I had been looking forward to attending last night’s New York-Penn League All Star Game at Dutchess Stadium in Newburgh, NY, home of the Hudson Valley Renegades, since it was announced about a year ago that the game would be played there.
We have gotten to the point that there are few new baseballs for us to try and get at games, so having an opportunity to get a NYPL All Star Game ball at the second closest NYPL stadium to us was great.
Kate and I got to Dutchess Stadium a little less than an hour before game time. The stadium was virtually full. We wandered around the outside of the stadium for a bit and found a nice regular NYPL ball beyond the RF wall that probably had been hit during BP.
When we got in the stadium, we bought an ASG ball for someone who had planned to be at the game, but couldn’t make it at the last minute. I had not been able to find an image of the ball online before the game, so I was disappointed when I picked the ball up.
Two things in particular jumped out: 1) the writing on the top of the ball in the image above is the same as regular NYPL baseballs: “Official Ball New York Penn League.” Based on the 2013 and 2014 NYPL ASG balls we got, I would have expected it to state: “2016 New York Penn League All Star Game.” 2) I am not a graphic artist, but you can’t create a logo with text so small that it can’t be written. I believe the text reads: “Hudson Valley – 2016 ALL STAR GAME NY-Penn League” but I have to magnify it to read it. Especially if you are not going to include “2016” on the other panel, it needs to be larger in the logo.
Here are 2014 California/Carolina League and NYPL All Star game balls we have gotten:
I’m not a huge fan of the California/Carolina League logo — the logo is too light and some of the text too small — but at least it includes “2014” on the top panel. I like the logo on the 2014 NYPL ASG ball, especially the bold letters/numbers for the date.
The 2013 NYPL ASG ball logo is even better: nice and bold.
So why they changed the wording on the top panel of this year’s ball, I don’t know.
To be fair, at least the NYPL and Renegades had an ASG ball. There was no ASG ball for the Eastern League’s 2013 classic in New Britain. I was told that at least in the Eastern League, the decision about whether or not to have an ASG ball is made by the host team.
Back to the game. For the first eight innings, we came up empty in our effort to score a 2016 NYPL ASG ball. There were a few opportunities, but I just never ended up in the right place at the right time.
That abruptly changed in the top of the 9th inning. Kate and I were standing in the walkway down the third baseline when lefty Elier Rodriguez of the State College Spikes lined one into a rock garden/fountain area in front of us. The ball ended up in the water, and an usher quickly fished it out. Kate was the nearest kid so I asked the usher if she could have the ball and he put it in her glove. It was just in time because a few kids swarmed the spot seconds later.
The logo is smudged a bit, but at that point in the game, just to get a ball was awesome. I have also heard that they sometimes run out of ASG balls during the game and use regular league balls, so we were fortunate on that front, too.
Kate tried unsuccessfully to get a toss-up after the game. I tried to get the home team’s lineup card, but both an assistant coach and manager separately told me they didn’t use a lineup card for the game. With all the player to get into the game, I would’ve thought a lineup card would have been even more necessary than usual, but so it goes.
Next year’s NYPL ASG game will hosted by the Tri-City team in Albany, NY. Hopefully we will have a chance to try for our fourth NYPL ASG ball in five years!