Minor League tour: Part II
Jonathan and Izzy Salant filed this report from their second stop ontheir nine-day tour of upstate New York Minor League ballparks, Russell
E. Diethrick Jr. Park in Jamestown.
For the second night in a row, we got a bonus. On Monday, it was an
unexpected doubleheader in Buffalo. Last night, it was an extra-inning game in Jamestown. Both the Buffalo Bisons and the Jamestown
Jammers are owned by the Rich family. They also own the Wichita
Wranglers, but we’re not going out to Kansas any time soon.
Tuesday’s game was exciting. The Lowell Spinners went ahead, 2-0, in the
third inning, but Jamestown quickly tied it up in the bottom of the
third on a home run by shortstop Carlos Piste, just getting back into
shape after a stint on the disabled list. Lowell outfielder Rafael
Cabreja hit a three-run jack in the fifth, but again Jamestown came
back, scoring the tying run in the last of the eighth when Bryan
Petersen lined a triple just off the glove of first baseman Deshawn
Brooks and down the right field line. In the bottom of the 10th,
Jamestown had a runner on third with two outs. Then Lowell pitcher
Willy Mota walked the next two batters and hit Ben Lasater with a
pitch to end it. Final score, 6-5 Jamestown.
The Jammers play in a park that doubles as the home field for Jamestown
Community College, and, indeed, the park was more reminiscent of
fields like Shirley Povich Field in our hometown of Bethesda, Md., home
to a summer collegiate baseball league, than other minor league
stadiums I have visited, including Harry Grove Stadium for the Class A
Advanced Frederick Keys. The crowd was sparse on a weekday night, perhaps
getting players on the Florida Marlins’ affiliate prepared for the
empty seats they’ll experience in South Florida if the team doesn’t get
its long-sought new stadium.
With such a small crowd, we figured we’d have no problem getting a
ball, and didn’t have to wait long. The Jammers’ manager and third base
coach, Darin Everson, fielded a foul ball in one of the early innings and flipped it into the stands where Izzy was waiting with his glove.
He made the catch. When the game ended and the players walked past the
fans into the locker room — no tunnel under the stands into a plush
clubhouse here — Izzy used the ball to land autographs from many of
the players and then Manager Everson. Izzy thanked him again for the
ball and then the manager offered to pose for a picture with my son. We
took advantage of his offer.
Izzy also posed for pictures with the Jammers’ mascot, a monkey named
Bubba, and had him sign his mitt right next to the autograph from
Keyote of the Frederick Keys. Alas, the gift shop didn’t sell a stuffed
Bubba mascot so his collection did not increase. Later, Bubba made sure
we knew he disapproved of Izzy’s and my taste in headgear — we both
wore New York Mets caps — signaling that we should have worn the caps
of another Major League team that plays in the National League’s
Eastern Division, the parent club of the Jammers.
We’re off to Batavia (Cardinals) where I’ll be rooting for the visitors, the
Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets’ short-season A team, on Wednesday night.
Then it’s an 11 a.m. game at Frontier Field in Rochester on Thursday
before we spend three nights in Cooperstown, with the days at the Hall
of Fame and the nights watching games in Oneonta and Binghamton.
Izzy’s report: Last night’s game was awesome. They made great hits. My
favorite one was the home run by Carlos Piste. At the end, I got an
autographed ball signed by half the players and the manager. I
can’t wait until tomorrow.