Sunday, August 07, 2005

Rancho Cucamonga!

I didn't have much of a chance to get too upset about last night's loss, because immediately after it I left to watch my first minor league game in about 2 years. California League (high A), watching the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Angels affiliate now; Matt Clement once played for them) play the Inland Empire 66ers (Mariners affiliate), in Rancho Cucamonga. We had the option of $4, $7, or $10 tickets; decided to "splurge" and get the $10 ones. That put us right behind home plate, which was a surprisingly empty section...except all the scouts. Which was insane. Mostly guys from the Angels and Mariners, but a couple from other AL teams, including one from Boston. I talked to one of them a bit about timing the run from the plate to first: the average major leaguer is 4.2-4.3 sec, depending on whether he's RH or LH, and they have this scale based on tenths of a second. He said Ichiro was about the fastest you can be -- an "8", which I think means he gets to first in 3.5 seconds. I had about a thousand other questions for him, but I felt bad asking too much. (Plus I had been drinking, shockingly, and I can only assume they hate drunk fans asking them stupid questions.)

The game itself was okay. The Quakes have a lot of mashers -- they scored 11 of their 13 on the HR (or maybe the 66ers just have terrible pitching). I was excited to sit behind the plate and watch the pitches, but there didn't seem to be much movement to most of them, which I guess is to be expected. Dallas McPherson was there for a rehab start, and had a couple hits, including one massive HR; he's the Angels rookie who can't seem to keep his jersey buttoned. He had a red batting helmet, compared to everyone else's blue one; I didn't see if it had an "A" or a "Q" on it, but I assume it was because he's been a major leaguer. (Is that normal for farm teams? I find it sort of obnoxious.) Also notable was Michael Garciaparra, who looks amazingly like his older brother, though without the OCD-warmup before every AB.

Besides the baseball...their mascot was "Tremor", a dragon/dinosaur who liked to dance...they actually had cheerleaders, the "Shakers" (seriously), who weren't very good dancers but still tried very hard to live up to their name...nice fireworks show afterwards, which even the players seemed pretty into...and as we were leaving the park they gave out free loaves of bread. I swear to god. Very surreal scene, leaving a ballpark as part of that big post-baseball crowd, but with everyone holding a loaf of Sara Lee white bread. Turns out it makes for a pretty nice weapon.


  1. sounds pretty cool.

    The San Jose Giants play right down the road from us, but my wife poo-poos the idea of going the several times I have mentioned it. Of course she has this right as I have dragged her to Seattle, Oakland and Boston to see the Sox this year. And we still have a trip to ANA later this year.

    McPherson is my big fantasy bust this year. I had high hopes for him, but he just couldn't get and stay healthy.

    I like the loaf of bread - pretty funny. Hey, we all eat bread so the game really only cost you about $8.

    What is the word on beer costs at a minor league game? I remember the Spinners were actually fairly expensive, but that is in BB crazed Boston at a park that sold out every game.

    I think the scouts are fine to ask questions of - if they don't want to be bothered I think they would let you know one way or another. I guess I would just make sure to ask them only between innings.

  2. $4 for a 20oz cup of beer. Hotdogs were $3. Hard to complain. Particularly with all that free bread.