|Wilmington Blue Rocks baseball|
Along the way, we stopped off in Wilmington, Delaware which about 70 miles from Baltimore and 30 miles from Philadelphia to see the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Single A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals in the Carolina League. They were hosting the Lynchburg Hillcats which is now the Atlanta Braves' farm team.
It should be noted that this was Dave Block's first ever minor league baseball game that he's seen in person. I'm so happy I was able to make it happen for him. As for Mike Carroll, it was the first time he's seen a Blue Rock game. As for the King and I, we've seen a number of their games over the years. It's hard to believe their celebrating their 20th anniversary this season. It's amazing how time really flies.
Here's a few tidbits of information about these teams from years past. The Blue Rocks have produced major league ballplayers who have passed through Wilmington to reach the big show. They had Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran who have had very successful major league careers. As for Lynchburg, they were the Mets' affiliate in the 1980's. With that being said, Dwight Gooden spent some time there before he got called up to the major leagues.
Nowadays the Blue Rocks are managed by former Met and Tiger catcher Vance Wilson. Vance played for the Mets from 1999-2005 and the Tigers in 2006 & 2007. I was a big fan of Vance when he played for the Mets. He backed up Mike Piazza during his tenure with the team. More importantly, I got to meet him when the Mets played in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2003 outside the stadium at a fan fest. He was such a great guy. I followed him from time to time through the rest of his Met career.
Since he's managing the Blue Rocks now, he was coaching third base. So during the game I walked over to where he was standing and I got his attention between innings so I could say hello. He remembered me. It was great to see him again. Obviously he loves the game and he continues to be a part of it. I'm happy for him. I was wondering what happened to him after he retired. Now I know.
As for the game we saw, the Hillcats wound up beating the Blue Rocks, 3-2. It was a good competitive battle. Thankfully it went fast enough so we could get back to Yankee Stadium in time for the ESPN Sunday night game in the Bronx.
Stay tuned for the wrap up of the ride back and the game experience.
Thank you for reading and following along.