Results tagged ‘ fort worth cats ’
This entry is a couple of weeks old, but oh well. My friend Dirk and I went to an independent league game on Friday May 28th. It was the Fort Worth Cats taking on the Grand Prairie Airhogs in the American Association. The Cats play at LaGrave Field, and I have done entries on them before (like here and here), but haven’t been able to get to the Grand Prairie field.
I’m not going to give a verbal description of this trip in this entry. I would rather do a pictoral entry if you don’t mind. With that being said, here we go….
The red arrow in the last photo shows what a screaming foul ball can do the metal wall behind home plate. There is another view of the wall two photos up.
In the last photo just above the red wall is a swimming pool.
That’s it. That’s my photo tour of my first game at QuikTrip Park. Not bad for an independent league team’s park, though I really don’t see myself returning anytime soon. LaGrave field in Fort Worth is just fine to me, and it’s closer to where I live!
My friend, Dirk, and I didn’t have anything going on this evening, our wives were both out of the house, so we had an idea. We were toying with the idea of going to the Fort Worth Cats game, and just staying in the parking lot and going for foul balls.
We already had tickets for the next night’s game, but we just wanted to try something different. And it’s a good thing we did, because we didn’t end up going the next night. I ended up getting an upper respiratory infection the next day, so needless to say, I was in no condition to go to a game.
We got to the ballpark, paid to park, and ended up buying two $4 left field berm tickets anyway. We walked around to the LF Berm and watched the first inning and a half or so, then got a couple dollar hotdogs, and made our way to the parking lot to find a foul ball spot.
Remember, this whole time we were still thinking we would be there the next night, so there’s no pictures. I was going to take some reference photos the next day, but that never happened.
We were in the parking lot close to a big tree for about 20-30 minutes or so, when we had our first shot. A ball came out of the stadium, and bounced in the parking lot about 30 yards in front of Dirk. He got up and ran to the ball and snagged it on the 2nd bounce. Turns out he didn’t even need to stand up, since it would’ve come all the way to where he was sitting.
That was our first experience with getting a foul ball that way. To be honest, it’s kind of weird to stare at a stadium and wait for a ball to come flying out to you. Weird, in a good way.
Dirk had already found a ball before the game started that was lying near some dumpsters behind the RF bleachers, so this was his 2nd of the night so far, and I was really wanting one of my own.
Since we went out there so early in the game, there weren’t any kids in the parking lot yet. I stress “yet” because it only takes a couple of fouls to get a group of kids out there, so we knew if we were going to get some, it would have to be early.
A couple different times we heard something that sounded like a ball hitting the pavement, but we weren’t really sure, only to see a kid that we had not yet noticed chase the ball down. It’s okay, it makes us look like we were sharing, even if it was unintentional!
Well it didn’t take long for a little “crowd” to develop about 100 feet to our left. If we were going to have a shot at anymore, they would almost have to come straight to us.
We got that chance. A ball came over the roof of the seats and took one bounce off the pavement and 3 kids ran after it……only to lose sight of it.
The ball had hit the pavement and landed on the roof of an SUV with a luggage rack on top. The luggage rack had kept the ball in place long enough for me to walk over and grab it, and then see the kids keep looking for a couple more minutes until I let them off the hook.
No, I didn’t give the ball to them, because I was taking all the balls I got home to my daughter Sarah. Call me what you want, but my daughter thought it was cool.
After getting my 1st ball of the evening, we decided to go back in and get another $1 hotdog and watch an inning or two of the game. By this time it was the 6th inning or so, and we weren’t planning on staying for the whole game because we were going the next day. So, we started to make our way to the truck and we saw a batter foul a ball off to the opposite side of the stadium from where we were before.
Neither of us thought anything of it, until we walked out and didn’t see anybody running around, so we were just going to walk to the general area and see if it was still there.
The ball had come to rest in a grassy area in the parking lot. So I walked about 100 feet or so and grabbed it.
A few minutes later, we got into Dirk’s truck and went home, listening to the game on the radio the whole way.
After my last trip to a Cats game, I knew it would only be a matter of time until my next one. Well, this was it, and this time I was accompanied by Dirk and his son, Connor, and my daughter, Sarah.
We arrived at the stadium at around 5:40 and this was the view as we walked from the truck to the ticket window….
Dirk and I each bought 2 general admission tickets for $6 each, and then waited for the gates to open at 6:00. Here’s a couple shots of us by the gate….
When the gates finally opened we split up, Dirk and Connor went to the RF bleachers, and Sarah and I went to the LF berm. Our mission: Easter Eggs. After failing to find any in either spot, we realized that BP did not happen today. Oh, well, that explains it.
