Thursday, August 4, 2016

BP with the Peoria Chiefs

The family and I made our third trip to Peoria this year to catch 2 Chiefs games on Saturday night and Sunday night.  I had another BP package to use before the end of the year.  I highlighted the first BP experience in this post.  As a quick recap, I paid $60 for 4 tickets, a parking pass, and the privilege to be the only people to watch batting practice.  Factoring in tickets are $10 each and parking is $5,  you would be hard pressed to find a better value in baseball for $15.

My son and I roamed around the outfield and foul lines tracking down balls while my wife and daughter sat close to the Chiefs dugout in the shade.  They did track down a few ball that landed in the seats.  For the most part, the 18 balls we collected were home runs.  All are Midwest League balls except for the bottom one on the right.
It is hard to make out the logo, but this is a NCAA ball.  Bradley University also plays at Dozer Park, so I am guessing this may have been left in the grass after a game or put into the Chiefs supply by accident.  I will admit I dropped a home run ball hit right to me.  I was standing just behind the left field fence at the time.  I moved maybe a step or two and had the ball hit off my right hand.  Next time I will bring my glove.

While us boys were busy getting baseballs, the ladies were trying to get a couple of autos for me.  They had one success, and one failure. 
Sierra is the Cardinals 6th rated prospect.  He signed going off the field by the dugout after the Chiefs were finished.  He also signed for us the last 2 times we were in Peoria.  Nice kid whose English is getting better.  His sig is pretty good legible for a Latin American kid.

The other auto I was hoping to get was Jake Gatewood from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.  He is the Brewers 24th best prospect.  He is a shortstop with a lot of power potential.  He put on a good show in BP, hitting 4 or 5 home runs.  I had a 2015 Topps Heritage Minor League card a friend wanted to get signed for his set.  The girls asked him after his round of BP, but he said later.  No problem, they could try after BP was over as the team was walking off.  He brushed them off again saying he had to see the trainer.  Not a big loss, but hard to understand how he could not sign 1 card with absolutely no other collectors around. 

The ladies did not get shut out thought.  After the Chiefs finished their BP, they moved to seats behind the visitor's dugout to try for the Gatewood auto.  After the first round of BP, my daughter received this from Rattlers outfielder Carlos Belonis:

She was beyond excited because my son has received 2 bats before, but she has none.  This one is in great shape, no cracks or breaks.  The cupped end has a small chip as you can see from the pic below.
Since the bat had no name or other markings on it, we had planned to have some Chiefs players sign it until be saw the knob.

I think the bat knob decals are cool, so we will keep the bat as is unless we see the Rattlers again.

 It was 5:15 by the time BP finished.  I took all the balls and bat out to vehicle and grabbed a few cards for the Mobile On the Run Tour guest Lee Smith.  I was shocked by how few people were in his line.  The autos were free, plus the played for both the Cardinals and Cubs and is a border line Hall of Famer.  He is still a very large man, but was talkative as can be.

 Once inside the stadium, we hoped in line for Signature Saturdays.  There were a total of 7 different Chiefs players who signed one of our balls from BP.

It was a perfect night for a game.  The weather was overcast with a nice breeze.  The Chiefs won 1-0 in a little less than 2.5 hours.  The fireworks show after the game lasted 15 minutes and was better than the 4th of July show in my hometown.  All in all a fun day at the park.

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