My 10 year old son (am I a bad parent because I made him a die-hard Reds fan?) and myself convinced the rest of the family to take a mini-vacation to Montana this weekend. It just so happened that the Mustangs were playing- funny how that worked out. Anyway, in between white water rafting and a trip through the spectacular Bear-Tooth pass we were able to take in the Mustangs 4 hour marathon vs. Helena. In spite of the 13 walks given up by Billings pitchers we had a great time and I had a few observations:
-Stubbs looked really bad, and I mean really, really bad. He took an 0-5 with 2 K's and never hit the ball out of the infield. He was not aggresive in the field and let 2 balls drop in front of him that he could have charged and taken a chance on catching. He double-pumped a throw and let a runner go to third who should have been forced out; everyone thought Stubbs would catch the ball. He could not catch up with the fastballs and was fooled on the curves. On the plus side he signed a ball for my boy!
-Chris Valaika had a very nice game. He hit the ball hard and got to everything close to him in the field. With a runner on second a hard grounder was hit that he came up with and threw the runner out at third. Everyone thought it was going into left field. He really shined as someone who could excell quickly.
-In front of us were two kids with radar guns tracking each teams pitchers. It was kind of funny as everyone was throwing 89-92 mile an hour fastballs and they were just getting creamed, the final was 14-13. It was like batting practice. I think a change-up would of had someone blow out their back.
-I got to see 7 Reds pitchers. 2.1 innings was the longest. E-Gads!!
-My son (10 years old) kept his first scorecard by himself. Sniff....sniff
-I used to watch alot of Northern League games. I was surprised at how much harder throwers the pitchers were here. I was also surprised at how they had no idea how to pitch. They just threw hard and hoped for the best. The batters were WAAAYYYY ahead of the pitchers in this league. The fielding was OK but there were way more bone-head plays. I know small sample size.............
-Danny Dorn was fun to watch, hit his first professional HR and a fan gave him the ball. Came in when there was a collusion at first and Maikol Mesa was hurt (because when any 2 baseball players make contact at any place but home plate at least one must leave the game).
-All the players were great about signing autographs and fans had lots of access to the players. In fact, you could pretty much walk into thrie locker room if you so desired....I didn't.
-Cobb Stadium is um...well...unique. You walk into small rooms to buy some of the concessions. For example, if you want Cotton Candy, you walk under the seats until you find the room with the handwritten cardboard "Cotton Candy" sign. There you find a group of teenagers spinning away...strange. It is also not a stadium with distractions for the non-die hard fans (like my 8 year old daughter) no playground, no silly promotions, nothing. Just sit down and watch the game with 2000 plus other fans, average age about 71.
We had alot of fun (well two of us did), although the Dayton vacation is on hold until I can find some other attractions to get us down there. Any water parks in the area?