Results tagged ‘ Quad Cities River Bandits ’
The West Michigan Whitecaps ended their quick six game swing of eastern Iowa going 3-3, winning the series against the Quad Cities River Bandits and dropping two games to the Cedar Rapids Kernels. The road trip started out rough for the ‘Caps, losing 5-1 to the River Bandits and mustering very little offense. The bounced back to take game two, though, by the score of 2-1 thanks to a suicide squeeze pulled off by Brandon Loy. Loy layed a nice bunt between the pitcher and first, while Chad Wright, who singled to get on base, beat the throw to the plate. Warwick Saupold earned his very first professional victory coming out of the bullpen. The Whitecaps would also win the rubber match, in a wild game where they and Quad Cities combined for 17 walks, six wild pitches, and four errors. Jason Krizan led the offense going 3-3, while catcher Curt Casali had two RBI’s. Starter Tommy Coulier earned the win, despite his bullpen giving up four consecutive walks in the 9th to make it a close one, before retiring the Bandits for good.
The first game between the Whitecaps and the Kernels was rained out, but they made it up the next day, having a double-header on the last day of April. Another rough opener to a series, as the Kernels won the game with a walk-off home run in the 9th. Kyle Ryan pitched a complete game, but suffered the loss, while Casali homered for West Michigan. The ‘Caps would win game two, however, on the back of Patrick Leyland’s 3-run dinger, and Eugenio Suarezs’ 3-5 performance, including a double and RBI. Nick Avila earned the victory, despite giving up three hits and two home runs of his own. In the rubber match to welcome the month of May, the Whitecaps basically had their a$$#$ handed to them. Brandon Loy got the only hit of the day, a double, for WM. ‘One hit…that’s all we got? One G*% D@*^ hit? Don’t worry…no one’s reading….’
Photos courtesy of The Gazette (Cedar Rapids)
With the MiLB season over, it’s time to look forward to next year. I can do this with some good ol’ American plagerism-ripping of MLB Network’ Prime 9 show for a littlle countdown of my own. Narrowing the list to just nine parks wasn’t as easy as I thought, but here we go.
9) Fox Cities Stadium-Appleton, WI: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers/Class A Midwest League. Picking number nine was the hardest of all. Fox Cities Stadium barely beat out the ballparks in Dayton, Cedar Rapids, and Charleston, respectively. The stadim itself isn’t huge, with a capaicity of only 5500, but it’s a nice place to watch a game. The fans gave this ballpark the egde, with it’s spacious parking lot perfect for tailgating. And Wisconsin fans love to tailgate. The beer and the brats are always perfect for a game, before and after. The affiliation with the Milwaukee Brewers has really helped the atmosphere here, and the attendance. The park itself is basic, with no real site lines, but not a bad seat to watch baseball. The park is very easy to find, but with only one entrance and exit, there might be a wait.
8) Pilot Field-Buffalo, NY: Buffalo Bisons/Triple A International League. Now called Coca-Cola Field, Buffalo is a major league city with a nice minor league park. At a capacity of almost 21,000 it’s a good sized ballpark to watch a game. There are still no bad seats in the house, though, and the sightlines of the city are pretty awesome. We always got there by train, so I’m not too sure about the parking situation. The concessions are good and there is a resteraunt in the right field area. The Bisons draw a good crowd, which is probably even better now that they’re affiliated with the Mets. I was able to watch the Bisons play here in 1993 along with some of the World University Games matchups. If I can ever find my pictures I took back then, I’ll scan them and get one put up. Until then you can check it out here. This is probably as close as you can come to a major league feel for the minor league price.
7) Fifth-Third Field-Toledo, OH: Toledo Mud Hens/Triple A International League. Opening in 2002, this ballpark is great all round. It’s carved into the downtown, and even has and area of seating in right field called the ‘Roost’ which is attached to a neigboring building. These have been dubbed the best seats in Minor League Baseball. The sightlines of the downtown area arn’t quite as good as Buffalo, but are more than enough of an eyefull. The seating is great, and the prices are very reasonalbe. We paid $8 and sat behind the dugout. You can’t really beat that. Parking is tough because it’s right downtown, so get to the park early, and even eat at Tony Paco’s accross the street, who you’ve might have seen Klinger on MASH talk about. Of all the the stadiums, this is one I’d love to visit more often. Throw in the fact that the Hens are the Tigers affiliate, and it’s a winner in my book.