It had been raining off and on the past two days, and although it wasn’t raining at that time, there still wasn’t BP.
With that checked off of the to-do list, the next mission: Food.
All of the concession stands at LaGrave are cash only, and guess who only had a debit card? Yep, me.
So, the next 15 minutes or so were spent locating, and trying to use, the only ATM in the place. The only problem was the weather screwed it up. Alternative: Cats Cash. I had to go to the ticket window and purchase $25 worth of fake money in order to buy food for Sarah and I. Oh well, lesson learned. Bring cash to LaGrave Field!
Our pregame meal consisted of a cheeseburger and fries for Sarah, BBQ brisket nachos for me (they weren’t as good as they sound), and 2 Dr. Peppers for $16.50. Is that a lot of money for a minor league stadium?
RE/MAX of Texas realtors was a sponsor of this night’s game, and one of the planned events was to have 4 RE/MAX skydivers fly onto the field prior to the national anthem and deliver the game ball. Here’s a photo of the final jumper with the American flag….
We didn’t have “seats” for this game since we had GA tickets, so we had a few spots to choose from, and we decided on the first base side even with the right fielder.
That spot is cool from a foul ball standpoint and a game watching perspective, although there would be no foul balls hit our way in the 2-1/2 innings we sat there. We were able to witness some awesome defensive plays though.
Both sides of the field have a “party deck” that overlook the baselines. We decided to go up to the deck on the 1B side (since all of the Cats hitters are righties) and this was the view of homeplate….
And here’s one I took of the Fort Worth skyline….
In the bottom of the 3rd inning a ball was fouled off and heading our direction, so I took off after it with Dirk behind me to my left. The ball was tailing out of my reach, but Dirk made a sweet grab on the fly about 5 feet from me!
Here’s Dirk with his freshly snagged gamer….
And here’s a close-up shot I took of the ball a little while later….
Just before I took the photo of Dirk with the ball, the very next pitch after his foul, was another foul ball hit in our direction! The only problem was I was too busy looking at Dirk’s ball (no jokes please!), that I didn’t see it until it was over my head, bouncing off of the concrete deck, and down into the parking lot. NO!!!!
Oh well, that’s what I get for not paying attention.
This was a VERY slow moving game. First pitch was at 7:05 and by 9:30 they were only into the 6th inning. Thankfully, there is a lot of room for the kids to run around on the party deck, so they kept themselves entertained.
Here’s a couple of photos of us from up there….
The rain was a factor for most of the game, but since this was Independent League baseball, and not MLB, there was never an actual “delay”. On a couple occasions, the rain was strong enough to force most of the fans to take shelter in the concourse behind homeplate.
During one of those “gatherings”, a woman with an umbrella covering herself and her son came and stood near me. I didn’t think anything of it at first, until I heard the woman laughing and the son carrying on about something. I turned to look and saw this….
That would be a baby-sized bird on top of the woman’s umbrella. I have to admit, that’s a first for me. It was acutally on there for a minute or so before I asked to take this picture, and even after I took it, the lady left it there to fly off on it’s own, which it did after a few minutes.
You never know what you are going to see at the ballpark!
It had been a while since we ate, so I went and got Sarah a rainbow Snoball (a snow cone in a bowl), and myself some ice cream (no, they don’t use helmets, but plastic cups. Boo!). That would tide us over for the rest of the night.
By the top of the 9th inning the Cats were leading the Grand Prairie Airhogs 9-4 and the rain was not letting up this time, so we started to make our way to the truck. We walked around behind homeplate to go down the stairs and exit there, but I decided to have Dirk stay with the kids there, and I went out into the parking lot to go for foul balls.
During the course of the game, there were approximately 6-8 kids out there, and around 16-18 fouls hit out there. Yeah, we were counting.
When I was out there, all the kids were gone, and there were only 2 batters that came up to hit in the 9th. The first flew out to the outfield, and the second swung through strike three, but he thought he tipped it (he was wrong), and proceded to “steal” first base and throw it into the stands on the third base side!
Gotta love minor league baseball!
The next batter came up as the rain came down harder, and on the second pitch, he swung and his bat flew clear into centerfield. The umps called the game after that.
Of course I had to hear all of this from Dirk after the fact, since I was out in the parking lot and didn’t get to see it firsthand. Oh well, if a ball had come into the parking lot, I would have been the only one out there to get it!
Time of game: 3hrs. 1 min. (Game called 1 out early due to rain)
By the way — I don’t know if this is the same everywhere else, but LaGrave Field has a pretty cool list of former players that have either played for or against the Cats. You can see that list here. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for the list)
My friend Sam and I decided to change things up a little bit, so we went to a Minor League game. The Fort Worth Cats are in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, and they play at LaGrave Field which has some pretty impressive history that you can read about here.
