By Joe Manny Hernandez @manny_sportss
This week’s Around The Ballparks stadium, is very special, not only did the team travel to the beautiful city of Lake Elsinore, we indulged in the beautiful ball park known as The Diamond, home of the Lake Elsinore Storm, which is the Advanced A- Affiliate of the San Diego Padres. The Lake Elsinore Storm have been affiliated with the San Diego Padres since 2000 and were pervious affiliate with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Padres and the Storm have been in affiliation for over 15 years, which makes them one of the few organization that have held the same A affiliate for such a long period of time. The Lake Elsinore Storm has called The Diamond home since 1994. The park was originally budgeted at 8 million dollars, but quickly escalated to a 22 million dollar stadium, based on multiple additions added by the Padres and the city of Lake Elsinore. This park is considered to be one of the nicest parks in Advanced A level and is used also for community gatherings, graduations and private events.
All Star Game:
Although the team loves to see regular season games, we were fortunate enough to travel to Lake Elsinore to watch the 2016 A Advanced All Star Game. The A Advanced All Star game plays homage to players from the California League and the Carolina League, where only the best for each league get to play for minor league supremacy. The last two seasons the California league edged out the Carolina league but, this year the Carolina league seemed poised to take the crown. Since this was an All Star Game, the day is formatted differently. This review will be more focused on the All Star Game pricing, pre-game festivities and overall culture.
For the past two season California has played host to the All Star Game, last year being held in Rancho Cucamonga, California, home of the Quakes. The All Star Game offers fans the opportunity to see upcoming prospects, not only from the California League but also the Carolina League. These games are special not only for the players but also for the fans.
Parking and Ticket Pricing:
Parking at the All Star Game was great. It was only $5 which is average for a minor league baseball game. This came as a surprise because considering it was a larger event, parking would usually be more around the $10 to $15 range. This was a decision made by the team in order to gather more purchases across the ballpark, rather than just in the parking lot.
Tickets were more than affordable. The Lake Elsinore Storm offered tickets ranging from $9 to $25. Considering this is a minor league ballpark all the seats have an impressive view to the field. The $9 tickets will get you into the ballpark, while the $25 tickets will get you special edition lanyard with the official All Star Game logo on it. Although a pricier ticket, it offers a limited edition feel for the game and the lanyard makes for a great souvenir for any baseball fan.
Although the ticket prices were inexpensive and parking wasn’t a hassle, the true reward was the pre-game festivities. During every All Star Game, Minor League Baseball offers the opportunity to meet the players who are going to participate. This creates a firm relationship with fans and the game of baseball because they feel they are more involved with the game. It creates relationships with the players and the average fan, making the game more interactive.
Another pre-game festivity was the California League Hall of Fame Ceremony, where the team inducted players like Ricky Henderson(Modesto Nuts) , Gary Sheffield(Stockton Ports) and Jose Cruz Jr.(Lancaster JetHawks). This ceremony provided an insight to the history of the California League and to some of the players who have played in pervious All Star Games. Although these pre-game festivities were lengthy the Storm did a good job of keeping the fans engaged and excited for the game.
The All Star Game was a great experience and we highly recommend fans to attend. It offers the opportunity for fans to see the best minor-league players from across the country. Also, the interaction with every player makes it unforgettable for fans. Both players and patrons feel like all-stars. The game ended with the Carolina League taking the crown from the California League 6-4.