6) Baseball Grounds-Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville Suns/Double A Southern League. The Baseball Grounds was like my second home in the summer of 2005 when I was training in southern Georgia for over four months.Being at the ballpark was about the only thing that could take my mind off the fact that I was missing my wife and kids hundreds of miles north in Michigan. Add to the fact that it’s a great ballpark and the Suns won the Southern League in 2005, and this could easily be moved up on the list. The park holds about 11,000 and is nestled next to the Jaguars Alltel football stadium and Jacksonville’s indoor arena. It’s located right on the river and has great seating. Solid promotions and cold beer make this one of my favorites also. This is another parks I wish I could find my pictures of, but here are some good pics of it.
5) Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Louisville Bats/Triple A International League. The front of the stadium is unique, as it’s built into an old train depot, which they also built two resteraunts into. The seats are great on right on the field where fans like them to be. It sports a large concourse and a huge party area in the outfield for all of the drinking crowd. The kids park is really put together nicely, too, with a carosel and all. Not much for sightlines, other than the bridge over the Ohio River. With the Louisville Slugger Museum/Factory down the street, this is a baseball experience every fan should take part in.
4) Modern Woodman Park-Davenport, IA: Quad Cities River Bandits/Class A Midwest League. USA Today billed this as the best Minor League ballpark in the country. It’s easy to get to and has one of the best views of probably any ballpark in the country with the brige over the Mississippi in right field. The concourse is set up so you can walk all the way around, which I like, and get a good view of the river and riverfront. The baseball atmosphere wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, which is why it didn’t make the top three. This is a must see for any baseball fan.
3) Victory Field-Indianapolis, IN: Indianapolis Indians/Triple A International League. I really enjoyed the games here in Indy. The whole town is sports nuts and the atmosphere is great. The entrance to the stadium is in the outfield, which makes it unique from other parks. There are also some kids games going on in the concourse which makes it very kid friendly. The whole park is set up with the family in mind, and it seems to be working. The sightlines downtown are great, but there was a lot of construction going on at the time that was a little distracting. The seats in the upper deck are some of the best I’ve had and are the perfect spot to watch the game. The wost part is there is a very small parking lot, so you have to find a parking garage downtown. The best part is there is a parking garage right accross from Hooters…
2) Fifth-Third Ballpark-Comstock Park, MI: West Michigan Whitecaps/Class A Midwest League. Yeah, I’m a bit of a homer here, but this is the list of my favorite ballparks. With a seating capacity of 10,000 it makes it pretty large for a Class A stadium, competitive with some Triple A and Double A stadium. It’s run and taken care of like a big stadium, too, with lots of unique concessions. The Fifth-Thid Burger was even featured on Man vs. Food last season. Located just north of Grand Rapids, there is a great atmosphere for baseball. The Whitecaps being a Tigers affiliate helps with that. All the memories of my kids and I here easily puts this ballpark toward the top of the list.
1) Grayson Stadium-Savannah, GA: Savannah Sand Gnats/Class A South Atlantic League. The reason historic Grayson is at the top of my list is quite simple. I just really really like it there. In truth, I have a love affair with the whole city of Savannah. I got a taste of it while down there training in 2005, then last summer I was actually stationed there for a week. Luckily the Gnats were in town, and I couldn’t get enough. The horrible pics I took with a disposable camera can not do this ballpark justice. It’s small and cozy, and as a baseball fan you just feel at home. You can actually feel the history of the sport sputter though you’re vains while watching a game here. It’s like actually taking a step back in time and seeing the game in it’s pure form. The brick exterior is classic baseball, while the weeping trees make it classic south. Nothing really fancty about the park, other than pure baseball. Savannah offers so much to look at, but catching a game here would be worth it.This is defiately a place I’d like to bring my kids down to someday.
So, there you have it. Again, it was very difficult choosing just nine, but truth be told I have never been to a ballpark I didn’t like. Everyone is unique and meeting the great fans everywhere makes every team worth checking out. So that’s my Prime 9. What’s yours?
Photos property of M.I.B.
Quad Cities River Bandits vs. Burlington Bees: Our second game of the day took us to beautiful Modern Woodmen Park, home of the River Bandits. This ballpark was listed #1 on the Minor League ‘must see’ list, and it didn’t disappoint. The bridge going over the mighty Mississippi River in right field was really breathtaking. It had already been a long day, so it was nice to sit back, relax with my $6 brat and beer, and enjoy the game. There were a lot of walks, so we were able to scout many pitching prospects during the game. The weather stayed nice for us, too. It was hard to concentrate on the game at times, as we’d get mesmerized by the bridge and river. A perfect night for baseball. Final: Bees 9, River Bandits 6. Best: The view. Great site lines with the bridge. Worst: Pricey concessions.
