Monday, August 17, 2009

My Trip To Columbus

It was time. Time to make a trek down 71 to see how our Columbus Clippers and also check out the new stadium, Huntington Park. With most of the AAA Wahoos already on the big club, my buddy J and I utilized saturday night to both get away from the grind and also hope to see something out of Matt "Gator4God" Laporta and Michael Brantley. Going in, we picked August 15th as the perfect day to drive down, but didn't realize we would miss both Carlos Carrasco and Hector Rondon. Turned out, we missed a lot more than just those 2 players.

So I get down to C-bus and arrive at the ballpark at 6:30 and for some odd reason (to me at least) it is PACKED! People all over the streets, especially in between Nationwide Arena and Huntington Park. I park the car across the street and on a beautiful, but, humid night, I did not realize that this spot was, as The Maestro would say, is "the place to be". J is running late, so I stroll over to the box office to purchase my seats and I see a sign: "Tonight's game is sold out. Standing Room Only". Huh? Sold out? It is minor league baseball! I was floored. Some dude sees that I am stunned and offers me up a couple of $6 lawn tickets. We chatted for a while and he alerted me that weekend games are always like this and I still could not believe it. I guess Columbus is a hot town right now, but still! Plus, the Clippers are not exactly winning a lot of games. Anyways, it is now 6:45 and the guy ends up giving me the lawn seats for free. I had those in my back pocket as a back-up. But I did not drive three hours to sit on some lawn.

I dialed up J and told him the situation and he had one message for me: Go to work. The last time J and I "had to" scalp for tickets was years ago in New York city and I got snookered into buying fake Knicks/Kings seats by some guy in an alley of a train station. I walked across the street from the ballpark and evidently it is okay over there to purchase seats from a scalper. There were cops everywhere, but none of them were looking in the scapers' direction, so I knew we were good. The first guy I talked to had a bunch of tickets in his hand and tried to sell me a pair of reserved seats for $25 each. Yeah right. Plus, these tickets looked like something my four year old would scribble together on a piece of paper. I walked away. Headed down to the corner where I parked the car outside of the left field gate and got two box seats for $15 each. I waited the guy out a little bit, because he asked for $20 each originally. It was now 6:55 and the guy knew he had to get rid of them soon. We were in!

The ballpark is just beautiful. When we walked in, Matt LaPorta was up to bat in the first and we watched him draw a walk from the left field porch. I glanced at the lineup on the big scoreboard, only to see no Brantley, no Jason Donald, no Lou Marson, no Jordan Brown. Ugh. Not exactly what I wanted to see. Good news, though, we sat third row behind the Indy dugout. I felt like I was on the field. We were on top of the action!

So with the scrubs on the field for the Clippers, Indianapolis torched Mike Gosling and crew to the tune of 7-0. LaPorta is a stud. You can just see it in his at-bats. He drew two walks and ripped a single to right center. Wes Hodges is not a major league baseball player. You can just see it in the way he moves at third, and there is something missing with him at the plate. I did like Frank Herrmann. He throws hard and his defense did not help him much at all on Saturday.

All in all, a quality night at the yard. They had a wide variety of t-shirts in the team shop out in left field, which made yours truly very happy. I really like how they label the food areas and the sight lines are fantastic. The right field wall is cool and the bar stool seats they have to the right of it add some intrigue too. There was even a hot dog race as well. I was impressed. With everything but the team.

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