Yesterday I went to my first AAA game at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The Paw Sox took on the Gwinnett Braves and Jason Heyward, who is nearing the end of his rehab assignment. The Boston affiliate won the game, 5-3.
First of all, this game was a great deal. I don’t know what the ticket prices are in other AAA stadiums, but a front row seat there is only $14. The stadium was clean, comfortable, and there wasn’t a bad seat in the house.
I wish Heyward was with the Braves the whole season, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy about getting the chance to see him play again. He had a good game all around and looks ready to come back. He went 2-3 in his four plate appearances, including a 2 RBI single in the seventh to bring Gwinnett back within one run. Heyward even stole a base very easily in the first inning. He looked great in the outfield, too. No Pawtucket baserunner dared to advance when the ball was hit to right field.
Gwinnett left fielder Brandon Boggs hit the only home run of the game. It was a solo shot over the signs in right field, clear out of the stadium. Boggs finished the day 1-4.
Catcher Matt Pagnozzi played great behind the plate. He threw out two baserunners trying to steal second rather easily. It should have been three, because I think the umpire messed up a call when a runner was stealing third. Pagnozzi was one of two Gwinnett players who were hit by a pitch during the game. I thought it was funny that the umpire gave warnings to both benches after Pagnozzi was hit, because it was clearly just an accident. There did not appear to be any bad blood between the two teams, and on at least one occasion there were already two strikes on the batter.
The most impressive thing about this game was the high level of defense. The most notable defensive performance came from Paw Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias. He made some impressive stops and great throws over to first. Every time the ball came his way he made a beautiful play and made it look like he wasn’t even trying.
Even if Gwinnett is not in town I would definitely go back there to see some future pros. The high level of talent at such a reasonable price will surely compel me to go back soon. If there is a AAA team near you, I’d recommend going if you just want to see a good baseball game.