Thursday, April 10, 2014

Minor League Opening Week

All photos of Snappers Home Opener available on Flickr.

As is tradition, the minor leagues opened up play last week on the Thursday after the major league opener.  We were in an odd numbered year and PDCs are generally signed biennially, so no affiliate changes to report this offseason, but the much anticipated Charlotte and El Paso ballparks are opening this year.  I just purchased tickets to the new Knights park and I'm really excited to see it next month.  Until then, I am restricted to the Midwest League footprint and spending another frigid home opener in bustling Beloit, Wisconsin.

I nearly fainted when I walked through the gate and noticed there were substantial and visible improvements to the stadium for a 2nd year in a row.  All of the concrete in the concourse behind the grandstand was replaced, and a bioswale was added in a dead corner by the team offices (see photo above).  Alright, so it's nothing exciting like new seats or a video board, but this is Beloit - baby steps.  Personally, I'm looking forward to the massive savings the team rakes in from switching Dollar Beer Night from 12 oz cups to 8 oz.  For a jam-packed opening crowd of 150 thirsty people, hey that like $15 right there.  They're well on their way to a new grandstand!  All joking aside, I do try not to take for granted the fact that I can watch cheap affiliated ball of a good Athletics farm system that is still only an hour away from my new digs in Mil-town.

Opening Night is always cold here, but this felt like one of the colder ones I've ever been to.  It got down into the 30s with a stiff wind after the sun set and I splurged an extra 50¢ on cups of coffee instead of beer.  During the team introductions, I was very excited to see former Mallard Tyler Marincov was playing professional ball for the Snappers now, and also concerned that former Brewers unsigned draft pick Dylan Covey was a holdover from the 2013 team.  Neither of them played in their 5-1 loss to Burlington.  Generally early spring games are dominated by pitching due to the cold weather, but the Bees hit a lot of long drives into the gaps, including 2 doubles by DH Mike Fish as part of a 3-hit night.  Bobby Wahl struggled as the starter for Team Snappy, not making it out of the 4th with 3 ER and a couple walks.  I don't remember a lot of the detail I normally would because I had to keep walking around to keep my feet from freezing.  Every year I wonder why I'm so crazy to sit outside for 3 hours in the cold April weather, but in a masochistic way, I enjoy it.  There's nothing quite like the feeling a baseball fan has on Opening Day - it's almost comparable to Christmas when I was a kid.  I'm hoping to make it to many more Brewer games this year than Snappers games since I live in Milwaukee now, but Midwest League Opening Day is something I try not to miss.

Brewers 5-2 (3 v. Pirates, 3 v. Cardinals)
Reds 2-6 (3 v. Rays, 3 v. Pirates)
Twins 3-4 (3 v. Royals, 3 v. Blue Jays)

Erik - 2

Peter - 2

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