Mike McCann / Minor Leagues
KINSTON ISN'T SO BAD AFTER ALL
By Mike McCann
This has been an exceptionally slow year so far. I was only able to attend one minor league baseball game this year. Probably not acceptable qualifications for someone who is supposed to be knowledgeable on the subject. There are numerous reasons that I wasn't able to attend as many games as I would have liked, but I made it to a Kinston Indians game while on a business trip in August.
I had my expectations set fairly low because I had heard that Kinston was not a good stadium to see a baseball game. I had read about constant battles between Potomac and Kinston about which stadium was worse. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the stadium, so Potomac wins that contest in my opinion. To me, it was still in pretty good shape as the stadium had undergone some renovations after the 2001 season. Kinston is usually at the bottom of the league in attendance, but I believe that is due more to its location in eastern North Carolina more than anything else. I had heard rumors about the Kinston team moving earlier this year, so I'm glad that I was able to see the stadium now.
I have now seen 7 of the 8 Carolina League teams play in their current stadiums, with Salem being the lone exception. I'll have to make more of an effort to see the Avalanche play at home so I can say that I was able to complete a league. I'm also one team away from completing the Eastern League until I see the Portland Sea Dogs play. I'm not sure where I'll visit first, although I am trying to schedule a trip to Maine for next summer.
One nice aspect about minor league games is getting to see some good prospects. In this game where Kinston took on Salem, it included Kinston's Steven Head who was a second round draft pick this year and Salem's Hunter Pence. Both players hit cleanup for their respective teams. Pence went 1 for 4 with an RBI and 2 strikeouts, where Head went 2 for 5 with an RBI and 2 strikeouts.
One performance from the game that jumped out at me was that of Salem SS Ben Zobrist. As the leadoff hitter, he went 4 for 4 with a walk. This raised his average to .390 in 100 at bats. Unfortunately, he also made errors on consecutive at bats which ultimately led to 4 Kinston runs and the difference in their 6-2 victory.
Since I haven't been as active in my minor league baseball hobby and other priorities are coming up, I probably won't be writing this column as often. I will do my best to put something together every other month though. Hopefully, next season will work out better for me.
I am always looking for topics to write about, so please send me an e-mail and let me know what would be interesting reading for you. Feel free to ask any questions or give an idea for a column.