Day 3 of the Beloit trip was a steamer even compared to days one and two. We got up at around nine after a long day on Saturday. We checked out of the hotel around eleven. Before we get any further I want to commend the Rodeway Hotel for being very hospitable to us while we were there. The room was clean with the beds comfortable and plenty of towels. We then stopped at my favorite restaurant and yours in Applebee’s for lunch once again. Once again we got a great meal as I had a chicked breast with some steamed veggies and steamed potatoe wedges. All I can say is magnificent once again. The only thing I was disappointed in was the fact that our buddy Josh was not there this day. Not to say our server did a bad job, but Josh was very entertaining and made our experience there on Saturday much better. We then bummed around until noon when it was time to get to the park as it was a 2pm game.
When I stepped out of the car Sunday the first thing that went through my mind was man is it hot. It was a real steamer out so we did not sit in the outside bleachers instead we headed to the closed bleachers to watch West Michigan take batting practice. You could tell how hot it was because the Snappers did a short workout early then headed back to the clubhouse without taking batting practice on this day. We sat and watched West Michigan taking BP and the two guys that really stood out to me is Nick Castellanos who is rated as the Tigers number two prospect in the system at third base. He kept hitting shot after shot out of the park you could really tell he was a top prospect. The other was Catcher Rob Brantley who was also a top 15 prospect for the Tigers. The funny story was we met a former coach of Brantley who had made the trek down to Beloit to see him play. That should tell you all you need to know how when someone makes it to pro ball it is not just the player who has a vested interest, but all those that helped him get there.
After watching BP we got a chance to talk to BJ Hermsen, Adam Bryant, Michael Gonzalez, and Andy Leer. Talk about nice guys as each of those guys seemed geniounly happy to talk to us. That kind of thing is what makes this type of trip a must is it makes you realize these guys are just like you and I they just get paid to do something they love to do. They are accomplishing a dream that most of us had when we were little kids. The thing that impressed me the most though was how it did not change who they are. The coolest thing that I saw on Sunday though was these three Snapper fans who come to all the games. These people were just good people so we got to talk to them for a while and they came up to us from Twins Minor League Weekly and knew who we were I found that really cool. Then to find out that 2-3 times a year they hold BBQ’s for the players at their house with the only rule that no autographs. That really allows the players to relax and just be themselves without having to worry about the one percent of leaches that try to profit off these guys. Instead they get to know these guys as people and just have a good time. When the players would walk by they would give the little girl a hug and they were on first name basis which I found really really cool. Some people put these guys on pedastal’s but at the end of the day they are just people just like you and I and deserve to be treated with that kind of respect.
The game started and my favorite pitcher for the Snappers AJ Achter got the start and was really good. His change-up is the real deal as he got quite a few swings and misses on it. He can place his fastball on the corners as he is not overpowering so if he can place his fastball and throw that change-up he can be tough. He is just learning how to throw a slider because after he signed they decided to replace the curveball that he threw at Michigan State with a slider and he really feels it is coming around. I would say 35-40% of his sliders were good so it definitely is a work in progress, but something that if he can perfect it can really be a really good pitch for him. Achter went seven very good innings and gave up two runs on only six hits with a walk and three strikeouts. A very good outing and has been one of the most consistant pitchers for the Snappers since he got up to Beloit. Jose Gonzalez then came on and pitched the last two innings to pick up the save with a strikeout. Gonzalez is nota very big guy, but he can hump it up there pretty good for his size. A comparable I could think of is a young Jose Mijares body type and ability to throw pretty hard.
Offensively, the Snappers were only able to score three runs on seven hits, but that was enough on this day. Seth and I discussed during the game that he was a bad luck charm for the Snappers as they were 0-4 in games he had attended until this game. The Snappers were led by Wang Wei Lin who went 2-3 at the plate with a double and a single. Reggie Williams went 1-2 with a single and a walk. Lance Ray went 1-4 with a double smashed down the right field line that I made a call on, but Seth disputes. Ill leave it up to the readers when you say someone is going to hit a gapper does it not include the gap between the right field line and the right fielder. I think it does, but Seth disagreed with me so let me know what you think. Derek Mccallum went 1-2 with a single and a sacrifice fly. Tobias Streich went 1-3 with a single along with reaching on an error and scoring a run.
The best part of the day was right after the game we were walking out and I look up and there is former Twins General Manager and current consultant for the team Terry Ryan standing their extending his hand and saying “hi Im Terry Ryan” I shook his hand and was thinking no duh I know who you are and had been trying to get enough nerve all weekend to go talk to him. He was like why didn’t you guys come seek me out I was expecting it. Seth told him we knew he was working so we didn’t want to bother him. The fact that a guy like Terry Ryan would seek us out was the highlight to my trip. I know he has talked to Seth before, but for him to introduce himself to me was so cool and something that I will never forget. We walked a few more feet and there is Reggie Williams waiting for us to shake our hands and thank us for coming this weekend. I found that so cool as it ceases to amaze me how nice of a guy that Reggie Williams is. I know we are supposed to be professional with this, but I am a fan not a journalist and I really am pulling for Reggie Williams to make it because you are not going to find a nicer guy then him so best of luck to him. We then took off and our fun filled trip to Beloit was over so fast.
Before I end this I want to personally thank Jeff Vohs for being so friendly to us that weekend as he went above and beyond what he needed to do. He is one of the hardest working people I have ever met and he does not only the Snappers, the city of Beloit, and the State of Wisconsin a honor by all the work that he puts on. Also want to thank Justin Waters for all the work he put in from setting up the interviews for us and helping getting everything set-up and then doing PA for the game. He is also a credit to the organization and a credit to Jeff that he hired him to do the job. For those that have considered going down Beloit to see some baseball don’t hesitate as it is a grade A experience. If you think it is good ball watching town team ball you would not believe how good these guys are. The park and experience are second to none so I guarantee you that you will have a blast. Plus it is only 5.5 hours from the Twin Cities so there is no reason not to go because I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed and will have a time that you will be talking about for weeks. I know I am already looking forward to going back next summer as it will again be something that I enjoy once again. Again thanks a lot to the Snapper staff for an experience I will never forget.