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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

For the love of the minor leagues

Mrs. BBC and I decided to take in a Durham Bulls game yesterday. For her this was her first minor league game. Ever. I know, just realizing how long we have been married, and to know that I have failed her up until this point.. it was devastating.

I love minor league baseball. As a kid we often headed out to see the Frederick Keys, and Hagerstown Suns. We even went into Baltimore and watched the Bowie Baysox play in Memorial Stadium after the Orioles moved. Basically, once the Orioles moved to Camden Yards Eskay stopped putting the "Buy one O's ticket, get one free" coupons on the inside of the hot dog packages. Without that coupon dad wasn't taking us to a big league game. Can't really blame him. That's the great thing about the minor leagues. Every seat in the house is awesome, and every seat in the house is less than $8.

The Bull's played the Toledo Mud Hens. The Mudhens appear to be one of the best teams in the International League, and there were solid prospects and former major leaguers on the field.

Michel Hernandez was the player of the game. He hit a 3 run home run in the 5th that tied the game. As you may recall Hernandez was originally a pretty well thought of Yankees prospect. He has since been through at least 4 other teams, without any big league playing time since 2003. Here's a name you want to remember: Joel Guzman. 3B for the Bulls. The kid is 6'6" about 250. He hit a rediculous home run in the game. The bulls have a big blue wall out in left field, ala fenway. My guess is the wall at the point the ball went out is 355' away and probably 35' high. Guzman, on a line, hit an office building construction project on the 4th deck ABOVE the blue monster. IE, he cleared the wall with a line drive by 40 feet. It was one heckuva shot.
Chris Richard, former Cardinal/Oriole/Rockie is the first basemen for the Bulls. While he appears to be having a good year (.300 average) he looked outmatched on this day (0-3 2k's)
One former big leaguer who did look good: Timo Perez. Plays left field for Toledo. He had 2 at bats that exceeded 12 pitches. He finally drew a walk on the first one (and scored on a Ryan Raburn home run) and extended the game with 2 outs in the ninth with a long at bat against Chad Orvella. He eventually singled to center but was left stranded this time when Orvella overpowered Raburn with a K.

Enough with all that.. It was a blast. Cheap tickets, sort of cheap food. Plenty of mid-inning silliness that makes minor league baseball great, (baby race, sumo wrestling, and the like) good people, friendly players, you could even buy the auto'd jerseys the players were wearing during a mid-game auction to benefit Durham's meals on wheels. (we picked up a non-game used Autographed B.J. Upton jersey.)

Go to minor league games. They are fun, cheap, and exciting. Even Mrs. BBC wanted to go back again this week.


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