3 Games. 3 Teams. 3 Stadiums. 3 Days.

July 30, 2013

in Family, Friendship, Product Reviews, Reviews

P1030417This weekend we finally did our much anticipated and highly planned out Minor League Baseball Tour of 2013. I am not exaggerating the execution part. Trying to get two families, work schedules, kids sports schedules and the baseball schedule to line up accordingly was an act of god. It took Dave (luckily we have a Dave who is not only smart enough, but patient enough to figure this shit out) weeks to get it in the books.

First up was the Inland Empire 66er’s. I’m going to be honest, we had little expectation of this game. Heading to San Bernadino for baseball seemed drastic and a bad fit. Hearing about the used car give away (not kidding) and seeing a trash truck at the entrance of the stadium did little to change our perception. And out of all the teams, the 66er’s are the ones you hear the least about so we went in with little knowledge and hoping for at least a break even (money -vs- time) in the entertainment department. Seriously, we thought they were the Dodgers farm team but they are really the Angels farm team.

Boy were we wrong.

2013-07-26 19.23.18The 66er’s are the team to beat. Not really beat (although I guess that is the point of the game) but metaphorically beat. We had a ball (pun intended) at this game! Finding the stadium was easy and parking was cheap. Once we got past the trash truck, which really wasn’t a trash truck, it was a recycle truck and they were giving away awesome freebies! And the 1000+ Girl Scouts, it was easy to see why this team is the IE’s hidden gem! The tickets were the cheapest of the three games and also the easiest to purchase. It was the only team that let us print out our tickets and not have to wait in line at will-call. Plus, they had wait service at our seats. Like a real waitress to bring us our food and drinks! Their food choices were also off the hook with baked potatoes, roasted corn on the cob and cold beer. The mascot was entertaining and the field staff was engaging. One of the kids got to play name that tune between innings and WON! We had similar seats for all 3 games but this was the only stadium we felt ‘a part’ of the fun. The energy was contagious and ongoing. There was never a dull moment from start to finish.

If you are going to sink in $40-$60 bucks for a full night of family fun, this is where you want to invest it. Hands down. It was by far the best experience of the three ball clubs. Head out there, you will not be disappointed.

The Lake Elsinore Storm is our local team and we have seen plenty of their games. They are always enjoyable, but without anything to compare it to, we just thought this was as good as it got. I have to start out by saying due to a complete and utter marketing failure, there was no way the Storm was going to do anything right that night. They promised their fans Chase Headley jerseys and completely imploded on that promise. We were tailgating in the lot prior to the game and decided to go in about 5:30 for the 6:00 game.

AND THEY WERE ALREADY OUT OF JERSEYS.

Gone. Completely gone.

I had already dug through all their promotional materials and nowhere did it list that there was only going to be a few jerseys handed out. It did say this “Come and receive a FREE Chase Headley Jersey Giveaway!” But that’s it. No “while supplies last” or “for the first 1500 fans.” So we thought we were safe siting in the parking lot enjoying our carne asada tacos waiting out the long lines in 100+ degree heat to get in. Oh.So.Wrong. The Storm marketing folks played the old bait and switch to sell tickets. I’ll be honest, it pissed me off. They said they handed out 1500 and at first I didn’t believe it since only about 200 fans were actually wearing them, but then I was able to buy one of the many extra’s someone had gotten in the parking lot after the game for $10. So maybe they did. Maybe they didn’t. I just know this 1) False advertising does not make fans. 2) Rip tickets and/or stamp hands so that people can’t go back in and get extras. 3) tell your ticket takers to hand out only ONE per person, no matter how many they ask for.

Overall, they need to work on customer service, food quality and fan interaction. Everything was so rushed, the promotions between innings were an uncoordinated mess. And they got skunked. 10-zip. It wasn’t as enjoyable as it could have been.

Simply put, the Storm has major improvements to make before I head back.

P1030426Sunday we finished up at the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, but first we ate at Farrell’s. That in itself can put anyone in a better mood. The Quakes were kinda the first kids to move into the neighborhood with minor league baseball. They have been around longer than the other teams and yet I’ve never been. The stadium is squished in a little league park with virtually no signage. We flew right by the first entrance because there wasn’t a sign.

Marketing should probably look into that.

It was a 5:00pm Sunday evening game and maybe that is why there was a low turn out. It just seemed vacant. Even the announcer guy was poking fun at the lack of attendance. Note to the announcer guy: please do not ever play that “everybody clap your hands song” again. Ever. The first 50 times it was bearable, after that you were just trying to get yourself killed. Really, it even crossed my mind. There is a limit to human tolerance and you crossed it with that song. Aside from my twitchy eye from them playing that song incessantly, the field was super nice and the seats spacious and comfy. They had a cantina in left and right fields which I would totally buy tickets for next time. Tremor the mascot was cute, Crazy J stole the show and after a back and forth game they won it with a walk off homer. And we got VICTORY BALLS! I posted a picture of our VICTORY BALLS on Twitter and the Quakes re-tweeted my VICTORY BALLS. It was exciting and a nice relaxing way to end our three day baseball pilgrimage.

Along the way I got to meet Susie Peters and Paul Harvey from Oregon. I thought our three game trek was a feat until I met them at the halfway  point of their seven teams in seven days tour. Yeah, they totally made me feel like an under achiever. Each year they take a section of minor league baseball and make a vacation out of it. I didn’t take as good as notes as I should about how many teams they have visited but I should have because it was really impressive. They are like minor league royalty. Anyway, they are awesome, what they do is awesome and it was awesome meeting them. Have safe travels back you guys and I hope to meet up with you at a game next year!

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Inland Empire 66er’s – July 26, 2013

 

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Lake Elsinore Storm – July 27, 2013

 

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Rancho Cucamonga Quakes – July 28, 2013

1 Renee July 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm

You are spot on with your thoughts on the best experience. We love going to 66ers games and get the best value for our money at their stadium.

2 Sandi August 10, 2013 at 9:21 am

Renee- we had a great time at the games and will definitely go back to the 66ers!

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