WE WERE TOURISTS:
I caught a plane in Long Beach on Sunday, met cousin #1 in Sacramento and we headed East on I-80.
The Nevada desert is surprisingly green right now, and did not resemble the surface of the moon as it has every other time I've crossed it. We spent the first night in lovely Elko, Nevada, and arrived in Salt Lake the next morning around 10 where we met up with her sister, cousin #2. Cousin #2 had arranged for us to stay at Little America (nice hotel!), just up the road from Spring Mobile Park.
We had lunch and then we killed time until the Bees game by visiting Beehive House and annoying the guides by asking how many children Brigham Young had. The answer of 57 made even the Mormon faithful gasp and giggle a little, imagining what that must have been like.
The guides were two very nice young women on their mission and we tried not to be too annoying. We did suggest that they read what Mark Twain said about his visit to Salt Lake City, since they kept bringing it up during the tour. I mentioned the single whistle he brought for the 57 children to share and they laughed.
Below: our guides and a portrait of the patriarch.
After the tour we retired to the ballpark to watch the Bees and the Tacoma Rainiers. It was still 90 degrees at game time, but we were in the shade and not too uncomfortable.
Below: The Bee tries to warm up the crowd while the visiting team droops in the dugout.
Home plate is 4229 feet above sea level. The right field wall is 315 feet from home plate, the left field wall is 345, and the center field wall is 420 feet away. The park has picnic areas just above the right and left field fences so families can sit on the grass and watch the game, and there's a little train the runs along through that area. The batter's eye is a slightly transparent gray screen. You can see what's behind it but only dimly. There is a big video screen in the outfield, something I did not expect in a minor league park but there's a lot of advertising money in Salt Lake.
If you want to sit behind home plate I recommend getting seats in the Home Plate or Box seats sections, just somewhere farther back than the Diamond seats. We were in row 4, which is really the second row of seats and it was a bit too close and definitely too low. There were a couple of foul balls that went nearly straight up and then came down in our area, and they were really hard to track.
Public parking is limited but there is a trolley that runs from downtown to the park. I wanted to take the trolley but my cousins refused, proof that they are now officially Old. For $5 we parked in the lot of an adjacent business.
Above: The one and only, Brandon Wood!!!1!ZOMGPONIES! When I saw him I felt as if I was about to have a case of the fantods but my cousins gave me some water and said it was just the heat. They are NOT TBF (True Baseball Fans).
We did not see any home runs that night but we did see a good game of baseball. The starting lineup had some familiar names on it such as Sean Rodriguez, Brandon Wood, Rafael Rodriguez, and Bobby Wilson. Some of the others on both teams sound familiar to me. I bought a Willits shirt just to wear to this game, but didn't wear it because he was called up the day I left.
The Tacoma Rainiers lineup:
Jerry Owens, cf
Prentice Redman, rf
Jeff Clement, dh
Chris Shelton, 3b
Mike Carp, 1b
Adam Moore, c
Bryan La Hair, lf
Erick Monzon, ss
Callix Crabbe, 2b
Brad Nelson came in to pinch hit for Monzon in the top of the 9th.
Their pitchers were Doug Fister, Doug Stark and Justin Thomas. Fister went 5 innings and his replacement, Stark, had gotten one out in the bottom of the 6th when he was struck on the outside of the upper thigh by a broken bat on a single by Brad Coon. He was replaced by Thomas. I haven't been able to find out how badly Stark was hurt, but he couldn't walk off the field.
The Tacoma Rainiers had 11 hits including doubles by Bryan La Hair, Adam Moore, and Mike Carp.
The lineup for the Bees:
Brad Coon, cf
Nate Sutton, dh
Terry Evans, rf
Sean Rodriguez, 2b
Brandon Wood, 3b
Bobby Wilson, c
Ben Johnson, 1b
Adam Pavkovich, lf
Gary Patchett, ss
Brad Salmon was the starting pitcher, followed by Mike McDonald, Rafael Rodriguez, Jeremy Hill, Daniel Davidson, and Robert Mosebach. The last three pitched only in the 9th, each getting a single out. The five relievers combined threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
For the Bees, Terry Evans, rf, hit a triple and Nate Sutton, dh, had a double, and the rest of the team had lots of singles for a total of 14 hits. Sutton's BA is an astronomical .462, and in his 4 at bats he had 3 hits, 1 run, and 2 RBIs. There are three pitchers with the last name of Rodriguez on the Bees and we saw Rafael pitch the 7th and 8th; his ERA is .48.
There were several good plays, and one great catch by Brad Coon, a flyball that looked like it was way over his head, looked like it had passed him, and he managed to run back and make a diving catch. It was hard to see from where we sat but the replay on the big screen showed us what we had missed, and my description is inadequate.
The Bees won, 5-4, and the winning pitcher was MacDonald.
Above: Pavkovich, lf, Gary Patchett, ss, Brad Salmon, p, and Sean Rodriguez, 2b.
Above: Salmon pitching to Monzon. Brandon Wood playing 3b, Gary Patchett at short, and Bobby Wilson catching.
Above: Brad Coon at bat facing Justin Thomas, bottom of the 6th. He singled on a grounder to third.
More photos of the game here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/snowwhite/sets/72157621409986712/
I should have taken photos of the front entrance to the park and a couple from the top of the aisle so you can see what the park looks like as a whole. I was distracted by the discovery that my cousins really are a pair of Old Ladies, and I don't know when that happened. It seems like just yesterday I was 7 and cousin #2 was teaching me to play poker, which I found exciting and scandalous. As the youngster (I'll be 60 in March) I ran to the concession stands for them and found myself unwilling to leave them alone for very long for fear that cousin #2 might pick a fight with the loud guys in the section behind us.
No, really. You don't know my cousin.
One last comment: Ashley Thompson and I were not able to meet, alas, because when I was there she was here and she didn't get my email until after the game because she was taking a break from her blog. By the time I was heading back to Anaheim she was on her way to Arkansas so I have failed in that assignment given to me by.... I can't remember, was it Sothball? Anyway, she didn't sound like she was afraid of me so maybe I'll get another chance later in the season.