Well, not actually, the Class A Advanced Florida baseball games were already underway. But last night was the first night for the "Silver Slugger" series of games -- each Wednesday night a hot dog, soda, and general admission for us 55 and older crowd who subscribe. Twenty-five bucks for the entire season! You can't beat that, and our Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL is pristine, a true field of dreams and we've watched many minor leaguers come and go there over the years, some making it to "the show" such as Giancarlo Stanton and most recently Christian Yelich both now starting for the parent team, the Miami Marlins. St. Louis also fields a Class A+ ball club at the stadium.
Strange to be a "silver slugger" as my own dreams of baseball seem less than a distant memory. By the time I was in college, my playing days were over as a pitcher. But, then I had other priorities -- like getting an education.
The first night welcome-back for us "silver slugger" crowd usually includes a promotional item as well. This year an umbrella, but my favorites were the hats and the tee shirts of years gone by. The tee shirt amuses me as a Urologist placed an advertisement on the back. Talk about knowing your market. You're out!
Last night's game was played after a mild cold front had gone through so it was a breezy, cool night (low 70's at game time I figure), but as usual, I had to hold my breath as we walked to our seats to see the beautiful field in full once again.
The game though was uneventful, a 5-2 loss by the Marlin's Hammerheads, but I enjoy watching the pitchers, in this case Trevor Williams who pitched well enough, hitting 93 mph on the gun, looking very professional in his delivery. The Marlins have a lot of pitching talent in their pipeline. Last year I wrote about Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino who have gone up the ladder in the minors. Expect to see one of them with the parent club soon.
But Williams gave up three runs in the third inning, in spite of ostensibly having some good stuff. The Marlins selected him in the second round (44th overall) of the 2013 Draft, so they must see potential there.
Ironically, while we were watching that game our son, Jonathan, was at the Yankee game seeing Masahiro Tanaka's debut in the Bronx, a 5-4 loss for my Yanks. Tanaka pitched well (in fact, very well after giving up a 3 run home-run) and I thought Williams did too, if you discount the third inning. Frankly, I now enjoy watching Class A+ ball more than going to Yankee Stadium. It's as professional as the Majors -- this is no bush league other than the contests they invite fans to participate in between innings. Furthermore, you are right on the field, up close and can watch the game as it was intended, not from nosebleed territory. And, finally, the last Yankee game we went to cost us almost $100 per seat, and that was from StubHub at a discount (and that's relatively cheap -- try to get seats on the field, near the dugouts). It's just gotten out of hand, at least in the NY market.
So the Silver Slugger games are now underway. How did I become one so quickly? Time to see the Urologist!