A few weeks back, my wife and I went with our daughter down to Round Rock to watch the Express (Rangers AAA team) play the New Orleans Zephyrs (Marlins AAA team). It's been a miserably hot couple of weeks here in central Texas, but God smiled upon us and blessed us with a pretty nice evening. It was still humid and in the low/mid 80s, but there was a decent breeze out on the grassy berm behind the outfield fences. Very good news for a pregnant lady, a one year old, and the dad who brought them both to the game.
I was especially anxious to get out to this game because they were giving out team-issued baseball cards to the first 3,000 fans.
However, as we were getting ready to leave the house, I was informed that our stop-off at Ikea on the way to the game had now been extended to trips to Home Depot and Hobby Lobby. By the time we we got to the Dell Diamond, the game had been going for half an hour, so we were not one of the first 3,000 there (more like the last of the 8,000 plus that showed up). I kept looking around to see if anybody left early and left their cards behind, but no luck. I did find this one on the ground when I went on a hot dog/cracker jack run with the baby.
Nothing spectacular. The name seems to take up a bigger portion of the card than is necessary, but it's at least a somewhat interesting photo.
Fortunately, I was able to pick up some cards from the "Rail Yard" (Express memorabilia store). I was hoping to find a team set from last year's team, which I had seen before but didn't pick up. I knew a few more of the guys on last year's team than I do this year. We lived in Round Rock last year, and you have to pass the stadium on the way to Wal Mart. On occasion, if it was a late night run and the game was still going, I would stop by and watch a few innings (okay, so it only happened once, but it was cool to watch the Express walk-off win in the 13th, after getting there in the 10th; my wife, waiting at home for me, was not so stoked). Anyways, they didn't have any Express team sets, but they did have these cards, which are of the "top" prospects in the Pacific Coast League. Only two Padres out of the 35 players, but still some good cards here.
They're a combined 6 for 32 this year in short stints in San Diego this year, and both are hitting .267 in Tuscon for the year. Nothing to write home about, but most of the Padres big prospects either were either new to the farm system this year (Yasmani Grandal, Alexi Amarista, Brad Boxberger, Mark Hamburger, etc.) or started the season off in AA San Antonio (Jedd Gyorko, who is one of the Pads more promising prospects). Casey Kelly might have been a good choice, but is currently injured.
Here are some players that are much better known throughout the league. Great shots of both of these guys, especially love the Trout card. Most teams had two players represented, but the overachieving Rangers had three (Martin Perez, Leonys Martin, and Neil Ramirez).
Not getting the free cards was a small bummer, but it was a beautiful night and really nice to spend some time with the family, especially my wife, who has been working a lot. Tickets for the lawn were only seven bucks, which helped off-set the big league food prices. Our daughter made friends with a family sitting on a blanket next to us, and ended up sitting on their laps for an inning. The Express ended up losing 8-3, although we missed the five runs New Orleans scored in the top of the first first inning. We were also "those people" who left early (the 6th inning) because our girl usually goes to bed around 7:30, and that's about the time we got to the game, so she was ready to sleep.
A great primer for this weekend, as we fly to San Diego to spend time with family. I'm hoping to catch at least one game at Petco Park (maybe two?) and also make a trip up to Lake Elsinore to see the Padres single A team, the Storm. Can't wait!
If anybody wants to trade for any of the PCL Prospects cards that I don't want (yes, I'm breaking up the set, I don't need minor league prospects I've never heard of for teams I don't care about), lemme know. I only kept seven of them; the four shown above, and the Express players. The remaining checklist:
1. Alex Castellanos / Albuquerque Isotopes
2. Tim Federowicz / Albuquerque Isotopes
3. Christian Friedrich / Colorado Springs Sky Sox
4. Alex White / Colorado Springs Sky Sox
5. Heath Hembree / Fresno Grizzlies
6. Francisco Peguero / Fresno Grizzlies
7. Wellington Castillo / Iowa Cubs
8. Brett Jackson / Iowa Cubs
10. Travis d'Arnaud / Las Vegas 51s
11. Anthony Gose / Las Vegas 51s
12. Zack Cox / Memphis Redbirds
13. Shelby Miller / Memphis Redbirds
14. Taylor Green / Nashville Sounds
15. Wily Peralta / Nashville Sounds
16. Matt Dominguez / New Orleans Zephyrs (just traded to Houston in the Carlos Lee deal)
17. Brad Hand / New Orleans Zephyrs (who pitched against the Express that night)
18. Paul Clemens / Oklahoma City Redhawks
19. Jimmy Paredes / Oklahoma City Redhawks
20. Johnny Giavotella / Omaha Storm Chasers
21. Mike Montgomery / Omaha Storm Chasers
22. A.J. Pollock / Reno Aces
23. Ryan Wheeler / Reno Aces
27. Grant Green / Sacramento River Cats
28. Jarrod Parker / Sacramento River Cats
29. Brad Peacock / Sacramento River Cats
30. Garrett Richards / Salt Lake Bees
32. Vinnie Catricala / Tacoma Rainiers