Proof that I cannot work the internets correctly: I bought tickets to last night’s Mudcats game, cheerfully thinking that they were to a Mudcats game against the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx — not, you know, the Jacksonville Suns, who take the obvious abbreviation JAX on the Southern League schedules.
Luckily the Diamond Jaxx are here later in the month, and we like baseball regardless, so out to Zebulon we went. It was hot and sticky and full of bugs, but it was also a really good time. I’d never been to see the NC’s only Double-A team before, and they have a tiny little adorable park set smack down in the middle of nowhere — fields on all sides as far as the eye can see. Not a bad seat in the house, either.
Minor league parks seem to be making the move to having unique or unusual food or drink items on their menu (Ballpark Biz talks about this some and I love those posts); at Five County Stadium, you can get a fried catfish sandwich, and the best beer option I found was Duck-Rabbit’s amber ale, which is a genuinely local-to-the-area craft beer. Two thumbs up for that. Food + drink seemed a hair pricey for a Double A stadium — Kinston Indians, we salute you and your three dollar Yuenglings (and your five dollar bleacher tickets)! — but in all likelihood, the Mudcats have a captive audience and can charge their prices without feeling bad.
I expected the drive to be a little longer or more annoying, but it’s actually a reasonably straight shot from the CH to Zebulon, all on highways; I wouldn’t make the drive regularly, even when ex-Tar Heel and current Reds minor leaguer Mark Fleury jumps up to AA ball, simply because we have other options much closer and much cheaper (Mudcats tickets are more expensive than Bulls tickets), but we’ll definitely be back.
I was pleased with how my shots turned out, too, considering that I was shooting through a net. The netting is close enough to the seating bowl that you can pretty much ignore it, except for some occasional texture in the foreground, and that was a nice surprise. While nets serve an excellent purpose (not being hit in the face by a foul ball), sometimes they bug me when it comes to shooting; they can make focusing hard. But the Mudcats’ seating bowl is only a few feet behind the net, instead of many feet, so it worked out. Awesome!
And as a bonus, behind the jump, a picture of Andrew Miller, who played at Carolina from 2004 to 2006, standing around during the National Anthem, looking awkward and skinny and adorable and also very, very tall.