Monday, May 5, 2008

Henry Aaron Field

All photos of Henry Aaron Field available on Flickr.

I found myself in a predicament this weekend - the Brewers, Snappers, and Timber Rattlers were all on the road! In my continuing effort to find at least one game a week to attend, I discovered that UW-Milwaukee was playing a doubleheader at Henry Aaron Field against Horizon League rival Valparaiso. Although I am normally not a huge fan of college baseball because of the metal bats, I decided that I was out of options and drove out to Lincoln Park on the far north end of Milwaukee, and let's face it I'll watch any game at any time.

This field was clearly just a slightly upgraded Milwaukee County Parks diamond. It had three sets of standalone rusty bleachers, ground-level as opposed to submerged dugouts, two portable toilets, no concessions, and a little treehouse-like shack where the announcer sat, played batter songs, and presumably kept score since there was no scoreboard (one is supposed to be erected for the 2009 season). If there was actually a gate I had to walk into to pay for a ticket I might have been upset that the first game was postponed from noon to 3pm, but since it was free, I left and came back. Much like last weekend in Appleton, it was a cold windy day and I struggled to sit through the first 7-inning game of the doubleheader before leaving. After a slow start it was a pretty good offensive showing for the Panthers. Shortstop Jesse Hart went yard twice to deep left field, as the team hit three total HRs in the win over the Crusaders. According to the group of Valpraiso families keeping score in front of me, it was a 9-5 win for UWM. The Valpo shortstop (don't remember his name - no scoreboard) had the defensive play of the game, as he caught a bad hop barehanded and tossed a strike to home plate to nail a guy trying to score. Overall it might be something I would enjoy going to if it was warmer - and Erik and a grill were present - but on this particular Saturday afternoon it was merely a way to notch another ballgame under my belt, and to finally see my undergraduate alma mater's team play a game.

Now onto my weekly Brewers rant. I'm trying not to get to worried since its only May, so all I'll say is that taking 2 of 3 from the Cubs doesn't really mean much if we're going to get swept by the Astros. The bats are looking a little better, and although we left the bases loaded about 4 times this weekend, our clutch hitting is looking a little better as well, particularly in the Chicago series. Mike Cameron has really ignited the offense, and pretty much every player is seeing the ball well, except maybe Hardy and Weeks - but Hardy has a sore shoulder and Weeks still walks a ton and scores a ridiculous amount of runs for a man with a .200 batting average. We're starting to crank out 4-6 runs a game, which we will need to do consistently now with the season-ending knee injury of Yovani Gallardo. Dave Bush has rejoined the club after one start for Nashville (6IP 1 ER), and it's looking more and more like the Jeff Weaver signing was a good pickup. Carlos and Manny really need to step it up in the rotation now - they both have a tendency to be fairly dominant the first couple times through the order and then become unglued in the 5th or 6th. We're definitely going to need more than 5 1/3 innings out of these guys from now on, particularly with the pen back down to a normal sized 7-member staff following the long-overdue demotion and possible release of Derrick Turnbow. Hopefully he'll accept his AAA assignment and sort stuff out, because we'll definitely need him for the playoff push in September.

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 1 (clearly bar league softball is also played here)
views from park - 2 (Green Bay Ave, park)
view to field - 7 (really close, but chain link fence)
surrounding area - 3 (Lincoln Park, pool)
food variety - n/a
nachos - n/a
beer - n/a
vendor price - n/a
ticket price - 10 (there are no tickets)
atmosphere - 7 (Valparaiso relatives section was pretty loud)
walk to park - 2 (through park)
parking price/proximity - 9 (adjacent lot for free)
concourses - 1 (by concourse, do you mean "area behind bleachers?")
team shop - n/a

best food - n/a
most unique stadium feature - announcer shack; scoreboard coming next season!
best jumbotron feature - n/a
best between-inning feature - watching the Valpo parents keep score

field dimensions - 315/400/315
opponent - Valparaiso Crusaders
time of game - 3:10
attendance - 40
score - 9-5 W

Brewers 16-15, -3.5 (3 @ Marlins, 4 v. Cardinals)
Reds 12-20, -8.0 (3 v. Cubs, 3 @ Mets)
Twins 16-14, +1.5 (3 @ White Sox, 3 v. Red Sox)

Erik - 7
Peter - 10

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