Results tagged ‘ Reno Aces 2016 ’

On the Road: Max Effort, Jacked-Up Results in Reno

To see all posts from my August 8 visit to the Reno Aces, click HERE. To see all my posts from my August 2016 “Out West” road trip, click HERE. To see all my “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).

Soon after arriving at Reno’s Greater Nevada Field, I traveled to one of the ballpark’s onsite restaurants. This restaurant is called Bugsy’s, and it would be the site of that evening’s designated eater experience. There was just one problem, however — the evening before, my designated eater had regretfully backed out of his designated eating commitments because he wasn’t able to get off from work. I told the Aces about my predicament, and they went in-house to find a solution.

This is Max Margulies, a corporate partnerships account executive for both the Aces as well as the Reno 1868 FC soccer club (which will play its inaugural season at Greater Nevada Field in 2017). Max was my new designated eater, tasked with consuming the ballpark food that my gluten-free diet prohibits.

img_2492Max, 23, hails from San Diego and went to college at the University of Oregon. He’s now working in baseball and soccer, but says that his ultimate goal is to work for an NBA team. His favorite pastimes are body surfing and going kayaking in Lake Tahoe. His biggest fear? Spiders.

As you can see, Max had a formidable array of food laid out in front of him.

img_0276 Okay, let’s do this one at a time. We started with that massive hot dog on the left, which is, in fact, a “Versus Dog.”

img_0280In the above photo, the left-hand side of the dog is the Reno side. Reno is represented via pulled pork and apple cider vinegar slaw. On the right is a portion of the hot dog representing Salt Lake, that evening’s opponent. The Salt Lake side had roasted corn, bell peppers, cilantro crema and queso fresco.

Max went for the Reno side first.

Max called this a “filling bite” and praised the taste of the slaw. However, he did have one criticism.

“It was tough to hold,” he said. “It kind of felt like a wet diaper.”

With this appealing imagery still in mind, Max switched to the Salt Lake side of the Versus Dog.

img_0279“The peppers stand out immediately,” said Max. “I like this. Sweet and spicy.”

Next up was the Bambino Fries, which are topped with pulled pork, chicken, chicken and apple slaw. This was not one of my better food photography efforts.

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“I like the tangy barbecue sauce,” said Max. “I’m a loaded fries kind of guy so these were right up my alley.”

I did not get any photos of Max eating the fries, which is a shame as these photos would have surely been a great benefit to humanity. But I did not make this mistake when it came to the next item: the Caliente Burger.

img_0282The Caliente Burger consists of a half-pound Wagyu beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato, fried “bottlecaps” (jalapenos) and a “Firecracker” aioli made of lemon, mayo and Sriacha sauce. It’s a mouthful, as Max soon learned. To get this thing down, he had to do his best impression of a snake eating a goat.

img_2506“The jalapenos give it a nice kick, along with the sauce,” said Max. “And it’s got a nice crunch.”

Finally, there was a Verde Meatball Sub. It is topped with verde chili sauce, queso fresco and cilantro sprigs on a sourdough roll.

img_2508Max was beginning to show signs of fatigue, but he gamely carried on.

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“I’d never had verde sauce on a meatball before,” said Max. “But it works, and sourdough is a good choice.”

We could’ve have stopped there, of course. But no, we were taking it to the Max! Now it was time for dessert.

img_2519This dessert platter included funnel cake, red velvet funnel cake and, there in the back, a deep-fried Snickers. Max started with the Snickers.

img_2521“It’s awesome,” said Max. “But I don’t have much to say.”

Clearly, Max was running out of steam. He’d been through so much already, in such a short amount of time. It was getting increasingly hard for him to go on.

But never fear — Jack Reinheimer is here!

img_2526This was an historic first! Jack is the Aces shortstop, and never before had a first player spent time as one of my designated eaters. Aces marketing manager Audrery Hill had recruited him from the clubhouse, and even though he had reportedly just “crushed” some barbecue, he was happy to travel to the upper level to eat some more. It helped, of course, that Jack wasn’t in the starting line-up on this particular evening. Otherwise he probably wouldn’t have been able to continue his pregame food crushing spree.

“All I do is eat and play baseball,” said Jack, summing up his existence in a mere seven words.

You’d think someone who loves “crushing” food wouldn’t even bother with utensils, but Jack took a polite — some would say dainty — approach to the dessert plate.

img_2528Jack said that the deep-fried Snickers was “amazing” and that the red velvet funnel cake was “even better.” He then moved on to Max’s leftovers because, let’s face it, Max had a lot of leftovers.

