I'll be starting my review of the Appalachian League trip with Fred and Michael Landucci today with the first part of day one.
I'll be doing this as quickly as I can,but other things could postpone the series on occasion.
Also,things could be changing here at the TRS flagship as my internet connection at work is going away effective Monday,so I'm not sure how I am going to handle that.
In order for me to access the net,I may have to buy a "Jetpack" and add an extra bill.
Since an extra bill is the main reason that I do not carry a cell phone around,something may have to give and that might be internet access at work.
That trickles down to less time to talk to you (friends and readers) and less time to work on the blog.
The podcast might be affected a little less because I can do that and upload later at home,but this is going to be something that I deal with.
Just wanted to keep you informed...
The first part of day one was at Hunnicutt Field in Princeton,West Virginia.
Princeton is located in the southern portion of the state and we were able to reach there with little difficulty,although we did have one memorable stop on the way at an unlikely place-a dull little gas station.
You see,all season at various minor parks,the one thread is the constant reference to the "official chip of minor league baseball" Uncle Ray's.
However,none of these parks actually sell this chip,so its been a running joke all season about the chip that is so good that no one actually sells it-until this gas station in New Castle VA,which brought a hearty laugh from Fred and a quick purchase of the bag by Fred!
Once,Fred opened the bag and we all tried them,what we found was a thoroughly mediocre chip and the bag spent the rest of the trip in the back seat-untouched and unloved!
When arriving at H.P.Hunnicutt Field,we stayed on the visitors side of the stadium as we waited for the visiting Bluefield Blue Jays and parked our car across the street in a strip mall parking lot.
The parking lot had a steep hill and we waited for a bit until the bus arrived.
When it did,we saw one of the weirdest sights yet as the bus driver parked in the lot rather than beside the stadium with the players walking down this hill.
The bus driver left the bus and started yelling back and forth with the manager with both raising their voices with Dennis Holmberg (Bluefield manager) hollering "you better hope none of my players turn an ankle going down this hill".
Holmberg was pretty unhappy and I decided not to ask him to sign the two cards that I had.
I didn't have a lot of cards for Bluefield,but did get Vladimir Guerrero Jr on two cards and Matt Morgan to sign his Bowman.
Hunnicutt Field is a true throwback as you enter from the right field area and hit the only team stand,which is a little hutch that was manned by Amanda,who was so nice in taking care of us.
It goes a long way when employees are nice to you,which is a lesson that the Suns could learn!
Hunnicutt has next to no access to get the home Rays,although Michael was able to get the Rays number one pick Joshua Lowe by dropping a ball down to him and catching a reverse toss.
You are literally 15 feet above the playing surface and except for a small area that you can carefully squeeze a card in,are unable to get cards to players.
I mean,even the book guys could drop the book down,but wouldn't able to have the book returned.
I did get the one Ray that I wanted in Adrian Rondon using the small fence area,but I wouldn't count on getting enough guys finished for a team set.
If you want to do the Rays at Hunnicutt Field,you might want get them going into the stadium or leaving after the game...
We didn't watch much of the game there as we had planned to graph and make the one hour drive to Pulaski for the Greeneville Astros against the hometown Pulaski Yankees,but did watch an inning so we could watch Vlad Guerrero Jr hit (he singled) and grabbed a hot dog (only a dollar).
We sat on a picnic bench right behind home plate in an area that would cost a huge amount at a big league park.
It felt like we could have called balls and strikes!
All and all,I liked Princeton.
The employees were nice and the park quirky,even with the bad autograph access.
I'd return to Hunnicutt Field-especially if you want the visiting team,who is far easier to do...
Next time in the road trip series-We'll take a look at the Pulaski portion of the day!
Photo Credits:Fred Landucci