Saturday, July 21, 2012

One Night in Frisco (Minor League Baseball)

Stand by for some of the worst pictures ever blogged.

I was up in Frisco, Texas, just north of Dallas, earlier this week for a teachers convention. Since the Rangers' AA club plays their games right under my hotel window I decided it would be a fun way to spend Monday evening. Plus, I like minor league ball almost more than major league ball. It's relaxed, intimate and hassle-free. It helped that the convention organizers had cheap tickets available.

That night the Frisco Roughriders were playing the San Antonio Missions. I was surprised to find out the Missions are a Padres' farm club. I had assumed they still were part of the Dodger chain as that had been for many years.

I was also surprised to find that the Roughriders' starting pitcher was going to be Neftali Feliz. He was making a rehab start and that had the fans excited. I got to the game early because I like to poke around minor league parks. This one is called Dr. Pepper ballpark and it's about ten years old.

I had a seat in the 14th row behind home plate. I didn't have a decent camera so I had to use my phone camera. You can click the pictures to make them bigger, of course.

That red speck on the mound is Feliz warming up. A guy behind me told me that Feliz pitched for the Roughriders a few years ago on his way up the Ranger ladder. I was likely the only guy in the park who wasn't aware that he was Rookie of the Year a couple of seasons ago.

That's the Embassy Suites where I was staying that looms over the park beyond centerfield. My room was just to the left of the Dr. Pepper sign. It's not exactly as close as it looks in the picture. There is a street and a little park sort of area between the hotel and the stadium.

Feliz had control problems in the first inning and that, combined with some terrible defense put him in a hole early. That shortstop is Jurickson Profar and the fans were pretty high on the guy. He's from Curacao and the guy behind me said the Rangers might trade off their current shortstop to give this kid the job next year.

Those are some of the buildings that stretch all the way down each line behind the stands. Concessions, restrooms, some sort of roped off private boxes that required a secret handshake or something are among them. It's a nice clean place. Reminded me of the Dell Diamond in Round Rock north of Austin that used to be an Astros' farmclubs' home. Now it's the Rangers team, too, I think.

Feliz only pitched two innings and took the loss. I doubt he cared much. I was a bit surprised that he went and sat in the bullpen after his two innings. On my way out I stopped and watched a bit from behind the home bullpen area. That's Feliz in the blue jacket. He was talking to some guy through the chain link fence. I saw him give some poor teenage girl a hard time when she came over and asked for an autograph on an 8x10. He finally signed it.

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