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img_2535Jack was a man of few words, preferring to let his food crushing actions speak for themselves. He described the various items he tasted as “good”, “pretty good” and “amazing.”

“I’ll eat anything,” he said.

At one point, Jack got distracted by the view from the upper level.

“It looks pretty easy to get hits from up here,” he said.

Jack got plenty of hits in 2016. He had 144, tied with teammate Kyle Jensen for fifth-most in the Pacific Coast League.

img_2524Thus concluded the designated eating adventures of Jack and Max.

img_2537“I’ll definitely have to try more ballpark food,” said Max.

Jack agreed, and then turned his thoughts to the Aces’ next road trip.

“If there’s ever a Chipotle in the airport, it’s getting hit up,” he said. “The guys’ll just crush it.”

***

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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On the Road: Whale Rides and Ball Views in Reno

To see all posts from my August 8 visit to the Reno Aces, click HERE. To see all my posts from my August 2016 “Out West” road trip, click HERE. To see all my “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).

August 8 (Part Two) — Once the ballgame was underway in Reno, I began my nightly bout of wandering. At Greater Nevada Field, the city is situated behind the ballpark and, therefore, visible from the outfield.

img_0296This is the view from beyond right field. The Truckee River keeps right on rolling.

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Joining the Truckee River and city skyline in Greater Nevada Field’s pantheon of ballpark views are these railroad tracks. Freight trains pass by throughout the ballgame, headed to parts known by some but not by me.

My circular journey brought me back to the area behind home plate. Archie was there. I really enjoy seeing Archie.

img_0302When I visited the Aces in 2013, Archie could talk. Archie no longer talks. It’s just one of those things.

This home plate concourse location was a designated meeting place, as I had been recruited to compete in the Schofferhofer “Race to the Beach” contest. You know the drill — you put on an orange t-shirt representing the presenting sponsor, and then you ride an inflatable killer whale toward articles of beach-themed clothing that placed along the grass on the third base side of the field. Upon reaching these articles of clothing, you must put them on before once again mounting the whale and heading to the finish line. You do this against an enthusiastic, friendly and somewhat profane native of North London named Tom, who now works in Tahoe as a ski and paddleboard instructor. Tom immediately becomes your best friend, despite the fact that you must compete against him.

img_2563Tom and I and the Aces personnel assigned to tending to us made our way to the front row, so that we’d be ready to leap into action as soon as the inning ended. Archie, owner of the most scuffed-up pair of size 24 Chuck Taylors that the world has ever seen, was waiting for us.

img_2565Finally, our moment arrived.

Clearly, I was no match for Tom. But even after this heated competition, we remained the best of friends.

img_2582My next stop was the outfield concourse, as I had been invited to spend some time inside the giant inflatable baseball that sings “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” every night from its perch beyond the outfield wall.

I guess this is the sort of thing that needs to be placed in a larger contect. Here’s a video example:

And a picture:

ballyboyboyIn the top of the seventh, myself and an Aces employee whose name I cannot recall at the moment (the back of his jersey said “Button”) entered the yet-to-be inflated baseball. While standing on a platform in the middle, it took shape around us.

In the midst of all this, I took a selfie.

img_2592When it came time to “sing” during the seventh inning stretch, the platform was raised (via a switch located outside of the ball itself) and the ball became visible over the outfield wall. As the sounds of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” came through over a walkie-talkie (it was too loud in the ball to hear the PA system), the ball’s “lips” were moved via these metal handles so that it would look like the ball was singing the song.

img_2595Here’s a video of what the “singing” looks like from the inside.

And that, my friends, is how that particular piece of sausage is made.

Thus concluded the “programmed” portion of my evening, which otherwise consisted of — you guessed it — wandering.

Neon ball…

img_0307…meet neon batter.

img_0309Between the ball and the batter lies the Freight House District, a year-round entertainment complex attached to the ballpark.

img_0308It was here where I wrote and disseminated my Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day. Most of the feedback I got on this one was along the lines of “Huh?” and then, “Okay, got it now. Took me a minute.”

As the Aces came to bat in the bottom of the 8th, trailing 4-2, the “Rally Llama” appeared on the videoboard. I tried to get a photo of the llama, but all I ended up with was Archie.

img_0313Archie is alright, though. Archie is, in fact, great.

The Rally Llama, or whatever it was, failed in its mission. The Aces lost, defeated by Bees. It was still a very enjoyable evening at Greater Nevada Field. The greatest, even.

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***

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

On the Road: The Biggest Little Ballpark in Reno

To see all posts from my August 8 visit to the Reno Aces, click HERE. To see all my posts from my August 2016 “Out West” road trip, click HERE. To see all my “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).

