Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Random Thoughts on My Oklahoma City Trip

This trip wasn't as successful for me, karma-wise, as most of my minor league sojourns have proven to be. I only brought the RedHawks one win out of three games, but I was still able to get a few pictures and grab a couple of interviews that I'll be posting over the next few days. In the meantime, a few random thoughts and pictures to tide you over ...

First off, do yourself a favor if you go to Oklahoma City to catch a few games. Stay at the Hampton Inn in Bricktown in one of the ballpark view rooms. Here was my view:

It took all my self-control not to run back to the room on Sunday to watch the game rather than sitting through Sunday's excess heat and humidity (with nary a breeze to be found).

By the way, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is a very nice park and really incorporates a great deal of Oklahoma baseball history into the park with statues of Johnny Bench, Warren Spahn and Mickey Mantle adorning the exterior, among many other nods to the past.

Note to self: You are apparently allergic to Oklahoma City. Pack extra allergy meds next time.

[NOTE: Serious baseball people, i.e., those with no sense of humor, may want to skip this next part.] I've never seen so many players with beautiful blue eyes on one team before. In particular, I kept staring at Ross Seaton and Robbie Grossman. I was already feeling stalkerish with the camera, but dang, they have pretty eyes. (The picture of Seaton does not do his eyes justice!)

Ross Seaton - June 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Robbie Grossman - June 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Note to Self: Getting on an early morning flight back to Houston and then trying to work a 10-hour day? Bad idea.

I tweeted on Friday that Justin Maxwell was NOT wearing high socks, a fact that caused much consternation among some of his Houston fans who follow me on twitter. I asked him about it the next day, and he had a very simple explanation. He didn't have the right socks to wear with the RedHawks uni. His orange socks would have clashed.

Josh Zeid and Brett Oberholtzer are both really nice guys. I enjoyed talking with both of them about all things baseball. I also met Zeid's wife of roughly five months. Let me just say this ... he did good (and they are going to have some very tall children).

I really enjoy watching Jake Elmore play. He puts maximum effort into everything he does and he has fun doing it. Jonathan Villar also stood out for me. Not only was he pretty impressive with the bat, he now also seems much more comfortable in the field. I have been tough on Villar in the past, but he looks much more polished and ready now than what I've seen from him in the past.

Note to Self: Traveling two weekends in a row? Another bad idea.

It seems as though something noteworthy always happens when I visit a minor league venue. On Sunday I got to see Jon Singleton's AAA debut in which he hit two doubles that were very close to leaving the ballpark.

Jon Singleton - June 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

But it was Friday night's pitching that was probably the most unusual feature of my visit. The game was a lopsided losing proposition and the bullpen was taxed by extra innings from the prior night, so outfielders Andy Simunic and Che-Hsuan Lin were called upon to pitch and did quite nicely, thank you very much! I recorded a portion of the action. I also talked to Andy the next day and my interview with him will be coming out later this week. 

In addition to the interview with Simunic, I'll have interviews with Jarred Cosart and Asher Wojciechowski coming out this week as well. Many thanks to Alex and Lisa for their assistance!

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