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.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Padres Minor League Chronicles: April 21st, 2014

The Padres A-ball teams took Easter Sunday off, but all four of the teams were in action on a busy Monday night. Here is how the farm fared tonight:

Great Lakes 6, Fort Wayne 4: This game was never in doubt, although the Tincaps did score three runs in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to a Jose Urena three-run shot, his second of the year. OF Franmil Reyes had two more hits, raising his average to a robust .345. Walker Weickel took the loss for the Tincaps (7-9 this season), but turned his best outing of the year, allowing four runs in six innings. He has a 7.31 ERA this year.

Lake Elsinore 5, Stockton 0: The Storm received a tremendous effort from pitcher Colin Rea, who allowed just four hits in six shutout innings. Rea also struck out nine for the Storm (10-8). SS Diego Goris and 2B Casey McElroy both homered for Lake Elsinore.

Frisco 6, San Antonio 0: Frisco scored five runs in the second inning, and never allowed the Missions to get into this one. Former Padre big-leaguer Josh Geer started, and took the loss, allowing four earned runs in his six innings of work. INF Jake Lemmerman had a pair of hits for San Antonio (7-9).

Las Vegas 5, El Paso 4: El Paso led this game 4-0 in the fourth, but allowed 3 runs in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the fifth. Jason Lane took the loss for the Chihuahuas (7-11), as he allowed five runs in seven innings of work. Lane also went 2-3 at the plate. Cameron Maybin went 0-3 in his continued rehab assignment in El Paso.