This was a very unique game to start my 2014 season. The Tampa Bay Rays came all the way from Port Charlotte Florida to Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery Alabama to take on there AA team the Montgomery Biscuits. I got to the park at 12 for batting practice. Just as I was running down the stairwell of the parking garage to head inside a train slowly rolled by just beyond the left field fence. Heres a photo.
In case you didn’t know Riverwalk stadium is built right next to a set of train tracks and trains can be seen and heard screeching by durning the game. The 1st base pavilion once served as a train terminal and has been renovated into suites. If it wasn’t for the tall stadium lights outside you would never guess it was a ballpark. Once I went inside I stopped to take this photo that kind of summarizes the stadium and how it was renovated.
After that, I raced over to the Rays dugout on the 1st base line to try and get some autographs as they took BP. I was obviously not the only one wanting to get something signed, Take a look at this crowd!!
After standing there for about 5 Minutes I realized no one was going to sign until BP was done so I decided to head to the grass hill beyond the right field fence. Here was my view from where I stood as the Rays hit.
They were hitting bombs and a lot of them looked like they were headed right to me but the wind was howling and made the ball carry much more than normal causing me to miss read them. I ran back and forth chasing balls for what seemed like an eternity just missing most of them by a foot or two until one of the Rays players connected on one crushing the ball to deep right center. This time I read the ball just right and saw it soaring at me as about 15 people were closing in on me trying to get there hands on it too. I felt the ball smack the palm of my glove and I knew I had it! Heres a photo of the beautiful pearl.
It was the first ball I have EVER caught! I had never caught a ball off the bat until now I couldn’t believe it and to make it better it was my first ball of 2014! I couldn’t celebrate to long because I had to try and get more! I realized the hill was getting to crowded and had to many screaming kid to get a toss up from one of the player so I went to the party pavilion in center where there wasn’t many people. I stood there for the rest of BP and got one more ball that hit a railing before I picked it up. Heres a photo.
After BP was over I decided I would go fight the crowd and get autographs. I waited for 30 minutes when a few players came out to stretch but the only players that signed for me were Desmond Jennings and 2013 AL rookie of the year Wil Myers. Desmond signed a card for me that smeared very bad because it was lightly raining and Wil signed a card and a ball for me that I brought to the game. Here is a photo of the ball and Wil signing for other fans in the background.
Wil was nice enough to sign for was seemed like all of the fans. After the rain stopped the pre game ceremonies started. They went down the line and called out each player and all the managers from the Rays and Biscuits then showed a highlight video from the 2013 season. Here is a photo of the Rays lined up down the 1st base line.
After that I finally headed to my seats on the 3rd base side as the game started. Chris Archer was the starting pitcher for Tampa Bay. When the Rays took the field I snapped this cool photo of Evan Longoria.
It wasn’t long after the 3rd inning that I left my seat to run around and try to get a ball. I first went to the left field walkway to try my chance at a homer. Here was my view down the 3rd base line.
Here was my view of the train tracks behind me.
I thought it was very cool that only about 30 feet separated the actual playing field and train tracks, a very unique design! After wandering around for a while, I headed over to the 1st base side above the Rays dugout to try to find any empty seats that I could sit in to try and get a 3rd out ball. I spotted one and took advantage of it, Here was the view!
I sat there for a few innings and took some awesome pictures, here are a few!
Wil Myers coming to bat!
Evan Longoria walking back to first a after a pitching change.
Evan smiling at the fans. This has to be my favorite shot of the game!
Check out Chris Archer and his sweet socks! Chris had a great start throwing 4 scoreless innings. After sitting there till about the 6th inning and coming up short on every ball tossed into the stands I worked up an appetite and was dying to try the Montgomery Biscuits signature burger, The Aloha Burger! Here is a snapshot of the beauty before I devoured it!
When I first got the burger (being the huge cheese lover I am) my first thought was “Whats wrong with these people, no cheese?” but after the first bite I realized they knew exactly what they were doing and I had no right to question them!! It was an explosion of flavor that I had never had before and it was very filling! I would highly recommend it to anyone that visits Riverwalk Stadium. After the first few bites I took the burger back to my seat to watch the rest of the game. As I finished my burger a train slowly rolled by beyond the outfield fence making a very loud rumbling noise that echoed throughout the whole stadium. It was awesome!!
I stayed in my actual seat for the rest of the game and watched as the Biscuits rallied back from a five run deficit to win the game 6-5. Thats right you read that correctly the Montgomery Biscuits which are a AA Minor League team beat there parent affiliate the Tampa Bay Rays. It didn’t shock me though because the Rays took out all of their starters by the 5th inning so it was pretty much a minor league game from the fifth inning on. After the game I waited outside for autographs. There were about 50 people waiting to get things signed. I got cards signed by Ben Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez, Matt Joyce and Yunel Escobar. Evan Longoria came out but didn’t sign much and got on the bus. Below is my haul for the game along with season and career stats.
Venue: Riverwalk Stadium
2 balls at this game
Number of balls this season 2
133 career balls
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for much more posts from the 2014 season!