Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gwinnett Braves vs Norfolk Tides

First game of the season - well for me.  I am lucky - really, really enjoy minor league baseball and the Gwinnett Braves (AAA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves) are less than 10 miles away on all back roads!  And to make things even better, a lot of their games are 6:05 PM first pitch during the week.

Now it is very early in the season and I'm sure as they get further into the season, the crowds will pick up.

Gwinnett Braves vs Norfolk Tides
I do have a ritual that I do every year in the first game of the year:  hot dog, beer, boiled peanuts!  And I was in luck because they did have all three of those :)  The hot dog & beer would be standard stuff at all ballparks, the boiled peanuts maybe not.  Not sure about other parts of the country, but in the south, boiled peanuts are typically available.  Although I'm not a southerner by birth, once I moved here and was introduced to boiled peanuts - well. there is no going back!

With AAA baseball being one step away from the majors, these guys are really good ballplayers.  Saw a lot of good baseball during this game.  But at the same time, minor league baseball is a tough business to be in.  One of the random pictures I took during the game was of Matt Pagnozzi on first base in the third inning:

Pagnozzi base hit third inning
Just out of curiosity I looked his stats up on baseball-reference.com .  This is his 11th season in the minors, as of today he's played in 713 minor league games for the following teams:

New Jersey Cardinals (New Jersey)
Peoria Chiefs (Illinois)
Palm Beach Cardinals (Florida)
Springfield Cardinals (Missouri)
Memphis Redbirds (Tennessee)
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Colorado)
Columbus Clippers (Ohio)
Gwinnett Braves (Georgia)

and he has played 33 games in majors during that time also:

St. Louis Cardinals
Colorado Rockies
Pittsburgh Pirates

This guy has been around baseball!  Oh yeah, he is also the nephew of the former St Louis Cardinal catcher Tom Pagnozzi ( I knew I had seen that name before).

Going to baseball games is a release for me, it is an escape for me - can't wait for the next game!

One other thing, this is somewhat of a habit now, started years ago when my son first played baseball, I've got to do the book when I'm at a game...





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