We didn’t know what to expect as far as attendance, so we went to the ballpark at around noon to get our tickets, just to make sure we would have seats. For all we knew, they sell out every game, so better safe than sorry.
As you can see in the picture, our tickets were $12 each, but those weren’t the cheapest ones we could get. We could actually get general admission tickets for $4 or $6, but since this was the first game there for both of us, we splurged a little.
When we bought our tickets, there was a gate open close by, so we went in (of course). There were a dozen people or so, just walking around like it might have been a tour. There were a few employees milling around, but they didn’t seem to care/notice that we were there. We probably could’ve walked wherever we wanted to, but decided to stay close to the gate since we would be there in a few hours for the game anyway, and didn’t want to risk getting in trouble.
The gates don’t open until 6:00, so we had a lot of time to kill, but came back to the park at around 5:45. This was the view of the ballpark as we walked from the car to the stadium….
See the SUV in the above photo? That is the $5 lot. Where we parked is the $3 lot. We’re not cheap, it’s just an easier exit from the $3 lot. Also, the green awning on the very left of the photo with all the people underneath, is the ticket window, and just to the left of the ticket window is the first base gate. This is a picture I took while waiting in line at the gate….
Not bad for Independent League baseball!
When we walked through the gate and into the stadium, this was our first view of the field….
That’s the left field fence with the yellow railing, and the other side of that fence is Berm Seating. I may have to try that sometime.
Right field has some metal bleacher sections, so I went over there for two reasons: 1 - to take some pictures from over there, and 2 - to look for easter eggs! Batting practice is closed to the public, so I thought I might have a good shot at finding one even though all the Cats’ hitters are righites.
Here’s a view from the RF bleachers straight down the first base line….
And here’s a look at where our seats were….
See the guy in the front row wearing the brown shorts? That’s Sam in our seats. Also, do you see the single metal bench to the left of Sam with the blue water cooler on it? That’s where the Cats’ bullpen pitchers sit during the game. You can barely see the pitcher’s mound on the left of the photo. Gotta love minor league baseball!
Here’s the 2nd reason I went to the bleachers….
Do you see it? Just down and to the left from the blue trash can? That folks, is what we call an easter egg! It doesn’t matter to me what league it is, it’s always cool to find one of those babies!
Here is the view to my left from in the bleachers….
Concession stand! There’s nothing special about it, I just wanted to give it a little fanfare.
What you can’t really tell in that photo, is the walkway between the concessions and the bleachers that takes you here….
Behind the right field bleachers. The cars in the distance I assume belong to employees. Also down there is all of the batting practice equipment. Gotta love minor league baseball!
After spending time in the RF bleachers, I continued to wander. Stopping behind home plate, and along the third base line….
No, I wasn’t taking a picture of the “L” on the pole. I don’t know why I pointed the camera like that. Something different I guess.
Here’s one looking toward home plate….
And here’s one from the left field berm….
For the record, no, there weren’t any balls out there. When I was in the right field bleachers I noticed a father and daughter out here on the LF berm. If there were any out here, I’m sure they would have gotten them.
As I made my way back over to Sam, I stopped and took a photo of a Diablos pitcher warming up….
My guess is, that is starting pitcher Josh Nietz, but I have no way of knowing for sure.
I finally made it back to our seats and took this photo of the view we had of home plate….
I really thought we would be in prime foul ball territory, but the only ball that came even remotely close to us was caught in the air for a 2nd out. Oh well, I just loved the experience.
I also got a couple shots of some Cats players warming up in front of us….
Here’s our view of the action….
The game itself was pretty good, although the “promotion” for the night was Christmas in July. Do you know how weird it is to be at a baseball game and hear Christmas music? It’s a little unsettling.
The ballpark is great! Lots of stuff for kids, easy interaction with the players, no big crowds. Concession prices aren’t too much different than a MLB ballpark though. I spent $8 on a rather small order of cheese fries and a large Dr. Pepper. Oh well, they need money just like the big boys.
Which reminds me, if the Cats were on defense and got three quick outs, ushers would go around with a collection bucket. Anytime there was something good that happened on the field, the bucket would go around. I’m not complaining by any means, I am just not used to that. For those that may not know, that is how the players earn their money. A far cry from the big leagues isn’t it?
The Cats jumped out to 3-0 lead, thanks to a 3-run home run by John Allen, but ended up losing 6-3.
Time of game: 3hrs. 4mins.
Next (Cats) game: Not sure yet, but I will be attending more!