Sunday, July 1, 2012

The k-bro Beloit Snappers Report

The family and I took a nice little vacation to Beloit, WI, to catch some minor-league ball and get a glimpse of some future Twins. We attended games on two steamy evenings, Friday and Saturday.

The Snappers, the Twins Class A affiliate, are a pretty typical minor-league team. There are several features of the experience that are common throughout the minor leagues, and these features are what makes the minor league experience great. There are always the couple of uber-fans who show up first to every game, know every thing about every player, and keep score of every play in their own scorebooks. There is also the guy who brings a trombone so he can play a tiny ovation for each player as he's announced. Every minor-league park also features an auto-glass message for every foul ball that leaves the park (the parks are small, so the risk of a foul ball actually breaking a car windshield is pretty significant). There are always between-inning sponsored games and hijinks where fans actually get to go on the field and compete for coupons or tickets to future games. Also, every employee you see holds four or five jobs (the roving announcer for the hijinks is also on the grounds crew). Oh, and don't forget the scouts -- the entire section behind home plate is filled with men, dressed in business casual attire, armed with notebooks, iPads, and radar guns. The atmosphere is cozy, fun, laid back, and a little goofy.

The best seats in the house are only $7.50 and beers are only $3.50
The Snappers hosted the Clinton Lumberkings, the Seattle Mariners single-A club.

Friday's lineup
On Friday, Steven Liddle (nephew of Twins 3rd-base coach) homered to start the scoring, but the Snappers fell 6-3 in the drizzly rain.

Saturday's game was a defensive umm... challenge... for the Snappers, and despite a rally in the ninth, they lost 10-5. But the fireworks afterwards were nicely done.

Of course, I was most interested in scouting the Twins top prospect, Miguel Sano. It's easy to tell that he's special. The ball just sounds different coming off his bat; when he gets a hold of one, he gets a hold of one. He homered on Saturday, and the ball cleared not only the fence, but also the scoreboard. Wow.

But, as good and special as he is, I can also see why the Twins haven't promoted him to Fort Myers yet. He simply isn't ready. He strikes out a lot, and his defense isn't there yet. They shouldn't promote him until he dominates this level, and he's not far, but not quite there.
Sano on deck
All in all, despite the losing, the Snappers gave us a great time, and we all felt it was worth the drive.

If you happen to travel to Beloit to catch the Snappers, I also recommend you visit Historic Auto Attractions museum in nearby Roscoe, IL. It's so much more than a car museum; it's more of a collection great historic artifacts. It includes a large presidential exhibit, with a special area for the Kennedys. There are also a bunch of cool cars.

It's in the middle of nowhere, but it really cool.

(Note: I mention this because I liked it; they didn't give me a discount or anything to blog about it.)

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