In my little corner of central Texas, I live over two and a half hours from Arlington (home of the Rangers) and over three hours from Houston (home of the Astros). I've lived here for four years, and have yet to attend a MLB game. However, I have been to a handful of minor league games. There are five MiLB teams in Texas, and I've been to two of their stadiums (Round Rock and San Antonio), and hope to add another one to the list soon (probably Frisco, while Corpus Christi is a longshot, and Midland is probably never going to happen).
Anyways, that's a long rambling intro to my second baseball game of the season. My first was the Round Rock Express' Opening Day game, where I went with a co-worker's husband, saw Nolan Ryan throw out the first pitch, and rooted like crazy for Kevin Kouzmanoff. On Thursday, I went to my second game of the season, and second San Antonio Missions game overall. Above is the line up the Missions used, who are the Padres AA team.
While I had a lot of fun with Felix, my buddy from the Express game, the company was even better this time around...
We've gone to a few games as a family, including a few Express games and the last time we saw the Missions, but this was the first game we'd ever been to where it was just the two of us. My wife had me pick up some Craigslist stuff in SA, and Harper said she wanted to come with me. It was a long drive that was made easier by "The Little Mermaid", but ultimately well worth it. She had a blast. I tried explaining a few rudimentary points of the game to her, but she is only three. It was also dollar hotdog night.
She fell in love with Ballapeño, the Missions mascot (a dancing jalapeño), and got to hug a giant pig, a mascot for an in-stadium eating spot. She made friends with the people sitting behind us, and enjoyed some ice cream that melted too fast. At one point, she asked if we were going to live here now.
We left at about 9:15, so we saw a good two hours of the game, about six of the ten innings it would last (the Missions lost 6-4, after being ahead 4-0). Overall, I'd say that I probably only watched half of the game that we were there for, between waiting in line for food, taking bathroom/cleanup breaks, and just doing general leg-stretching (shown here, as we were wandering around the outfield berm, away from our seats between home plate and third. Under regular circumstances, that's not a great ratio, but it was seriously so much fun to spend one on one time with her.
While I really wanted to get a Missions hat (ultimately decided against it, $35 at the team gift shop was more than I felt comfortable spending at the beginning of a long month), I did splurge for some Missions baseball cards. These were three that we got for free for spinning a wheel trying to get free tickets. Logan Forsythe is currently with the Rays, after being dealt there for some pitchers that have really helped the Padres this year, and Andy Parrino was in the infield when I saw Kevin Kouzmanoff in Round Rock earlier this year. I'm not sure where Terry Kennedy is now.
Alright, here are the cards from the 2014 team set. I was way stoked to find that Odrisamer Despaigne made his way into the set. He's only pitched in two games for the Padres, but the Cuban defector is 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA in 13.2 innings. He throws a bunch of pitches from a bunch of different arm slots, and while many think he won't keep it up (he only has 3 strike outs in those 13.2 innings), the Friar faithful are hopeful that he'll be a big piece to their pitching rotation. Oh, and his name is pronounced Oh-DREE-sam-ehr Des-PAHN-yay.
If Padres fans are excited about Despaigne, they are absolutely giddy about Jesse Hahn. He came to the Padres in the Logan Forsythe deal with Tampa, and he has been really fun to watch. After getting roughed up in his MLB debut (a loss to Pittsburgh, giving up a pair of two run homers in 3.2 innings), he's won his last four games, giving up only two earned runs in 24 innings. His curveball is nasty, and he's used it for many of his 36 strikeouts.
These are the three marquee players for San Antonio. I was most impressed with Rymer Liriano, who had an RBI double and scored twice in the game. Austin Hedges is supposed to be a masterful defensive catcher, but I saw a few balls get past him, and Hunter Renfroe didn't play, which was a bummer.
This is the first Padres minor league team affiliate that I have a team set for, so it'll be cool to see if any of the other guys make a name for themselves in the future.
Anyways, we will be heading to San Diego in August, and hopefully going to a few games (ideally a Padres game and a Lake Elsinore Storm game), and those will hopefully be really fun as well. But I can't imagine that any of them will be as memorable as the first game that my daughter and I went to just by ourselves.