Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Couple Nights In Peoria...

When the Cubs announced their re-affiliation with the Peoria Chiefs prior to the 2005 season, I was pumped. I love minor league baseball as well as the Cubs, and given that I only live about an hour from Peoria, I figured I'd go to tons of Chiefs games. I did, probably 20 or so in total last year. With the Chiefs kicking off their 2006 home slate Thursday night, I figured it would be a good chance to head over there and catch a game. I had such a good time, I went again on Saturday night. The following are some notes from the 2 games.

*The Chiefs stadium is really nice, especially for a Low-A team. They've done some nice improvements over the offseason as well.
*It was some really nice weather this weekend. Both games started at 630 PM so we got 3 innings of good sunshine, 3 innings of dusk, and 3 innings under the lights. Perfect if you ask me.
*The Cubbies dont really have any what you would call "Premium" prospects in Peoria right now, unlike last year where Angel Guzman, Eric Patterson, Sean Gallagher, and Ryan Harvey all spent time in town. Our best prospect in Peoria right now is probably Don Veal (Link - He's looked shaky early on this season.
*2005 3rd round pick Mike Billek (Link - started the Thursday game and got roughed up (Link - He only managed to go 4 2/3 before getting pulled. The bullpen didnt fare much better.
*Saturday's starting pitcher was Mitch Atkins (Link - He was a 7th round pick out of HS in 2004. He looked pretty good last night, going 5 innings, allowing 4 hits and posting a 6/1 K/BB rate. He didnt throw all that many pitches before being lifted, so I have to assume he's on a pitch count. He didnt allow a run, but the next guy in, Roberto Sotolongo, did...allowing the 2 runs that led to the Chiefs 2-1 loss. I wasnt impressed at all with the bullpen in either game.
*As far as hitting goes, there's not a whole lot in Peoria. 1B Ryan Norwood (Link - looks impressive at the plate, but didnt have a ton of results while I was there. 2004 3rd round pick Mark Reed ( started Thursday nights game and had a ringing double that had some pop to it, as well as a single on a surprise drag bunt. You read that right, a catcher getting on via the drag bunt. Reed looked pretty good behind the plate as well.
* The CF'er for the Chiefs is a kid named Davy Gregg ( He did misplay a ball on Thursday night, but all in all he looked pretty good in the field. All I've heard of him is that he won't hit enough to advance through the minors, which is probably true, but he has a 6-game hitting streak and looks the part of a ballplayer. He led off last night.

All in all, good times at the Chiefs games, enjoying the atmosphere, soaking up the good weather, and watching baseball. I will be going to quite a few games I imagine and I'll try to do some recaps.