Speaking of Yankees, the kid in front of me has a Yankees T-Shirt and thick gold chain. They had to have come as a set, right?

- All you can eat night at the ballpark isn’t quite the value when you’ve given up meat for a year.  I guess I’ll take the peanuts…all of the peanuts.

- It’s Bingo Night at the Ballpark. Every time a Thresher comes up to hit they flash a bingo ball on the screen. If you get bingo then you win free bingo cards at some bingo parlor (1/3)

- The balls are white with yellow writing…shown on a pale yellow background. Not a great set up, guys. Which leads to… (2.3)

- the lady three seats down constantly asking which number it is.  “Is that a 53 or 56? Harold, I can’t see it”. For four innings the same thing EVERY AT BAT! Harold is either deaf or a saint.

- Rookie Davis (the Single-A rookie) is hitting 95 on the gun. Smooth wind-up. He’s officially my Michael Taylor Single A guy who looks like he’s going to be a good major league player but won’t.

- None of Keith Law’s top 100 prospects are at this game. None of his top 10 prospects for either organization are at this game. Ten years from now Justin won’t be able to say, “I saw that kid before he was a star”

- Threshers starter David Whitehead gets into some trouble in the second allowing to hitters to reach with no outs. He promptly strikes out the side. The Yankees have three hitters that have struck out a third of their at-bats so far on the season. Two of them struck out this inning.

- Whitehead is a sinker-baller who tops out at 91mph. If he gets it down he’s effective. If he leaves it up, not so much.  Some loud foul balls so far.

- Wind is gusting in from right. No balls leaving the yard in that direction tonight.

- Devin Lohman jaws at the home plate umpire after getting called out on strikes. When you’re hitting .179 in the A League you don’t get to criticize the umpire, kid.

- Do players still call umpires “Blue” now that the umps are wearing black shirts on a regular basis?

- Davis is mixing an 82 mph overhand curve with his fastball.  The Threshers look a little overmatched.

- Thresher’s Mitch Walding’s walk-up music is “Home Sweet Home” by Motley Crue. That song was released in 1985. Walding was born in 1992.

- I recognize exactly zero other walk-up songs.

- Hey Rob Ducey is on the Threshers coaching staff! I remember him.

- First run scored by the Yankees when the Thresher’s catcher airmails a throw to 3rd on a stolen base attempt.  Hey I’ve done that before!

- Yankee’s 4th run scores when a wild pitch gets past the Threshers’ catcher. Not having the best night, because he’s also getting the hell beat out of him with pitches in the dirt.

- The wheels have officially come off for Threshers in the 6th. They give up 4 runs and are now down 8-0. The inning could have ended early if the 3rd baseman hadn’t whiffed on a potential double play ground ball.

- I think that foul ball just hit my rental car.

- Props to the sound guy for mixing up the foul ball sound effects.  A SPROING noise for balls bouncing off the net, crashing sound for balls off the façade and a screeching tire for balls hit into the parking lot.

- Davis has given up 4 hits through 5 2/3 innings pitched and struck out 7. Three of those hits are from Willans Astudillo.  Promote that kid.

- Davis’ night is done in the sixth. He leaves with two outs, runners at the corners, up 8-0 and the next three hitters are a combined 0-7 with three strikeouts against him.  Hey coach maybe leave him in to see if he can close out the inning.

- Chad Taylor, his replacement, closes out the inning with a fly ball out to centerfield.

- 7th inning! Where did the pitch speed go?  And where are the sound effects?  I bet the same guy runs both and he’s on a bathroom break.

- and now it’s 12-0 Yankees.  Not a great day for the Threshers’ pitching staff. Or their defense.  Or their hitters.

- Kind of a hard luck inning for reliever Lino Martinez. An error by the 3rd baseman and a passed ball hurt him. He makes a great 2 strike pitch to Matt Snyder and Snyder cue balls it down the third base line for a double and 2 RBIs.

- The home team is losing 12-0 and there is a fan with a Cubs shirt on. It’s like I’m back in Wrigley!

My back started to get sore and I had enough peanuts to feed an elephant army so I decided to call it a night. According to the paper the Threshers did not mount a historic comeback and lost 12-1.  So I don’t really feel bad for leaving. Plus I got to listen to the Penguins lose Game 3 on the ride home!

1 comment:

Stealing Home said...

Gotta love the Feeding Frenzyyyyyyy!!!