Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Minor League Baseball: Yankees vs Nationals

I just got back from seeing the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees play the Syracuse Chiefs at Alliance Bank Stadium in Syracuse, New York. I have been to this ballpark in the past but this was a few years back when the team was known as the Sky Chiefs and were an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

It was a fun experience. While Syracuse is about a two hour drive for me, it is the closest thing that I have to seeing minor league baseball (yeah, we have the Valley-Cats but they haven't started their season yet and I have very little interest in the single A Astros). Since the Yankees are in town this week (Monday-Thursday), I figured now would be a great time to see a game and to check out some of the young prospects that they have in their farm system. The only complaint I really have about this place is the fact that the gates open only an hour prior to the game. As someone who loves getting to games early to see batting practice, I was disappointed when I arrived today as there was no batting practice and the players were only on the field for a brief amount of time before the game began.

The Yankees threw out J.B Cox tonight which was an interesting choice as Cox is regarded as one of their top closers in the making. His outing was pretty bad tonight as he only last 2.1 innings while giving up 6 hits, 2 walks and 5 earned runs. The offense for the Yankees was pretty silent as they scored only 3 runs, one of them being a homerun from John Rodriguez.

It was quite an interesting day at the park to say the least. I have been to my share of games, both major league and minor league, and this game I have to say was the first time I have been around some extremely loud and obnoxious fans, in which there were only a few thousand fans in the stand. While I know the players tend to block out the nonsense I am pretty sure the noise from some of these fans were pretty hard to evade.

One guy sitting a section over from me was extremely loud and was yelling something insane after every single pitch that was made in the game. Some of these remarks included "read him his rights" when Miranda came to bat, "I should have wore my dunkin' donuts shirt today, Shelley", and "the only scoop you can make is an ice cream scoop" which was said after Shelley was unable to scoop up a ball. While he provided comedy to the fans, many people were getting pissed off because he was just way too loud and saying things that were pure nonsense.

At one point during the early innings, I ended up getting into a screaming match between these 3 obnoxious guys that were seated behind me. I can't recall what they said that got me started but I know it had something to do with them complaining about the Yankees and their payroll. While I understand the Yankees spend like crazy (which allows them to pick up the best players on free-agency), the mantra that a farm system isn't as equally as important is ridiculous. All you have to do is look at what the Rays did last year and even the Marlins during the 97 and 2003 season. They couldn't quite comprehend this mantra and were fixated on the fact that the Marlins salary is so low. Interesting as the Marlins are notorious for pocketing money instead of spending on their team.

I was hoping to score an autograph from Shelley Duncan for the two little girls I tutor, but Shelley didn't appear to be in a great mood tonight. I even tried to get Edwar to help me out in getting him to come over, but I still had no luck. It was comical though, nonetheless, as we ended up in a back and forth conversation about why it was impossible for Shelley to walk over to me.

Amy (left) and me before the game started.

While I was unable to get Shelley Duncan to come over, I was able to get Mark Melancon to sign a ball for me. He is one of the players (along with Austin Jackson) that I was looking forward to see on this visit and I have to say I was quite impressed with him when I met him before the game started. He seems like a really good kid and I will certainly be pulling for him as he makes his way back to the major leagues.

Overall, a great day. I am going to try to head back to another game this week. Hopefully I can get Duncan to sign a ball for the two little ones. It's my goal to get them to see how great the game of baseball is and I will start as small as I can with them.
Austin Jackson


Kyle said...

Great post! Sounds like you had a good time.

It was rather interesting to hear that J.B. Cox started, but I guess it was some emergency start.

As for the crazy fan, there's always someone in the stands that will do something to draw attention to themselves.

Maybe next time Shelley will be in a better mood.

It was a nice day to watch baseball. Keep up the great job with your blog!

Bruno Van Rottweiler said...

Stinka that the Toronto team had to move out to Vegas for you nad the front office both. BUT I have a feeling that the guys are having tons of fun in Sin City! Shelley the Mad Man Duncan? He reminds me of an old friend of mine, resemblance and personalitywise. Very surprised at his reaction but he shouldn't forget the little people so to speak.

Jim said...

I saw a game in April 2007 in Syracuse. There couldn't have been 400 fans, but the loud and obnoxious guys were there. I'd say 1 out of 10 of their lines were at least marginally clever. The rest, just stupid and annoying. Everyone tired of them pretty quickly and wished they would get bored and go home.

She-Fan said...

Great post and pics! I'm enjoying your blog and can relate to your travels. GO YANKS.

The Commish! said...

Everyone should have started booing the guy who made the obnoxious comments, then he would have shut up. I'm surprised since every time I've been to a minor league game, it's been a great experience and no obnoxious fans at all. It's cool to see the future Yankee stars.

Al Leiter's Bullpen Catcher said...

Kyle- I hope he will be in a better mood next time. Shelley is quite a crazy kid though.

Bruno- Never had a problem with Shelley before. He came over and talked to me in Lakeland and he couldn't have been nicer. People have bad days I guess.

Jim-They were annoying. If i go back on Thursday, I really hope those guys arent there

She-Fan- Thanks! Go Yanks

Commish- Yeah, its great seeing all the up and coming young guys. It is too bad they arent closer to here though

Unknown said...

Maybe Shelley is getting the idea hes probably not coming back to the big club anytime soon...

KC said...

Sounds like a fun time in Syracuse. Next time, though, I recommend driving the extra hour or so to Rochester (SWB visits there at the end of June). Frontier Field is a gorgeous AAA park, blows Alliance Bank Stadium out of the water. And there are plenty of opportunities to interact with the players. Make sure to stop at the Red Osier stand for some great roast beef sandwiches...

Al Leiter's Bullpen Catcher said...

Thanks KC, I may have to embark on that roadtrip!