Archive for the 'Minor Leagues' Category

Interleague Begins

The Mets will play in Toronto tomorrow evening. It will be the first time the Mets have played on an artificial surface since June 28-3o, 2010. On those dates the Mets played the Florida Marlins at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Mets lost the first two games of the series salvaging the finale. Also of note, Jose Reyes tweaked his hammy during that series causing him to miss a few games.

The surface in Toronto is Field Turf, an updated and much better surface than the old Astroturf field. Field Turf uses simulated blades of grass that have a rubber pellet base that is much more shock absorbent and does a much better job of protecting the legs from injury. The Rogers Centre field is the only one left in MLB with the turf covering the infield with the sliding boxes around the bases.  Boo I say to that. At least do what Tampa does, have dirt base paths.

The last time the Mets played in Toronto was in 2006 when they took two of three. Overall the Mets are 5-4 at Rogers Centre formally known as Skydome. Over the six seasons the Mets have played inter-league games with the Blue Jays, the Mets hold a 14-4 advantage, the best percentage (.778) against their inter-league opponents.

The Mets have never lost to the Jays at home. The Mets have swept all three series held at Shea Stadium, the last one in 2001. The Jays have never played at Citi Field.

The Mets will play again on an artificial surface in June when they travel to Tampa.

With today’s win against Cincinnati at Citi Field, the Mets move to 21-17. If the Phillies win this evening at Wrigley Field, their record will be a game over .500 meaning all National League East teams will have a better than .500 record. When all is said and done, the Mets could have the best win-lost record in five seasons this year and still finish in last place.

Minor note…

The Binghamton Mets destroyed the Trenton Thunder (Yankees) this evening by a score of 12-3. The good news is that Mets top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler pitched for the B-Mets allowing 2 runs on 2 hits with 8 strikeouts over seven innings. He did give up 4 walks and a home run. However, the two hits were given up with two outs in the first inning. Wheeler no-hit the Thunder the next 6 innings.

The vastly improved Mets minor league system continues to do well. The International League (AAA) Buffalo Bisons are 23-17 in 3rd place, 3.5 games back. The Eastern League (AA) B-Mets are 19-19 in fourth place 4 games back. The Florida State League (A+) St. Lucie Mets are an amazing 31-8, 12 games ahead in the Southern Division. Finally the South Atlantic League (A) Savannah Sand Gnats are 24-14, in 2nd place 2 games back.



Familia Strikes Out Eight

Jeurys Famila pitched five innings this afternoon for Buffalo. He gave up three runs on four hits while striking out eight and walking three.  The big blow against him was a third inning three run homer.

Buffalo scored seven runs in the fourth inning. Jordany Valdespin, Valentino Pascucci, and Zach Lutz all hit two run home runs.

A Great Venue

I have to tell you about a great baseball experience. Last evening, I went to an independent minor league game in Pomona, New York. The team is the Rockland Boulders who play in the independent 8 team CanAm (Canadian-American) League.

The Boulders are not having a good season. Overall they are 35-46 for the season and have little chance of clinching a division spot in the second half where they are 16-19. But I have to tell you, their ballpark (named Provident Bank Park) is an absolute jewel and is worth the price of admission.

This is the best minor league park I have been at in the New York metropolitan area and I have been to all of them (well, now I have). It is like a small major league stadium. Unlike many minor league parks, the concourse wraps completely around the ball field. There are nooks and crannies in the outfield fence with party areas and a bar in the left field corner. And there are outfield seats, not commonly found in the minors.

There are left field grandstand seats for $8 each. Right field has a seating area with tiered tables, called the Billboard Seats, not unlike the monster seats in Fenway Park plus there is a party deck at field level just 313 feet from home plate down the right field line called the Short Porch.

The main seating bowl features traditional ballpark green plastic seating, all with great views of the field. The sections are broken up into home plate box seats, first base box seats, third base box seats, and outfield box seats further down the left field line. There is also a picnic deck down the right field line. Ticket prices range from roughly $8 to $16. There are also luxury suites on a second level. Obviously these are at a higher price than the first level. Each suite appear to be very spacious and include two rows of outdoor seating.

Some of the other amenities include a kids play ground in the right field corner, ample concession stands with typical ballpark fare, a second level Sunset Deck on the third base side, and a team store.  Concession wise, they have a great deal… $18 for four dogs, four drinks, and fries. They also have pizza and some specialties as well. The concession prices overall are not major league but are a bit more than many of the minor league parks in the area.

As mentioned, there is a bar in the left field corner. It’s called the Bridge Bar. You must walk down a flight of stairs from the main concourse where you can enjoy beverages with a field level view from the right field corner, 323 feet from home plate. The concourse is wide and spacious with concessions on the outside edge of the park so you never miss the action. Its fun to just stroll around the park and take in the game from many areas where you can stand and watch.

The field itself is immaculate, the best I have seen in the CamAm League. It looks like major league quality. What is very surprising at this level of pro ball is they have a high definition video board in left field that actually shows the game from several cameras positioned around the ballpark. There are replays abundant and the video quality is crystal clear.

As for the game, the Boulders defeated the Brockton (Ma) Rox by a score of 8-6. For me the highlight of the evening was sitting about 40 feet away from Brockton third base coach and manager Bill Buckner. Yes, that Bill Buckner. He looked as if he could put on the glove take the field himself. Great to see Bill in pro ball again.

In summary, the Rockland Boulders at Provident Bank Park in Pomona is a wonderful baseball experience at reasonable family prices.  What I love about these games is that I have no rooting interest. I am free to simply enjoy baseball being played at a professional level. Although the season is over on Labor Day, consider going there next year if you can’t make it this season. It’s easy to get to and you will thoroughly enjoy the experience.

Video Tour