Maybe it was a sign from God. I was all set to do this post last night, but a mysterious note slipped under the hotel room door informed me that “due to an unexpected emergency,” there will be a “transformer replacement performed by Tucson Electric Power.” Thus, come 2 a.m., power would be lost and my wi-fi connection rendered useless.
You may have won that round, hotel general manager Helinda Lizarraga. But nothing can stop me from blogging. For yesterday I spent an action-packed day in Tucson, visiting Hi Corbett Field before taking in Thursday’s game at Kino Stadium. Please, by all means, read my story about the city’s professional baseball situation HERE.
It really is a tale of two ballparks here, and in a future post I’ll share some pictures of Hi Corbett. But for now, please enjoy this depiction of the Tucson Padres baseball experience.
Ticket prices are reasonable, as they are throughout Minor League Baseball.
But, please, leave your guns at home.
But there is plenty of parking for any and all fans arriving via mototcycle.
Yesterday’s ballgame was a Thirsty Thursday, and from the start there was a lively atmosphere that had largely been missing from Wednesday’s contest.
Eegee’s frozen fruit drinks are a Tucson favorite, and in the Thirsty Thursday spirit could be had for just $1.
The National Anthem was sung by Joint Venture, an acapella group composed of four elderly gents.
Trevor Hoffman was in town, along with Brad Ausmus and Mark Loretta, in a special advisory role. Hoffman threw out the first pitch (to the strains of “Hell’s Bells”, of course) and then watched the first few innings from the T-Pads dugout (third from left). I spoke with Hoffman later in the game, which should be available on MiLB.com shortly.
The T-Padres logo really seems to be catching on with the fan base, and those looking to exhibit their passion for the city’s newest professional baseball incarnation could do so here.
But as for the real “Kino Bambino,” he found himself upstaged by the Zooperstars throughout the evening (doing a surprise “sneak preview” performance in advance of their performance tonight).
Momentarily an afterthought, Kino Bambino decided to check out the concession items.
The views from afar:
In a nice touch, all six victims of Tucson’s recent shooting are memorialized in banners on the right and left field fences.
Kino offers plenty of room to wander, as evidenced by these two shots from Wednesday.
For more perspective, and to better contextualize tomorrow’s post on Hi Corbett, I once again bring your attention to my MILB.com story.
But, for now, the sun sets on Kino.
It has been an unfathomably long day, the way days are when they involve thousands of miles of travel and multiple time zone changes. But before shuffling off this mortal coil (that means going to bed, right?) I wanted to provide decisive evidence that I did indeed make it to today’s Tucson Padres game.
This was taken from Kino Stadium’s upper level, at sunset. Goodbye sun!
And hello baseball!
This was an evening that involved the three Fs…
Food (the “Charro Nacho” platter at ballpark vendor El Charros)
Foliage (if I was a botanist I’d tell you what these are, but since I’m a baseball writer I’ll tell you that they were on stadium grounds)
Friars (more specifically T-Padres mascot Kino Bambino, leading the crowd through the motions of a subversive disco anthem)
The fourth F of the evening is fatigue, meaning that this will be the shortest “on the road” post in Ben’s Biz Blog history. But tomorrow (Friday) is a full day in Tucson, so there is plenty of content yet to emanate from the beautiful confines of Kino Stadium.
Until then, good night.
At this time of year I feel like I’m manning the laser cannon in Space Invaders, blasting away at the relentless Minor League news stories falling methodically from the sky like so much alien detritus. No matter how adept my aim, however, I am always destroyed in the end.
But enough with the life metaphors, as Opening Day is approaching and there is simply no room for existentialist fatalism. There’s a new mascot to write about!
The costumed character in question is a relative rarity on the Minor League scene, as he is based on a Key historical figure, one whose martial maritime (mis)adventures inspired our National Anthem. Meet Frank Key of the Frederick Keys, based on Francis Scott Key and sponsored by the Tourism Council of Frederick County:
Frank Key, who joins long-time mascot Keyote at Harry Grove Stadium, will have his own adult fan club. Those who join “Frank Key’s Army” receive perks such as discounted merchandise and concessions, exclusive Q and A’s with staff and players, and the always enticing prospect of “unique fan experiences.”
In other mascot news, Tucson’s recently-unveiled Friar character now has a name: The Kino Bambino.
The team explains this Ruthian character thusly:
The long lost brother of the San Diego Padres’ Swinging Friar roamed the desert and arrived in Tucson for the March 25th Spring Training game. He dazzled the 11,000 fans that day, dancing and waving to screaming fans. The Tucson Padres front office marveled at their luck – the brother of the Swinging Friar showing up just weeks before the season!
Then the only question was – what to call him? After sorting through the hundreds of suggested names, one stood above the rest, the Kino Bambino. His name has a strong connection to the Tucson region, while also honoring the most famous baseball player of all time. The Kino Bambino, and Kino Stadium, are named after Father Eusebio Kino, the man who established 24 missions in the southwestern United States in the late 1600’s.
Quite fitting that a mascot with a religious background would come to the team after wandering in the desert. Kino Bambino is both on and from a mission.
From Keys to Kino to…uniforms? Sure, why not?
The Asheville Tourists unveiled their lunar-based logo some time ago, but it wasn’t until last week that the world got a look at the unis.
Click HERE for more pics, but I’ve got no time for such finger-activated endeavors. For the Reno Aces have unveiled some new gear, time to switch to ALL-CAPS:
For all road games, Reno will wear a gray and navy cap, which includes a new logo that features the Reno “R.” The team will debut this new cap during the April 5 exhibition game against the University of Nevada at Aces Ballpark.
Also, the Aces will wear an alternate white cap for select home games this season.
But before you can talk about logos, you have to have a name. Pensacola’s Southern League entry will begin play in 2012 (having re-located from Zebulon, NC), and the team is now accepting submissions in a “Name the Team” contest.
The only thing I can come up with is the “Pensacola Wars” and that’s not even funny. But what else is new?