That’s the San Jose Giants vs. the Inland Empire 66’ers (San Bernardino), both of the California League, Advanced A. You may recall the 66’ers from the first game of the California Dreamin’ tour when they played the Stockton Ports and shut them out 7-0.
But this game was at the Giants home, Excite Park, otherwise known as San Jose Municipal Stadium. It’s old, but it has been kept up to date and all told, is quite a nice park. It has a video Jumbotron and radar pitch speed readings, both of which are rare at that level of the minors. Lots of reasonably comfortable general admission seats, too. And once again, though I didn’t bother to photograph it, there was the dirt path from dugout to batters box. Must be a Cal League thing.
Two interesting roster notes. First, Johnny Cueto of the parent club San Francisco Giants, is on the San Jose roster for his rehab after Tommy John surgery last season. He pitched a bit for the S.J. Giants two games ago. On the other side is the son of one of my all-time favorite players, Torii Hunter. I didn’t mention him before because he didn’t play in the Stockton game. Junior looks like his dad and may even have some of his skills. And he’s in the Angels organization, where his dad spent a few good years. He went 2-4 in this game and played well. Here he is.
I also have to note another literary name, this one with the S.J. Giants: Hamlet Marte. He joins such luminaries as Arquimedes Caminero and Socrates Brito in the baseball world.
There was some sort of gimmick between nearly every inning, including having a kid toss toilet rolls into a toilet and ball players throwing baseballs in an attempt to break the headlights of an auto parts company van (both succeeded).
There was a bigger variety of food options here than I’ve seen in any minor league park. It didn’t hurt that it was Italian Night, with several specialty (presumably temporary) Italian food stands, and the greatest variety was in the large table seating area along the left field line. There was a good crowd, with the grandstands mostly full.
My favorite thing about this park, though, is the quotes painted on the walls of the tunnels leading from the concourse to the grandstands. There are the obligatory Yogi quotes:
And for my money, the best one is on top here:
One interesting aspect of the minor leagues, at least the ones I’ve seen, is that they all use the designated hitter. This being the Giants home game and their parent club being in the National League, you might think they’d want their baby pitchers to learn how to face serious pitching (notice I did not say hit) so they’ll be ready when they make it up the Bay. Even when both teams are affiliated with National League teams (you might recall from the Stockton game that the 66’ers are in the Angels organization), they use the DH. A puzzlement. Maybe I’ll be forced to do some research.
And finally, the 66’ers should hire me to attend all their games. They won 7-3.