It’s spring time, which means two things in my life: the start of baseball season and the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. This year I got to combine the two for my trip to Los Angeles, Calif.
After booking my flight to arrive the day before the conference so I could visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, I decided to attend a Rancho Cucamonga Quakes game.
A week before my trip, I saw that the Quakes were running a promotion on their Facebook fan page that would allow the winner to throw out a ceremonial first pitch as the Social Media Monday winner. I posted many times, but I think that my last post probably clinched the win.
“I’ve got tickets for April 9, but I’ve never seen a California League game before. My students at Oklahoma State University want to see me get a photo with Tremor, but I’d like to one-up them by getting a picture of me throwing out the first pitch!” – the winning entry
|I didn’t deliver a strike, but I’m happy with my pitch.|
I also got a photo with Robbie Garvey, who picked the ball out of the dirt.
|Me with Robbie Garvey and the ball he dug out of the dirt.|
Three recreational softball fields flank LoanMart Field, which had been The Epicenter until just a few days before the Quakes’ season opener. With the stadium changing names just before the start of the season there was not a lot of signage celebrating the new name, but I did not find any signage for the old stadium name either. Palm tree flank the main entrance, but nothing screams for the spectator’s attention.
|Main entrance to LoanMart Field.|
I had great seats in the fifth row behind home plate, so I was able to snag this amazing photo of the action.
It was not easy selecting a unique food item to enjoy at the stadium because the only unique encased meat was a Dodger Dog. While talking with the concessions staff I stumbled upon a uniquely California item: a tri-tip sandwich. Tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin that is typically served as a roast, but in my case was shredded onto a bun and served with barbecue sauce. It was delicious, although somewhat fatty. I washed the sandwich down with a local craft brew from Hangar 24. The only choice at the stadium was the Orange Wheat, which blended perfectly with the tri-tip and had a fantastic zest of its own.
|Shredded tri-tip sandwich with barbecue sauce.|
Maybe it’s the geographer in me, but it was really awesome to see the fault lines in the jersey numbers of the Quakes players and staff. I know the team tries to push the boundaries with its logo choices and I appreciate that the club plays up its name in almost every way possible.
|Quakes batting coach Jay Washington (#15) with Angelo Songco (#22) following what turned out to be the game-winning hit.|
I never planned to make it a habit of getting my photograph with team mascots, but I feel like it’s become expected of me considering that students asked if I was going to get a photo with the mascot before going on my trip to California. So here’s my obligatory photo with Tremor, the mascot for the Quakes.
|Me with Tremor after I threw out the first pitch.|
Overall, I had a great time at LoanMart Field with the Quakes. The customer service was excellent from purchasing tickets over the phone to winning Social Media Monday to throwing out a ceremonial first pitch to receiving some Quakes cash to eating a delicious sandwich and drinking a thirst-quenching beer to watching an entertaining mascot dance on top of the dugout to leaving the stadium following a 1-0 win for the home team over the Modesto Nuts.
|LoanMart Field scoreboard after the home team’s victory.|