Missed this one – completely. We took the kids to go see the Newark Bears host Sparky Lyle’s Somerset Patriots. It was our first time at Riverfront Stadium (in Newark). It was a real pitcher’s duel out there today, as the Bears beat the Patriots by a score of 15-14.
In terms of local minor league and independent parks, we’ve been to a few with the kids over the last 4 years. We’ve been to the Somerset Patriots, Staten Island Yankees, Sussex Skyhawks, Trenton Thunder, New Jersey Jackals, Lakewood BlueClaws, and now the Newark Bears.
I couldn’t ask for a better experience in terms of dealing with a ticket office (as when I got my Bears tickets today). I explained to the Bears staffer that our kids, being four and six, have a tendency to melt in the sun at ballgames. And, not only did he set me up with a location in the park that was in the shade soon after the game started; but, he also stopped by our seats during the game to see how things in that location were working out for us. That’s four-star customer service.
One thing that I didn’t find great about the park today was my concession stand experiences. (And, since the kids like to eat their way through a ballgame, I made five trips to the concession stands today.) First, there were no vendors working the seats today, at all. I’m not sure if that’s how they always do it there in Newark – but there were zero vendors in the stands today. So, there were always lines at the concession stands this afternoon. (In smaller parks, there are usually some times when there’s not really much of a line.) Secondly, the selections at the concession stands were limited. If you wanted something like lemonade or Dippin’ Dots, it wasn’t happening. Lastly, the folks working the concession stands were clumsy and incompetent. Because of this, even though the lines were usually only about six people deep, when you were waiting on line, you were waiting on line. And, I mean waiting. When I returned after one trip, my wife said she was just about to send out a search party for me. (And, I hit about four different concession stands today and they were all the same.) Considering the crowd there today was probably around 2,000 fans, there’s really no excuse for this – and it could be fixed with better staffing.
In any event, as we were in Newark for a while and then hit our favorite local pizzeria afterwards for dinner, I had to settle for a mixed bag in terms of learning what happened in Yankeeland today – meaning a WCBS Newsradio 880 (AM) sports report on the drive home, some ESPN Baseball Tonight highlights after dinner (as we were getting the kids ready for bed), and SNY’s Geico SportsNite at ten this evening.
When I heard the sports report on the drive home, they said that the Yankees scored four in the eighth for a 6-5 win. And, that sounded impressive. But, once I saw the highlights on ESPN and SNY, I know now that J.J. Putz and Ichiro Suzuki really helped the Yankees out in that big comeback inning. Without the error from Putz on the ball Matsui hit and Ichiro giving up on Molina’s fly, well, maybe the Yankees don’t win this one.
Still, a win is a win – and a win is the thing, no? Five-hundred, nice to see ya. It will be very interesting to see how the Yankees do now as they head on a road-trip. Remember, the Mets looked great at Yankee Stadium and then tanked in Atlanta and Colorado. At times, a team looks great and then something happens when they start playing someone else. Hopefully, that won’t be the case for the Yankees. It would be great to see them go on a run now.
Oh, and, what about Wang today? From what I could see from the game highlights, it didn’t look like Shelley Duncan or having the infield in helped him much in the seventh. I’m not worried about the numbers from Wang in this one. I think he’ll be better next time out.