While the Detroit Tigers were beating the New York Yankees 6-5, I was down in Norwich, CT watching the Connecticut Tigers top the Staten Island Yankees 5-2 in NY Penn League action. Traveling from northern , MA to Connecticut during rush hour is generally not an easy task, so I was very pleased at how easy the trip was. There was very little traffic and it took me an hour and 45 minutes which is how long it's supposed to take. The strangest part of the journey was that the stadium is built in the middle of a huge industrial park, so it took a while to get from the entrance of the park to the stadium. You would never know you were approaching a baseball park if it weren't for the signs.
As you may be able to tell from the above photo, it's a pretty standard minor league park. I like minor league parks so that is a good thing. I was happy that they did not overdo the music and between innings entertainment as they do in LeLacheur Park in Lowell, MA and some other places. As is generally the case at minor league games, the price was right - ten dollars for a front row seat and three dollar parking. The food was especially cheap as it was one dollar hot dog night at the stadium. Hot dogs are not good for my stomach, but it's a baseball game so I had to get my one-dollar dog, I only had one though.
I got a chance to see 18-year-old Venezuelan outfielder Danry Vasquez for the first time and was impressed. He jumps out as being a good player even if you're not looking for it. I've heard mixed reviews about his fielding, but he looked smooth on the plays I saw and threw a bullet to second base to turn a fly out into a double play. He can hit, but he is very skinny for his height (six-foot-three, 165-pounds) so he'll need to fill in a bit in order to hit for power. He seems very energetic and alert, which is not the impression I get from every highly touted young prospect.
Vasquez has a long way to go before he reaches even the high minors. He struggled at low A West Michigan early in the year batting just .162 in 29 games. However, he has done well at Connecticut posting a .323/.353/.413 line entering tonight's game. He has just 16 walks in a little more than 300 plate appearances for the season, so he could stand to improve his patience. On the positive side, he has struck out 48 times, which is not a high total for his age. He'll be an interesting player to watch.
Danry Vasquez batting for Connecticut Tigers (photo credit: Lee Panas)