Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Orem Owlz 5 at Ogden Raptors 14 (Pioneer League) - June 27, 2017


Ogden is about 35 miles north of Salt Lake City, making the Orem-SLC-Ogden trifecta a relaxing part of an otherwise taxing trip to the Pacific Northwest. With a full day, I stopped in at the Hill Aerospace Museum and Ogden's Union Station (four museums of its own) for a bit of tourism before heading over to Lindquist Field to see the Ogden Raptors take on the Orem Owlz for the second time in three days.



The ballpark, named for late co-owner John A. Lindquist (whose namesake business is a mortuary but they did not buy the naming rights), is located just a block north of historic 25th Street in downtown Ogden. The main gate is quite unique, with purple panels behind the stadium name on blue squares, and ticket windows just beneath. Oggie, the mascot who looks like he could give The Raptor (Toronto's NBA mascot) a run for his money, is outside to greet fans.



There are two types of ticket here: $12 reserved seats and $6 GA. This team draws amazingly well (averaging 3,450 in 2016) and when I arrived at the box office there were only GA tickets left. I wasn't planning to buy a reserved seat anyway, but was surprised at the support from the community.



Reserved seats stretch all the way from first base around home plate and down to the left field corner. As you can see in the shot below, taken during the game, most seats are actually filled.



There is a single general admission bleacher area at first base, and a small grass area behind the visiting bullpen where kids gather to chase foul balls.



There is also a deck behind left field known as the Tar Pit, but few fans use that.



You will notice that the sun sets behind third base, so sitting on the first base side will leave shading your eyes for much of the early part of the game. I moved around from place to place and found enough empty seats that were in the shade, so it wasn't a problem, but if you are a family of four, you might want to buy tickets in advance.



Much like Orem and Salt Lake City, the mountain backdrop here is spectacular. That's Malan's Peak, and there is a 5-mile hiking trail along it should you have time before the game.



The view from third base with the sun setting behind, leading to some difficult shadows on the field.



The shot below was taken just before the game is to start, as you can tell not only from the umpires standing at home plate, but the shadow has yet to creep into fair territory.



The scoreboard is beyond left field and has a small video board above the linescore.



Once the sun sets, the GA benches are quite nice as there is no protective netting. The seats past the third base dugout also provide a clear view.



The Raptors have been around since 1997 (and were originally based in Calgary from 1977-84), but Ogden has had pro ball before, including a star-studded Dodgers team in 1968. That's Bill Buckner, Tommy Lasorda, Steve Garvey, and Bobby Valentine in the shot below; the setting sun makes a good picture difficult with a phone camera.



There is also a Wall of Fame; Rickey Henderson played here when the Ogden A's were a AAA club in 1979. The A's became the Edmonton Trappers after being purchased by Peter Pocklington, and are now the Round Rock Express.



Current Dodger stars who got their start in Ogden are also featured along the concourse walls.



There is a sculpture atop the concourse wall behind home plate that has 9 players illustrating the various parts of the game. Once again, the sun made a good picture difficult, but I really liked this small touch that few fans will notice.



There are starting lineups, but they were not filled in properly: Orem was blank, and Ogden was incorrect. Thankfully I decided not to keep score on this night.



The high attendance was possibly due to the dollar taco promotion, which meant concession stand lines were long throughout the game, so I never did get around to enjoying the cheap eats. Good craft beer is also available, with 16-oz pours going for $6 and 24-oz for $8. I had to drive after the game, so did not partake in that either.



Overall, Lindquist Field is another beautiful minor league stadium that all ballpark travellers should visit. I am used to these smaller venues having lots of room, so it was a bit disconcerting at first to look for seats, but these are great fans who are fortunate to have a wonderful venue to enjoy the game. The sun can be a problem if you are not prepared, but now that you have read this, you will be prepared. So pay a visit to Ogden and enjoy a Raptors game!

The Game

This was my third time seeing Ogden and they have shown no trouble scoring runs, and that trend continued as they sent 10 men to the plate in the first, scoring 5. Raptors starter Edwin Uceta (below, being watched by former Expo pitching coach Bobby Cuellar) gave up no hits through three but was chased in the fourth as Orem scored 4 to make it interesting.



Ogden doesn't seem to like interesting games though, as they immediately responded with seven in the bottom half, including a grand slam by Luis Paz, to make it 12-4. I basically stopped paying attention around then, as Ogden romped to a 14-5 win. There were 12 total walks and four errors, another typical game for this level, but the game only took 3:07 for 330 pitches, a decent PPM of 1.764.



Notes

Torii Hunter Jr. (below) has just started his pro baseball career with Orem after playing college football at Notre Dame. He went 0-4, but is 7-19 overall in 5 games. It will be interesting to see if he can follow in his father's footsteps.



Before the game, I ran into Benjamin Hill, who writes for milb.com and maintains a blog of his own minor league roadtrips. He is quite well known among ballpark chasers, and we had a nice discussion about his work and current trip. He is doing a reverse of my Pioneer League jaunt, starting in Montana and moving south through Utah. It was great to finally meet him and see how much effort he puts into his job. Yes, he actually gets paid to do this! I'm not jealous.

Next Up

I'm heading to Montana for the Helena Brewers tonight and then Great Falls tomorrow as these two neighbours (90 miles apart) play a home-and-home series. Check back for updates as usual.

Best,

Sean

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