Monday, May 29, 2017

My First Minor League Baseball Game

On Sunday, I went down to Corpus Christi to watch the Hooks take on the Tulsa Drillers at Whataburger Field. I had originally intended to get some lunch and watch the Astros at home, but after I got my food I suddenly had an urge to make the drive down to Corpus. I don't know how that thought emerged, but before I knew it, I was passing through Edna, Victoria, and points in between on my way to the Coastal Bend.

Dean Deetz got the start and showed why A.J. Hinch mentioned him as someone who could help the Astros in some form this season. Tulsa did get to him for a few runs early but he showed legit swing-and-miss stuff with 9 strikeouts in his five innings of work.

The bullpen finished with 4 scoreless innings. Sean Stutzman started the year as a fill-in in Fresno and acquitted himself well, but he's turned himself into a key piece of the Corpus bullpen. He doesn't have eye-popping stuff, but he just gets the job done. Riley Ferrell is having a bit of an up-and-down season, but it is worth remembering that he's working his way back from a procedure to remove an aneurysm from his throwing shoulder. Ferrell has been thought of as someone who could become an asset in the Astros bullpen with his fastball-slider combo and as he continues to progress to full health, his numbers and stuff should see an uptick.

It was a tough night for the offense as they couldn't get much off of Tulsa starter Walker Buehler, who imposed his will with an upper-90s fastball. Jack Mayfield did take him deep in the 5th for a solo homer that turned out to be Corpus Christi's only run of the evening. Despite the tough night, the Hooks still threatened. Bryan Muñiz singled and Kristian Trompiz drew a walk to lead off the 8th inning. Drew Ferguson stepped up and just missed tying the game with a 2-run double before he got plunked to load the bases. Trompiz made a few nice plays in the field.

But alas... the Hooks couldn't cash in on a golden opportunity. Alejandro Garcia singled to bring the tying run to the plate in the 9th, but he was left there to end the night. And so, the Corpus Christi Hooks fell 3-1 to the Tulsa Drillers on the Sunday before Memorial Day.

I've read my fair share of stories from Jayne and others about the Minor League Baseball experience, but I never had the opportunity to witness it firsthand until Sunday evening. It was a packed house on Sunday and it was a day before a holiday, so naturally, there was a buzz about the stadium throughout the night.

Whataburger Field is a top-notch facility and I stand by my statement that it is one of the most picturesque venues in all of Minor League Baseball. I'll definitely make some more trips down to Corpus Christi in the future; obviously, I'll have to plan them out. I know for sure that I'll be back when Kyle Tucker gets the call, though.

But... even on a completely unscheduled trip, I had plenty of fun. The folks in the Coastal Bend have really embraced the Hooks as an integral part of their community and I'm glad I had a chance to partake in the festivities.

So, in closing... I'd like to leave you with a few shots and videos I took during the game. I've also put some of them on Instagram but for whatever reason, I can't get an embed code for my own Instagram posts. What?

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