Photos property of MIB
MiLB is teaming up with Fritos for the ‘Be A Minor League Baseball GM For A Weekend Sweepstakes’. Five winners will recieve
: round trip transportation for two people; double occupancy hotel accommodations for two nights; two premium tickets to the game; autopraphed Minor League Baseball host club replica jersey; a chance to sit in on team meetings; and $1,525 in spending money. Sounds like a good deal to me. I’d even just take th money…The choices for host teams include the Portland Sea Dogs, Durham Bulls, Memphis Red Birds, New Orleans Zephyrs, Las Vegas 51’s, and the San Antonio Missions. My choices would either be Portland or Durham. I contimplated not posting this, because it would lower my chances of winning, but since I never win anything it would be cool if maybe someone from the blogosphere here won it. Just remember your ol’ buddy here at M.I.B. if you win. The trip is for two.
Even if you don’t win, you can still probably afford to take in a MiLB game. During recent survey, Minor League Baseball concluded that for the cost of four people to attend a game is around $57. This includes two adult tix, two child tix, four hot dogs, two sodas, two beers, a program and parking. They found an adult ticket is $8 or less at 80% of the ballparks. The highest I’ve paid for a Minor League game is $13 for the AAA Indianapolis Indians last season. My tickets for the Single-A Peoria Chiefs this seaons were $5, and that’s for a premium seat. The average cost of a night at the ballpark ranges from around $67 for AAA to $50 for Single-A Short Season or Rookie League.
If you still don’t want to get off your lazy, well, ya know, and catch a live game luckily the MLB Network will be broadcasting some Minor League games as well, including the Triple-A All Star game. The first game will be aired this Monday at 11:00 am and feature the Gwinnett Braves at the Durham Bulls. The next game will be the Burlington Bees at the Quad Cities River Bandits on May 3. Figures they’ll be televising a game just two days after I’m there. Other games slated include Scanton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at the Indianapolis Indians on May 19 at 11:00 am and the Norfolk Tides at the Columbus Clippers on June 15 at 12 noon. Victory Field in Indy was one of the best venues I’ve watched a game at, and should look great on TV. MLB Network will be airing weekday afternoon games thoughout the summer, too.
I finally got things finalized for next years baseball trip. This might sound obsessive on my part, but where I work we have to have our vacation leave picks submitted by the first of the year. I actually needed the dates and times of games to garauntee I can go. Here’s the rundown.
The Games: Day one of next years trip starts at the college level in DeKalb, IL watching the Central Michigan Chippewas face the Northern Illinios Huskies. I’m really impressed with the college game, and glad we’ve added these to our trip. From there we have to make haste to Davenport, IA to see the Quad Cities River Bandits host the Burlington Bees (Class A). The Bandits home field is right on the Mississippi River, and is gorgeous at night. Day two takes us to Des Moines, Iowa to see the Triple-A Iowa Cubs host the Omaha Royals. Triple-A ball is always a good chance to see future MLBers. Day three takes us back east to see the Cedar Rapids Kernels face the Kane County Cougars. The game’s at noon, so plenty of time to check out Cedar Rapids. Day four will take us to Clinton, Iowa to watch the LumberKings host the Beloit Snappers. Our trip ends on day five, and starts out in Burlington with the Bees taking on the Cougars. From there we’ll head to Peoria to watch the host Chiefs play the Kernels. There you have it-seven games in five days. But the games are only a part of the trip.
Bob Feller Museum: Just west of Des Moines is the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter Iowa. This should have some great memorabelia of the this HOFers career. One piece I know they have on display is Feller’s bat that Babe Ruth used to hobble out onto the field at Yankee Stadium in 1948. We’ll go here on day two before the Cubs game in Des Moines.
A touch of Hollywood: On day three on our way from Des Moines to Cedar Rapids we’ll be stopping in Norway, Iowa. This is the setting of the film The Final Season based on the true story of the high school baseball team there that won 20 state baseball championships despite being one of the smallest schools in the state. It’s a great movie and a greater story. If you havn’t seen the movie yet, I do recommend it for all baseball fans. I believe they just opened a baseball musuem there this year, too.
On day four we’ll be heading north of Cedar Rapids to Dyersville to see the movie site of a film most reading this have seen many times:
‘This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be good again. Oh people will come. People will most definately come.’ -Field of Dreams.
That’s right, Darth, you guys build it, and I’ll be there. The site is open to the public to play catch, take a few swings, or just sit and enjoy the setting. I can only imagine this being some sort of sureal experience. The games mixed in with the other sites should make for a memorable vacation. I’m sure when I get back, though, it will be awhile before I eat any corn.