Thursday, April 28, 2011

4-21-11: Sacramento River Cats @ Reno Aces

Thanks for sticking with me. Here is the thrilling conclusion of my business trip to Reno!

My Co-worker and I were in Reno for 3 nights and Thursday was the only day that we were going to be able to make it to the park on time for the game. At that point in the trip, all the work was done and we were flying back home the next morning at 7:15. We figured we could stay out pretty late and just sleep on the plane as long as we were able to sleep walk through checking in and the TSA outpost.
I heeded the old man's advice who was the owner of Action Sports Cards's and wore three layers of clothing on my upper body. Sound advice if you ask me. When we got to the ballpark, it was about 5 o'clock and sunny, but the temperature was only in the low to mid 50's. When we left it was about 9:30 or 10 o'clock and about 40 degrees! I really gets cold in the desert when the sun goes down!
So like I said we arrived at about 5 in plenty of time to take in the sights of the park and to peruse the souvenir shop. I really have to give props to the builders of Aces Ballpark. It is a gorgeous place to play ball. I especially like the baseball sculpture thingy out front. The only thing that I didn't like was the lighting. I think they could have made the lightpoles look more vintage than they did. The stainless steel poles took away from the look of the place. But that was minor considering it only took 15 months to build the whole thing!
Now the first thing I noticed was the ticket prices. They were quite high for a Triple-A team in my opinion. 20 bucks is a lot to play for field level tickets. All seats were field level aside from the luxury boxes and lawn seating. I remember upper deck tickets at the Richmond Braves 3 or 4 years ago were only 8 dollars and 10 for field level. Oh well you only go around once!
We entered into the gift shop and prices weren't much better. 30 dollars for a fitted New Era 59/50 hat. 35 dollars for a vintage looking t-shirt! I wanted to get at least one memento of my trip to Aces Ballpark so I settled on a cheaper 20 dollar t-shirt.
We walked around the entire stadium for until about 5:45. There was not a bad seat in the whole joint. There was the Truckee River behind the first base side of the stadium and train tracks going behind left field. They couldn't have picked a better spot to build the stadium.
We took our seats and the game began. The River Cats went quietly in the first and Reno scored 2 runs. The game was pretty standard affair until Reno had built a pretty good 9 to 2 lead. At this point it was time to take a break from the action and get some grub on the company's dime. The company pays for food purchases, but doesn't specify where you have to eat! Luckily we sat near a food stand that was out on the concourse of the stadium. I like that you can stand in line and still watch the game. I ordered a cheese steak sandwich, fries and a drink. My co worker ordered the same except he got garlic fries instead. It cost us (well, the company) 35 dollars to feed us at the ballpark. EXPENSIVE. Personally, I wouldn't spend that much on food if I were paying for it.
We returned to our seats and the game started to become more and more interesting. So the bottom of the 8th rolls around and Sacremento had tied the score at 10. Brett Butler who had played in the majors in the 8o's and 90's was patrolling the 3rd base coaches box. One of the Reno players hits a chopper of a foul ball right to him. He fields it cleanly and turns to toss it in the stands. The ball goes over my head by two rows. Drats... But alas, the guy who attempted to catch the ball with his glove totally muffs it and it drops down between the seats right behind my co-workers seat. All I had to do was grab it!
Now I have a game ball from the International League and the Pacific Coast League. Big Claim to Fame! I hope it doesn't go to my head! Curiously enough though. The ball just says "Official Minor League Ball" on it. There are no PCL markings on it. I checked the IL balls and they have specific IL markings on them. I guess times change and it's much easier to make just one Minor league ball for rookie ball all the way up through Triple-A.
Anyways, Sacramento won the game by pushing across a run in the top of the 9th inning. Reno's bullpen was terrible this night by walking so many batters and giving up key hits to the River Cats. The only good reliever they threw out there was Kam Mickolio (yes, him O's fans), who put out a fire one innning and pitched another scoreless frame. After doing some research after the game though, I found out he had been sent to Reno from the big club because he had brought his gas can to Chase field to the tune of a 16.50 ERA!
Overall I had a great experience at Aces Ballpark and I would recommend taking in a game there. Just be prepared for the minor league experience for major league prices!

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