Friday, August 10, 2007
Day 47: Arrowhead Credit Union Park
All photos of Arrowhead Credit Union Park available on Flickr.
Today was another relatively lazy day for us in the Los Angeles area. Tomorrow we definitely plan on doing some sightseeing, but pretty much all on the agenda for this afternoon was catching up on the blog and visiting an In 'N' Out Burger, an awesome California chain that only has like three things on the menu, but makes a damn fine burger. We left for San Bernadino around 3:30 because we figured we'd hit traffic. We were correct in our assumption, and we arrived at the park at 5:30 for what was supposed to be a 45 minute drive. San Bernadino is on the fringe of the LA metropolitan area to the east, and is home the the high-A affiliate of the Dodgers, the Inland Empire 66ers. This team has been around for quite awhile and has fluctuated affiliation between the Mariners and the Dodgers several times. The team of course takes its name from Route 66, the famous former transcontinental highway.
Much like the park in Orem, this stadium has a very simple layout with only a couple of vendors and about 20 rows of seats, but there is a nice view to center field. It's certainly not as spectacular as the view in Orem, but had we not been there on a hazy day, we definitely would have had a nice view of the mountains here as well. The entry has a lot of pizzazz, as it is designed in a sort of Spanish style with lots of palm trees around. What set the park apart from some of the other A-ball stadiums we visited was the food. They had an awesome menu and variety, which included a taco stand, Italian cuisine, and bacon-wrapped hot dogs - not to mention it was $1 beer night!
There were several highlights to this night that had absolutely nothing to do with the game. First off, our seats were awesome - first row, right in front of the 66ers bullpen. Erik and I were so close we could investigate whether or not the players were wearing actual stirrups, or just the painted-on kind that Greg Maddux wears. The players all warmed up right in front of us, and I really wanted to go up to some of the guys and tell them that they had a hole in their swing, but I decided to refrain. We also were pleasantly surprised to see that journeyman Charlie Hough was the pitching coach. Secondly, immediately upon our arrival, we were chosen to be in the 3rd inning Keg Roll competition. Erik had to roll the keg from 3rd base to 2nd, and then I rolled it to 1st, while we raced a team running in the opposite directions - we ended up winning by DQ. The best part was before the race when we got to sit in the dugout with the players for a half inning. Chewing seeds in the dugout watching ball was awesome, and it reminded me of all my years riding the bench in Little League and high school. Lastly, perhaps the coolest part of the evening, MLB ambassador and former great Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda was there. Erik and I both bought Dodger baseballs in the team shop and waited in line for 2 innings to get his autograph. It was great to meet a living legend, even though he was visibly agitated to be getting bothered the whole game by fans. He did have a soft spot in his heart for the kids though and seemed to get a kick out of posing for photos with them and talking about baseball.
Between watching pitchers warm up and standing in line to see Tommy, I really can't say that I was as attentive as I would have liked to have been at this game. From what I did see, it was a very sloppy defensive game, and the 66ers starting pitcher Marion Arias got rocked for 6 runs on 10 hits in 4 innings. The Sixers could never really muster any offense the entire game. DH Josh Blanks was the star of the game for Lake Elsinore, going 3-5 with 3 RBI. He was by far the best statistical player in the game and I expect to see him in AAA by the end of next year. We also got a kick out of the fact that the 1B for the Storm was named C. Cooper (he had two hits as well, by the way).
Tomorrow we hopefully get to see a bit of LA before heading to Fullerton to watch the OC Flyers of the Golden League.
park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 4
views from park - 7 (would be better if it wasn't hazy)
view to field - 10
surrounding area - 2
food variety - 9
nachos - 6 (tons o' cheese left over)
beer - 10 (Miller Lite for $1)
vendor price - 8
ticket price - 9
atmosphere - 7 (Tommy Lasorda and the Dodger cheerleaders salvage this category)
walk to park - 2
parking price/proximity - 7 ($3 in A-ball?)
concourses - 4
team shop - 4
best food - bacon-wrapped hot dog with fried onions
most unique stadium feature - Tommy Lasorda
best jumbotron feature - video feed to jumbotron was totally just a guy who walked around with a small handheld camera
best between-inning feature - us in the keg roll
field dimensions - 330/410/330
starters - Steve Garrison (LE) v. Marion Arias (IE)
opponent - Lake Elsinore Storm
time of game - 2:39
attendance - 1530
score - 3-2 W
Brewers score that day - off