Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Taste Of Minor League Ball

Last week, I decided to take an impromptu drive up the 15, and take in a Lake Elsinore Storm game. For those of you who don't know, The Lake Elsinore Storm are the Single-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. For most of us in the greater San Diego area, it is but an hour drive north.

I happened to attend on a 951 "Thirsty Thursday" where seats are $9, parking is $5, and hot dogs, cokes, and beers are $1 (951 is the area code in Riverside County.) Sold. I opted to purchase tickets four rows back of home plate, for the low price of $14. Hey, its Single-A, but these guys are still professionals. $14 barely gets you a park pass at Petco Park.

Storm outfielder Corey Adamson waits on deck
In addition to an affordable time, I really wanted to get a look at a few of the Storm's players, namely outfielders Alberth Martinez, Corey Adamson and Hunter Renfroe, the Padres' 2013 first round pick. Renfroe played DH, and went hitless in the game. Before I sat in my seat, I wanted to walk around and take in the atmosphere at my first minor league game.

The first and obvious thing I noticed was the seating. There is literally not a bad seat in the park when the capacity is around 7,000. Pretty good site lines, energetic public address announcer with wacky promotions in between innings. The concessions were pretty affordable -- with cheap baseball around, why would anyone in Riverside County pay to see a movie?

The game didn't feature a ton of action: Lake Elsinore went down 3-1 to the Modesto Nuts (Rockies affliate), but it was still entertaining. Corey Adamson, the aforementioned Padres prospect from Australia took a pitch to the opposite field for a homer that cleared the wall by a few feet. Pitcher Bryan Rodriguez gave the Storm a decent outing, and the bullpen didn't allow a run.

Padres 1st rounder Hunter Renfroe at-bat
The Storm also do a collection for a player on the team, where fans are encouraged to throw a couple of bucks in a bucket and all of the money goes to player. I really liked the gesture, as any serious baseball fans know that most guys in A-ball are flat-broke. Corey Adamson took away a few hundred bucks for his dinger. Not a bad night, at all.

I am definitely excited to see another Storm game at the Diamond. Its a great opportunity to see a few players before they arrive in San Diego. I enjoyed my first taste of minor league baseball, and I am sure to take more sips from that cup in 2014.

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