Monday, July 17, 2017

Tri-City Dust Devils 6 at Boise Hawks 10 (Northwest League) - July 16, 2017


I originally stopped in Boise on July 1, but immediately thereafter began my 10-day touring trip with almost no baseball, so did not write a recap then. When I rejigged the trip to see the Utah Summer League, I realized that I could revisit Memorial Stadium and do a proper write-up. Note that the pictures are from both games, so you'll notice some differences in the weather conditions.



Memorial Stadium was opened in 1989 and has been home to the Hawks ever since. There are three grandstands that are completely separated structures, making getting around the venue quite easy.



Because the sun sets behind third base, the seats along third and behind home are more expensive, while those along first base, with the sun in your face for most of the game, are cheaper.



At the bottom of each grandstand are box seats ($18 for 3B/HP, $14 for 1B), while those above the walkway are reserved ($14 for 3B/HP, $8 for the benches along first). Prices increase $4 for Feed Your Face Monday, which includes unlimited concessions until the 4th inning. You can see how the sun affects those first base seats...



... while the other two grandstands enjoy a bit of shade.



There's also the Diamond Club, which constitutes the first row around the seating bowl and is $35 any day of the week.



On both occasions, I bought the cheapest seat and moved around. There is a party area for groups down the left field line, right in front of the Hawks bullpen, so you can chat with the players during the game.



The view from this area is similar to that in the photo below.



Along the left field line is The Purple Porch (Boise is Colorado's affiliate), and there are standing areas here that are open to the public. When the sun got a bit too much, I moved over here for a couple of innings.



There is a bar here serving a couple of craft choices, so a good spot to relax before the game too. There is even a mini-scoreboard that is manually updated by a friendly gentleman, who was kept quite busy with high-scoring games both times I attended.



The view isn't great, but you can see all the action. The photo below is taken from the far end of the Porch, which is nearly in the left field corner.



This is the view from high atop first base...



... and home plate. The mountains in the distance are somewhat blocked by the trees, but it is still quite scenic.



In terms of features, just inside the main entrance is a standing triangle with the starting lineups on one side, the standings on another, and team promos on the third side. As you can see, the first game I attended was against Spokane.



The official name of the venue is Bill Campbell Field at Memorial Stadium, and there is a cast of Campbell's face on the back of the home plate grandstand. Campbell contributed to the effort to bring professional baseball to Boise and was team president of the Boise Braves from 1958-62.



The Hawks have won six league titles and a pennant for each flies above the right field fence.



The mascot is Humphrey, a rather frightening-looking hawk, who can be found wandering around high-fiving fans.



The Hawks only became affiliated with the Rockies in 2015 after 14 seasons with the Cubs, but they have embraced their new parent club wholeheartedly, with the Purple Porch, wearing purple jerseys, and with this sign below leading from Boise to Denver.



The scoreboard sits behind the left field fence and has a video board above the linescore.



I don't like selfies but shadow selfies are a different story. Here I am again on a baseball field! Third day in a row. Maybe shadow selfies will catch on.



Near the end of the second game, I was marching up the stairs along first base to snap a picture of the sunset. I heard a crack of the bat and turned to see the ball whiz just behind me. It landed in the seats and I was able to pick it up, thus getting my first Northwest League ball. I have balls from 9 of the 14 minor leagues, so more roadtrips might be in the offing. As for the picture, it turned out pretty well.



Overall, I was really happy to get to experience this stadium a second time. I find sometimes, even with smaller venues, that one visit is too short to get the full experience, but obviously I can't see every minor league venue twice. Memorial Stadium caters to its fan base quite well, and should definitely be on your list of ballparks to visit.

The Game

The Tri-City Dust Devils (San Diego) were visiting and sent Emmanuel Ramirez to the hill to face Ryan Luna (28th, 2016). Ramirez was solid through four shutout innings, supported by a 3-run homer from Bryant Aragon. After giving up an unearned run in the 5th, which the Dust Devils matched in the 6th, the wheels fell off for Ramirez as Boise scored 4 on three singles, two doubles, and another error to take a 5-4 lead. Tri-City tied it in the 7th, but a triple by Bret Boswell (8th, 2017) scored a run, and Sean Bouchard (9th, 2017) followed with a 2-run shot. Boswell added his own 2-run dinger in the 8th for insurance as the Hawks prevailed 10-6.



The first 4 innings took an hour, and the rest of the game took just over 2 hours as the bullpens struggled.  

Notes

As this is Idaho, the mascot race features potatoes: Gem, Fry, and Spud are the three contestants. They actually run from first to third and back, a different take than the usual warning track race.



The beer batter promotion here is also a bit different. If the leadoff batter for the visitors gets out in the top of the 3rd, 12-oz. Coors Banquets are $1 each for 15 minutes at two of the beer stands. Fans congregate there before the third inning starts, and when the batter is out, the lineup forms immediately. Should the batter reach, a second chance is given in the top of the 6th.



Next Up

Games in Idaho Falls and Spokane to finish the trip, and then back to reality in New York. Check back for final recaps later this week.

Best,

Sean

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