When I told my mother we were going to Las Vegas, she said, “To enjoy Vegas, you either need a sense of irony or a lack of self-respect.” Conveniently, we fulfilled both of those requirements.
Unlike most tourists in Vegas, we were restricted by our under-21 status and therefore stayed not at the Bellagio, the Luxor, or the MGM Grand, but at the Hampton Inn near the airport. While Jordan had been to Vegas over the winter with his entire family, it was my first ever time in “The City That Never Stops Throwing Its Life Away™.” We woke up, drove down to the strip, parked at the Mirage, and decided to tackle the madness on foot. For me, an ADHD-ridden 19-year old, the entire thing was maximum sensory overload. Every building was like another shock to the nervous system as I struggled to keep my focus on the road in front of me.
While there is so much I could talk about, I think my favorite part about the entire thing is how shlumpy people dress. For many, the point of going to Vegas is to surround themselves with layer upon layer of luxury. But it seems like most people see this luxury, appreciate this luxury, and then say, “whatever, I’m wearing jorts”. Jordan took full advantage of this and wore his Yangervis Solarte Yankees shirsey to the Wolfgang Puck restaurant we went to for lunch. The only thing more absurd than wearing a Yangervis Solarte Yankees shirsey to a Wolfgang Puck restaurant would be wearing a Willie Bloomquist Diamondbacks shirsey to a Gordon Ramsey restaurant, or maybe a Scott Sizemore A’s shirsey to a Bobby Flay restaurant. I wish I could write about more, but you know what they say: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…and goes on Baseball Prospectus dot com. –Jake Mintz
Game Notes – Las Vegas 51’s vs. Colorado Springs Sky Sox:
- 23-year-old lefty Steven Matz got the start for Las Vegas. With Noah Syndergaard’s recent promotion, Matz is the premier arm left in the Mets’ minor league system. With his seven scoreless innings last night, Matz lowered his ERA to 1.99, the best in the Pacific Coast League among starters. Matz sat 93-95 MPH with his fastball, and touched 96 about a half-dozen times. While his velocity was impressive, Matz’s curveball is what stood out the most. The 75-77 MPH hook got several swings-and-misses from both righties and lefties. None of the Colorado Springs hitters seemed to have any clue how to square it up, even after seeing it a second and third time. Matz’s one noticeable flaw was his lackluster changeup, which Sky Sox shortstop Yadiel Rivera drilled off the left field wall for a double—the only hard hit ball Matz allowed all game. He didn’t throw it very often, but it certainly appeared to qualify as the classic “third pitch that is lagging behind”. Overall, Matz looks like yet another exciting young arm that Mets fans can expect to see at the big league level sooner rather than later.
- Scooter Gennett made his 6th start in Triple-A for Colorado Springs since being optioned back on May 18th, and had his first hitless game, going 0-4 with three strikeouts. It’s been quite the season for Gennett, who started the season as Milwaukee’s everyday second baseman before hitting .154/.203/.200 in his first 69 plate appearances of the year and getting sent down last week. Gennett dealt with some nagging injuries in late April that put him on the DL for a bit, so it’s possible his injuries have severely hampered his performance. Either way, for a guy that seemed to be cementing himself as a solid-average everyday infielder in 2014, Gennett has had about as bad of a start to a season as a guy can have. Let’s hope he gets it back on track. Baseball will always need more Scooters.
- Former Barbecast guest, and current professional baseball player, Matt Clark started in left field for Colorado Springs. Primarily a first baseman, Clark has played some left in the past, with last night being his first start in the outfield this year. He got a cup of coffee with Milwaukee last September and mashed three majestic dingers, but has spent all of this year thus far traversing some of the best cities the Pacific Coast League has to offer, such as Memphis and Salt Lake City. You know, right on the pacific coast.
- 35-year-old Brooks Conrad got the start at first base and batted 3rd for the 51’s. Triple-A baseball, everybody!
- Around the seventh inning, we were sitting along the aisle down the first base line. Las Vegas was up 7-0. A man was helping his father, who was using a walker, slowly make his way up the aisle steps. As he gradually made his way up the aisle, the elderly father was making amusing quips about how slow he was being. As they passed us, Jake quipped, “You’re still faster than the Sky Sox!” With his back to the field and not a care in the world, the gentleman paused, looked at us, and concurred: “Yeah! Those guys suck!” Easily the best moment of the night. –Jordan Shusterman
-Meals at In-N-Out: 2
-Mexican Food Meals: 4
-Dr. Peppers consumed: Jake – 16/Jordan – 14 (first day w/o a single Dr. Pepper. Withdrawal is real)
-Times we listened to Evergreen by Westlife: 17
On Monday, we went to Bakersfield and it was quite the surreal baseball experience. Tomorrow should prove to be even more out of the ordinary, as we trek back towards Los Angeles and stop in Adelanto, California, home of the High Desert Mavericks. This organization might best be described as barebones. They don’t have a broadcaster, they only have one uniform that they wear both at home and on the road, and, oh yeah, the stadium looks to be in the middle of a desert. While most people would drive right past and carry on back to Los Angeles, we are not most people. That’s why we are planning on spending a significant portion of our day baking in the High Desert sun.
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