About a week prior, I saw something on the River Cats website about their 2014 Preseason Party. After showing it to the rest of my family, they agreed that it looked like a fun time and good reason to get out of the house, so we decided to go!
That morning, my mom wasn’t feeling particularly well, so she decided to stay home. The three of us ended up getting out of the house a bit late, but we ended up arriving in Sacramento (Which is about an hour and 45 minutes minutes from our house) at 12:45.
Given that it was a free event, I was looking forward to it, but given that I had never gone to their Preseason Party before, I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect. I wasn’t sure if it would be like a FanFest or just a little event, but either way, I was excited. When we got in, I immediately headed out to take a look at the field.
See the batting cage set up on the field? I was pretty excited about that. No, not because there were any players taking BP (Everyone was at Spring Training!). Click on this link to check out why the cage was there.
Essentially, for a $20 minimum donation, fans have the opportunity to take a five-swing batting practice on the field. This benefits the recently vandalized River Cats Independence Field. The great thing about it was that the River Cats Foundation was willing to match every dollar raised. On the first weekend in March, River Cats Independence Field was vandalized , with nearly $25,000 in lost equipment. The equipment lost included bats and balls, specialty wheelchairs, and beeping bases for the blind. The field is resurfaced with a custom rubberized turf, like that used for the track and field surfaces in the Paralympics.
My sister and I were both planning on partaking in this charity event. More on that in a bit.
Shortly after we got inside, we ran into Ben Christensen and his girlfriend Angie, Vanessa Demske, Eric Nelson, Jessica Franco, and Gustav Davilla. We talked for a while, then decide to set off on the River Cats tour, or savenger hunt of sorts. We were each given a map when we got in and decided to take off on it! Here is the field setup with the cages.
We planned on starting with the clubhouse tour, so we made our way to center field.
Then, we had to follow some signs and ropes…
… and we were in the River Cats clubhouse!
Some of the lockers were set up with jerseys or other items from past River Cats players.
While we were in the clubhouse, I got a picture of this sheet that I saw on the wall… BP Times!
We then left the clubhouse and headed off on the rest of our self-guided tour!
We got to walk behind the outfield fence, which I thought was pretty cool.
Soon, we were back out on the right field berm again.
And look who was hitting in the cage at the time! That Adam (@RFWavekiller on Twitter), who sits in Section 148.
He put some good swings on the ball!
On the scavenger hunt list, we had to to go 8 different places and get a stamp at each. One of the locations on the list was this seating area.
Nice view of the field!
This painting was especially neat.
When it was time to head downstairs, we passed this really cool elevator.
Then, it was time to check out the wall of fame.
How cool is this ceiling??
There were TONS of jerseys hanging on the wall of former River Cats players.
Shortly thereafter, we ended up ON THE FIELD.
There, there was information about a special seating area right behind home plate. No, the seating area is not on the field.
Before we left, my dad took a picture of the group of us who had stuck together for the tour.. From left to right: Eric, Gustav, Jessica, Vanessa, MEEEEE, Pascale, Angie, and Ben.
Here is a panorama I got while we were on the field…
Then, we decided to sign up for BP. We were unable to at first, but in the end, my sister and I were able to be the last two people to sign up!
There, I finally got to meet the AMAZING person behind the River Cats twitter account. Without a doubt, the River Cats have the best Twitter account in all of Minor League Baseball. If you don’t follow them, you are doing something wrong.
There, he took a picture of us for the River Cats twitter account…
Soon, it was on the scoreboard!
The tweets from that account are AMAZING. You may remember the argument that the River Cats had with the Reno Aces during the offseason. Those are the kind of Tweets you can expect on your timeline on a regular basis if you give them a follow.
Soon, my sister and I headed into the dugout for BP on the field.
You may notice that I’m wearing a different hat in the picture above than I was at the start of the entry! Before we signed up for BP, we made a stop by the team store, where I picked up the River Cats new Diamond Era hat. While we were in a team store, I took the opportunity to take a picture of the infamous right handed Barry Zito bobblehead. It looks just like him!
While in the dugout, we explored, sat in some different places, and had a really good time!
First up in the cage was Pascale.
Here is the picture of her that the River Cats posted on their Facebook page.
I love it!
Here is the picture of me…
I’m not a huge fan of that picture, but I’m sharing it with you guys anyway because I love you.
They were using a pitching machine, and I’ll be honest. The pitches were horrible.
See what I’m talking about?
I was going Adrian Beltre on those pitches!
In the end, I made solid contact on all 5 pitches. And that’s what matters, right? Pascale and I both had a great time, and the money went to a good cause. That’s a win-win!
After BP ended, Vanessa took a picture of me, Pascale, and my dad.
It was a great day! Thanks to the River Cats for putting on such a great event! I will be back next year for sure!
Nick Badders is a blogger for MLB.com. He writes the blogs Beyond the Outfield Fence and 7000 Coliseum Way. You can follow him on Twitter @RFNick149 and like him on Facebook. This blog entry was not subject to the approval of Minor League Baseball or its clubs.