We’re back after a weekend off, and getting right back into some new ballparks! Before we get started, I would like to point out a few things on the website. If you’re new here, check out the posts tab in the menu to see many more blog posts from this season. Also, I was able to add a new feature in the travel map tab. This interactive map shows all of the stadiums I’ve been to this year. If you click on a location that’s marked, I posted the link to the blog post associated with that location also. At this point of the season, I’ll be going to more ballparks with the American Association. There are some uncertain plans coming up in the next few weeks, as I have some time off from work coming up, also. It will depend on the Prospect League Playoffs, and if my name gets drawn in the lottery for the Field Of Dreams Game. August will be a big month for sure! This blog post will be a 2 part post, with all of last weekend’s action in one big post. I do plan on separating the posts by each game in the future, when I upgrade some equipment.
Part 1: Sioux City Explorers Vs Houston Apollos
The first ballpark of the weekend was a new milestone for me, as I now have officially been to every professional stadium in my home state of Iowa. When I was in Kane County, I saw the Explorers play, and saw a very talented team. That was the moment I knew that it’s time to make an almost 6 hour drive across the state of Iowa.
You may notice on the timelapse video this time around that there are a lot of cars/campers with bicycles on them. There’s an event called Ragbrai which is beginning near Sioux City. This week long event is a bicycle ride that goes across the entire state of Iowa, and ends in Clinton.
This weekend was arguably the hottest weekend of the season so far for me. My first thought walking into the ballpark, was that anyone who goes to a game in this heat, is a dedicated fan. The Explorers were playing the Houston Apollos, so I’ve had the opportunity to see both teams already in other stadiums. The Apollos have a unique situation, where they’re playing all of their games on the road, and it’s their first year in the league. Even though their record has a lot of losses, I must say that they’ve improved as a team since I last saw them, and they’re competing close with these other teams in the league.
The Apollos took an early lead in the 1st inning. The Explorers were able to take the lead in the 3rd inning, and never look back. The Apollos were threatening a comeback in the 8th inning, but the Explorers were able to get an insurance run in with some great bunting strategy. They began the inning bunting for a hit, and were able to get the runner to third eventually, thanks to a great sacrifice bunt. It lined everything up for their number 3 hitter to hit in the rbi, who is in 2nd place for league home runs.
This stadium was well maintained, and a great place to catch a game in the area. I also enjoyed the downtown area of Sioux City, which was all within walking distance of my hotel. There’s a Hard Rock Casino in downtown also.
Part 2: Sioux Falls Canaries Vs Lincoln Saltdogs
After a great Saturday night in Sioux City, I got ready for a hot afternoon of baseball. One thing I wasn’t expecting, was the speed limit to go up to 80 mph on the interstate, once I crossed into South Dakota. That’s something I would love to bring back home with me. I was in a different part of South Dakota earlier this year (see previous post,) and I love visiting the state, even if it was close to the state line.
The Bird Cage is a very unique place to catch a game. I love the way it’s designed with different levels, and some different field dimensions in foul territory. This is one of the few stadiums that still has an out of play chalk line, in professional baseball. Like Saturday, there were some very dedicated fans in attendance on Sunday, with it being a hot day game. I have to admit that my GoPro camera was more dedicated than me, because I found a spot with a little shade, and left my GoPro on it’s own in the sun.
The ball was flying out of The Bird Cage, as there were 2 home runs early in the game, and the wind was blowing out of left field. There ended up being a total of 3 home runs in the game, and a combined 11 runs. Both of these teams played very well in the game, and had great rosters. These players are all just a phone call away from at least the AA level. If you’re a baseball fan that loves competitive games, the American Association is 4-4 this year on great games that I’ve attended. There’s nothing I love more than watching great strategy being used in a game.
The Canaries had a 6-2 lead at the end of the 4th inning, and the Saltdogs were never out of the game. They ended up coming back, with the tying run on 2nd base, and no outs. The Canaries had a former MLB pitcher on the mound, and he was able to get the save.
If the schedule lines up, I highly recommend any fan of the American Association, or baseball fan to make a weekend out of going to both of these ballparks. There were some different things I wanted to see while in these cities, but I didn’t have enough time in between. There are some different things to see in both cities though, if you have the extra time. I also highly recommend watching some of the Sioux Falls Canaries highlights, because their broadcaster is one of the best in the entire game with his commentary. He was recently heard on ESPN during the top plays of the week. As always, I’ll share pictures and videos below. Make sure to check out the new interactive map, and the YouTube video with time lapses from the entire weekend! If you’re new here, welcome! I have more blog posts under the “posts” tab, all in order by posting. My Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, YouTube, and other social media platforms are also at the top of the home screen, where I’ll be updating my schedule weekly.