June 5, 2014
This is Not Your Father's Baseball Road Trip
Day Nine: Frisco
Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman, the proprietors of Cespedes Family Barbecue, are taking a baseball road trip and chronicling their travels at Baseball Prospectus. You can find the series introduction and itinerary here.
Started in: Dallas, TX
As the night sky gave way to the morning sun, Dallas began to wake up, but we didn’t give a crap because we were sleeping in. For the first time on our trip we had the opportunity to sleep past 10, which for two college students is usually standard procedure. After rising from our slumbers we made our way back down to the baseball field of the college campus we were lucky enough to be staying on. My eephus pitch was rusty and, for reasons that we will eventually explain, it needed to be cleaned up.
Once my arm started hurting from all the loopy lobs I tossed inaccurately towards Jordan, we packed up the car and drove toward downtown Dallas. As a history major and a history buff, I was determined to visit Dealey Plaza, the site of JFK’s assassination. Originally we planned to visit the Sixth Floor Museum located in the Book Depository Building from which Lee Harvey Oswald took the fatal shot, but because of time constraints and fiscal stubbornness we decided to roam around the Plaza ourselves instead. After spending some time at the Grassy Knollan Ryan, we were approached by a well-intentioned gentleman with a theory. According to him, the assassination was orchestrated by LBJ and the Cuban Mafia, which means LeBron James was hanging out with Dayan Viciedo or something like that.
By the time the imaginative fellow had concluded his story we were too zoned out in contemplation of Austin Hedges to pay any sort of attention, so we hopped back in the car and continued north toward Frisco. Dr. Pepper park, home of the Frisco RoughRiders, is one of the most unusual and absurd stadiums in Minor League Baseball.
Built in 2003, the stadium looks like someone plopped a baseball diamond in the middle of an enormous beach house. All the buildings inside the park are built separately and are connected by bridges that only add to the beachside feel. The atmosphere is geared toward children, even more so than at most minor league parks. Far and away the best aspect of the park was that THERE WAS DR. PEPPER EVERYWHERE. While the fascinating surroundings had some success in distracting us from the game, we were still able to make a number of inferences about the play on the field. We even had time to do a fun little interview with Rangers prospect Alec Asher.
Asher, a right-handed pitcher, was a fourth-round pick by the Rangers in the 2012 draft. In 2010, the Giants selected him out of high school and agreed to sign him before discovering a bone spur in his throwing elbow and deciding against it. Asher underwent his first and hopefully last Tommy John surgery at the early age of 14. He currently has a 3.64 ERA in 64.1 innings for the RoughRiders.
On whether he’s had more Jimmy John’s than Tommy Johns:
On what led to his Tommy John surgery:
On how hard he was throwing pre-surgery:
On why he decided to have the surgery:
On the tattoo he has over his scar:
On how his Tommy John recovery plan worked while he was still in high school:
On how much he was throwing before the surgery:
On his favorite current video games:
Game Notes, by Jake Mintz
National Anthem: By far the quickest national anthem we’ve ever seen. A group of extremely motivated grade-school children sang our country’s hymn in a record 59 seconds. The vaunted minute mark lay broken at the feet of these brave youngsters as scouts and media members silently rejoiced at the amazing feat they had just witnessed.
Mascot Creepiness: Frisco has two mascots, one male and one female. Both are some sort of anteater thing. With a long red nose and hands that made squeaky noises, the two mascots were easy 8s. I don’t like dropping the elite grades all that often, but this was the top of the scale, folks. Complete and total creepiness.
Purchases: Jordan bought a Frisco hat. I bought a Dr. Pepper. Jordan bought a Dr. Pepper. We then both bought two or three more Dr. Peppers. Today was a good day.
Trip Counter (We’ll be counting some of the things we run into on our travels.)
Whats Next: Tomorrow the road trip group adds another member, as my father will be flying out to Little Rock to join us for the next leg of our journey. We’ll pick my father up at the airport and go straight to the Clinton Library. Then, after a game between Arkansas and Springfield, we’ll make our way west toward Memphis, because who doesn’t love some good BBQ?