Hello from Lancaster, CA! I can see Clear Channel Stadium (home of the JetHawks) outside of my hotel room window, but before heading over there I wanted to return mentally to Tucson in order to do a quick post on the yin to Kino Stadium’s yang.
Hi Corbett Field.
As detailed in my story on the subject, Tucson’s professional baseball situation is complicated. I’d suggest that you give it a read, but in a nutshell: the city has two viable stadiums. The Tucson Padres play in Kino, part of a sprawling complex on the city’s south side. Hi Corbett is in the center of the city, located within Reid Park (which also includes a zoo, concert stages, a rose garden, recreational areas, ponds, waterfowl and a whole lot more).
Hi Corbett has hosted Major League Spring Training, Pacific Coast League Baseball, and, most recently, the independent league Tucson Toros (the team is currently on hiatus in the wake of the T-Padres arrival, but that could change soon). Upon arriving at Hi Corbett, I took some shots of the stadium’s exterior while trying to figure out how to gain entry.
The concourse, as viewed through a gap in the front gate.
Fortunately I soon ran into Toros general manager Sean Smock, who gave me a tour of the stadium. The seating — heavily sloped and close to the action — is in stark contrast to Kino’s far superior square footage (a blessing and a curse — this results in a far more intimate and energetic environment, but one lacking the range of movement, multiple vantage points, and many points of sale on offer at Kino).
The Toros logo, through the mist:
Major League was filmed here. You may remember Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn emerging through this door.
This locker room, now housing visiting teams, was in the movie as well.
But after the latest round of renovations, the home locker rooms are superior (the photo doesn’t do it justice, but the home locker room has far more natural light and a much higher ceiling).
Ah, the luxury and privacy of the professional baseball lifestyle.
Since I can’t end this stadium tour with a shower photo, here’s one more from the field.
And, for good measure, here are three friends I made upon leaving the stadium.
Actually, “friends” is pushing it. We were acquaintances at best; but “passing strangers” would be most accurate.
And that it’ll be it for baseball-related Tucson-content. Next week will be all Cal League, all the time.
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.
Those who work for Minor League Baseball teams have no say whatsoever when it comes to trades, free agency, and player development. Nonetheless, the flame of the industry’s hot stove is just as scorching as that which emanates from the Majors. It’s just heating up a different pot is all.
One big piece of news was made official yesterday, with the announcement that the franchise formerly known as the Portland Beavers will be playing in Tucson in 2011 (and, perhaps, beyond). More on that can be found HERE, and rest assured I’ll be providing updates on that situation as it progresses.
And as an aside — when I first started this blog a man by the name of Benny Hill would periodically email me his thoughts on the Tucson Sidewinders. You still out there, Benny? Your name is my name too, and I’d like to hear what you think about yesterday’s announcement.
Far more prevalent than franchise re-location are identity overhauls, featuring new logos and, in some cases, new team names. The Lake County Captains released their new marks on Wednesday, and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers continue to churn out numerically-obsessed promotional videos in anticipation of November 12’s grand unveiling.
On an even greater scale is the Omaha Royals, who will be announcing the results of their “Name the Team” contest on November 15.
I will say once again that my choice is “Omahogs.”
As for that which has already happened, the newly re-christened Jackson Generals have unveiled the logo for the 2011 Southern League All-Star Game. As with the Lake Captains logo, this is a Studio Simon effort:
Moving from logos to stadium renovations, the South Bend Silver Hawks have announced that Coveleski Stadium will be getting a $10 million facelift.
Speaking of improvements, the Toledo Mud Hens are making available a customized Firefox add-on browser.
Sez the team: The add-on is complete with a scrolling Hens’ news ticker, video and image updates, Hens’ downloads, and much, much more!
Are any other teams doing this? The Mud Hens are the first I’ve seen.
Finally, while I do my best to ignore Christmas-related endeavors until after Thanksgiving, the first item of the Williamsport Crosscutters’ “Eight Weeks of Cutters” gift guide caught my eye (and you know how painful that can be).
It’s the Boomer plush doll!
And — hey! — I almost forgot: It’s Gratuitous Video Friday! Today’s selection is an old promo for “Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman!”, one of the most funny, subversive, and ahead of its time TV shows ever made.
Hey Sony! Release more “Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman!” on DVD!