Dispatches From Rancho Cucamonga

Last night, the great Jason Wojciechowski (@jlwoj, Beaneball.org) and I drove outside of LA’s confines, arriving in the beautiful, office-park-filled-land of Rancho Cucamonga for a game between the Quakes (Dodgers affiliate) and Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres affiliate.) 

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A few notes on the game: 

  • We walked up, 20 minutes before the game, and got seats four rows behind home plate for less money than it took for me to see The Wolverine. This is one reason why the minor leagues are great. 
  • We were sitting near some scouts, some girlfriends, the guy updating milb.com’s Gameday, and the pitcher that we failed to identify who was charting pitches. 
  • The uniforms were, unfortunately, terrible. While the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes jerseys have never been my favorite, they at least incorporated their names and the region into their uniform design:image(via Ben’s Biz Blog) Instead, they wore Dodgers batting practice uniforms that said “Rancho.” 
  • Meanwhile, the Storm were wearing uniforms that looked designed by the guy who was fired from Ed Hardy: image(via SportsLogos.net
  • What you’ll quickly notice in High-A is just how rough the baseball is. We didn’t see a fastball over 91 mph and there were a number of defensive lapses that were really shocking to see. They really are a long way from the Majors. 
  • Corey Seager, brother of Kyle, looked every bit the 17th overall pick. He hit two very hard ground balls to second, then blasted a home run to center and followed that up with a laser single up the middle that would have gone through a human being.
  • There were really no other prospects featured in the game, so to speak, either. Travis Jankowski was drafted 44th overall by the Padres and he’s slugging .355 in the best offensive environment in the world. He was also bunting with a runner on first, down by a run, late in the game. 
  • There was also plenty of proof that I would never cut it as a scout as I walked away incredibly impressed by Casio Grider (who has one hell of a name), as he showed off lightening speed, nearly beating out a routine single to short and stealing two bases. He’s also 25, in his second stint in High-A, and has a .701 OPS. 
  • Which brought up an interesting thought piece that Jason and I discussed and which I may build out into a larger piece in the future. Basically, if Billy Hamilton is a .250/.300/.315 hitter in the Major Leagues, how many bases would he need to steal to be worth a spot in the starting lineup on a Major League team? 60? 80? 100? 
  • I mentioned the bunting above, but there was plenty of it in the game. Which is silly if done for any reason other than development because this was the California League. Sure, it was 3-2 going into the eighth, but it ended with Rancho winning 12-5. Which is pretty much your standard Cal League score.  
  • Near the end of the game, a very drunk man came up to the unidentified player charting pitches and told him, “I’m very rich. So I don’t care about buying a $35 hat and having you sign it, even if you end up in the Mexicali League.” He then took a piece of paper from me and signed it. It’s now my prized possession. 
  • This is what my pulled pork sandwich looked like. You can’t get that kind of love in a Major League Park: image

  1. ajlovesbatman reblogged this from oldtimefamilybaseball
  2. vouxcroux said: Last year I lived in Grand Rapids, MI. Home of the West Michigan Whitecaps. I love Midwest League ball.
  3. oldtimefamilybaseball posted this
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