This entry is 100% dedicated to this season’s Rome Braves. They are my team, and I can’t wait to go to my first game at the lovely State Mutual Stadium this year. That could be likely 1 of 3 dates. These dates are:
April 25th: vs. the Kannapolis Intimidators – Retro Night presented by 95.7 The Ridge (Flagship FM station of the Rome Braves Radio Network) & Cartersville Medical Center ~ This game will hopefully be a retro jersey night, which would mean an auction in which I would likely purchase a jersey or two, and former Atlanta Brave and San Diego Padre Ryan Klesko will be making an appearance. Autographs!
April 26th: vs. the Kannapolis Intimidators – ZOOPERSTARS Night presented by Life 93.5 FM ~ The Zooperstars are a hilarious between-inning inflatable “mascot” type group that entertains at minor league stadiums all around baseball. This video is from a Rome Braves advertisement in 2010 about the Zooperstars. Whoever came up with this was a smart guy because it’s great entertainment!
April 27th: vs. the Kannapolis Intimidators – Daddy/Daughter Date Night presented by Q102 FM ~ Yeah…I’ll pass on that one if I can.
On another note, this is the 2014 Rome Braves Opening Day Roster:
Pitchers: Rafael Briceno, Tyler Brosius, Chuck Buchanan, Jared Dettman, Brady Feigl, Jeremy Fitzgerald, Yean Carlos Gil, Frank Lafreniere, David Starn (DL), Andy Otero, Carlos Salazar, Michael Swanner, Richard Tate, Andry Ubiera
Catchers: Victor Caratini, Bryan De La Rosa, Anthony Nunez (DL)
Infielders: Johan Camargo, Carlos Franco, Reed Harper, Joey Meneses, Mikey Reynolds, Jake Schrader
Outfielders: Blake Brown, Cody Livesay, Jose Morel, Victor Reyes
Now you might be wondering why some of those names are emboldened…
Frank Lafreniere: Frank was a member of the Rome Braves rotation all of 2013. He was a 4th round draft pick in 2010. I mention Frankie because I saw him pitch twice last season and was VERY impressed, and because I have 12 baseball cards (11 2012 Bowman Draft Picks & 1 2013 Rome Braves Team Set) that I will be trying to get signed this year at games. You will probably see those cards here one day once he signs them.
Carlos Salazar: Carlos was a 3rd Rounder last year, and is only 19 years old. He is a high ranking prospect and I’m looking forward to seeing him this season.
Victor Caratini: This guy I am very very pumped to see this season. He was their 2nd Round Pick in the 2013 Draft. His first season was impressive, with a .290 average and 25 RBI’s in 58 games. Caratini is a big prospect for the Braves and he will be very cool to watch as the season progresses.
Mikey Reynolds: Reynolds was a 5th rounder last year, and honestly is the only infielder with serious potential in my opinion (I’m known to be wrong about things a lot…)
Victor Reyes: Reyes is a non-drafted free agent, but is a big prospect right now, and made the Braves Futures Team (As did Caratini) that beat the Major League Team 13-4 last Saturday. I’m pumped to meet Victor.
And studying the roster, there is about 14 guys who are from Spanish-speaking countries. That means that “Dame la pelota por favor” will be used a lot this season.
Here’s a little ballhawking “Snagging Analysis” for State Mutual Stadium, home of my Rome Braves:
The Red arrow represents the best place to snag a visiting team’s lineup card or maybe a ball or two after the game.
The black circle is the best section in the ballpark for foul balls. Those top row are never occupied unless it’s bobblehead night (Well, besides me and my family) and rightys consistently hit fouls into that section.
The red circle is the roof of “Bubba’s BBQ Barn.” They have fantastic BBQ and a terrible gutter system, But, if you’re there at the right time an get a healthy bounce, you can reach over all the little gremlins and get a nice foul ball.
Ahhhh, The Applebee’s Home Run Hill, AKA the worst positioned hill in Minor League Baseball. Jeez. I hate it and I love it. It’s in such a bad place overall because of the lack of lefty power. But, it’s roomy. And from what I’ve seen on the Rome roster, there are 6 guys who will be starters that are either left-handed or switch-hitters. So, maybe I’ll snag a homer out there this year. Who knows?
This kinda shows my “roaming grounds” for homers. It also shows the BBQ Barn (left of picture) that catches a lot of foul balls.
This picture shows what it looks like from behind the home dugout. See the seating area in front of the BBQ Barn? That area is not the best seating in the park, and they rarely sell. That’s right behind the area where visiting teams warm up. I’ve snagged a good many baseballs over there.
See that auxiliary board on the grass area down the 3rd base line? Toss-up heaven! That’s where I snag the majority of my balls from the Rome Braves and get all my autographs. The only difficulty down there is the fact that kids migrate to open grass to goof off. That’s my only competition out there, and normally my only competition at Rome games.
This just gives you a closer view to that area I mentioned in the above photo. And honestly, the only issue I have there is the way water pools besides that concrete wall. Simple design flaw in my opinion.
Just to show off that area again. That glass in the “windshield” on the boat…doesn’t exist anymore. Foul balls destroyed that last season. Maybe they fixed it!
State Mutual sure is beautiful during day games! That final section in the upper level is the complementary tickets section. I sat there many times in 2013 thanks to my good buddy, Lynchburg Hillcats 1st Baseman Edison Sanchez!
So, to wrap things up, I’ll be at State Mutual sometime at the end of April. There are some awesome players on Rome’s Opening Day Roster. I love/hate State Mutual Stadium for ballhawking.
OH, and I have a “maybe” baseball-themed Spring Break planned. Stay Tuned! The theme is…………….”1 league, 3 divisions, 2 stadiums, 1 goal!”
Until next time, god bless and Go Braves! (And Athletics!)