I visited 10 teams on my 2016 “Out West” road trip, four of which I had visited before. The Reno Aces fell into this category, but with an asterisk: When I stopped by Reno in 2013, the game was rained out. This meteorological misfortune led to one of the weirdest posts in the history of this blog, which presented an alternate (and startlingly convincing) account of my allegedly rained out night in Reno.

This time around, here in the year of our Lord 2016, I wanted normalcy. I wanted nine innings of baseball, played on a Monday, because everybody knows that Minor League teams are at their best on Mondays. That’s what I wanted, and that’s what I got.

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The Aces’ ballpark, originally known as Aces Ballpark, is now known as Greater Nevada Field. (There is no “Great Nevada Field,” in the state, but if there ever is, Greater Nevada Field will clearly have a leg up on it.) The Freight House District, seen on the left in the above photo, is an amalgam of bars and restaurants. It’s accessible to fans during the game but also open year-round as an all-purpose entertainment complex.

Immediately upon setting foot in the facility, I was greeted by Aces communications manager Cheyne Reiter. He ushered me onto the field.

img_0273Once on the field, I was introduced to pitcher Matt Capps. We had an interview scheduled.

Capps turned out to be a great interview, speaking with honesty and humor about his current, improbable comeback attempt (he hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since 2012). You can read my story about him HERE.

Shortly after speaking with Capps, I pivoted to an interview of a different sort.

img_2541That’s Princess,  a 10-year-old rescue pit bull who was adopted by Aces executive VP Andrew Daugherty prior to the season. She is now a ballpark celebrity, helping to dispel the stereotypes associated with her breed simply by existing. I wrote a story on Princess, and what she means to the team and community, HERE.

Princess is an absolute sweetheart.

img_2551An absolute sweetheart, I tell you.

After (reluctantly) taking my leave of Princess, myself and Aces director of marketing Audrey Hill walked around the ballpark for a bit. Taking a page out of the El Paso Chihuahuas playbook, the upper level hallways and suite interiors are decorated with the work of local artists. All of these pieces of art are for sale. Support local artists.
img_0287Artwork also enlivens the walls outside of the main entrance. The mural below, by Erik Burke, depicts Theodore Judah. Judah was the mastermind behind the Trans-Continental Railroad, which led to the creation of the city of Reno in 1868 after a railroad station was established there.

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The spray paint used for Judah’s eyes reflects through the windows, causing them to change color. Check the reflection:
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Judah’s steely, subtly shifting and not-at-all crazy gaze is fixated on a mural located directly across from him. This one is by Bryce “ABC Art Attack” Chisolm. I believe that’s Princess, there in the bottom left corner. Princess is absolute sweetheart.

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And speaking of art, this is one of the most fantastic pieces of restroom signage I saw all season.

img_2558Meanwhille, the sun was setting…

img_2560…and the ballgame was underway. The Aces were hosting the Salt Lake Bees, one of two teams in the Pacific Coast League I have yet to visit. (The other being the Colorado Springs Sky Sox.)

img_0292But, for now, I can only focus on the visits that have occurred. There’ll be much more from Reno in my next post (and the one after that).

***

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

About Last Night: Reno Aces, August 8, 2016

This season, when I’m on the road, I’ll write a quick blog post about each Minor League ballpark that I visit. Then, when I return home, I’ll provide the multifaceted blog coverage that you have come to know and perhaps even love. On Monday night I visited Reno, Nevada, the seventh stop on my sprawling 10-team California-Nevada-Idaho-Washington road trip.

August 8: Reno Aces (Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks)

Opponent: Salt Lake Bees, 7:05 p.m.

Greater Nevada Field, from the outside: 

IMG_0272Greater Nevada Field, from within: 

IMG_0292Culinary Creation: Funnel cake, red velvet funnel cake and a deep-fried Snickers bar lurking in the back.

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Ballpark Character: Princess, a 10-year-old pit bull rescue dog, has become a ballpark celebrity. She shares an office with her owner, Aces executive vice president Andrew Daugherty.

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At Random: Aces shortstop Jack Reinheimer made a cameo as designated eater, becoming the first-ever active player to act in this capacity. A truly historic moment.

IMG_2526Your Groundbreaking and Subversive Ballpark Joke of the Day: 

Up Next: 

August 10: Boise Hawks (vs. Hillsboro, 7:15 p.m.)

August 11: Tri-City Dust Devils (vs. Spokane, 7:15 p.m.)

August 12: Spokane Indians (vs. Eugene, 6:30 p.m.)

***

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz