A Minor League Stop In Akron
This was originally posted in July 2007.
On Monday night, I traveled down to Akron to get a glimpse of the team and tour the facility before they broke for the All-Star break. Akron is the Indians Double-A affiliate, and the stadium is located in the heart of the city. The franchise moved from Burlington, Vermont to Canton, Ohio in 1989 and became the Cleveland Indians Double-A franchise, and have been so ever since. In 1997, they moved to Akron and into the new beautiful state-of-the-art stadium called Canal Park.
Canal Park was designed by the same company (Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum) that designed Jacobs Field in Cleveland and Camden Yards in Baltimore. When walking into the park, you certainly get the Jacobs Field and Camden Yards feel, especially Camden Yards. Here is a 360 degree shot of the inside of the stadium from the third base dugout steps:
Video 1: 360 degree view of Canal Park
Here are a few shots inside and outside of the stadium (from the web):
I arrived at the park roughly three hours before gametime, talked to some of the staff, and also a few players while touring the facility. While walking past the clubhouse and through the tunnel to the third base dugout, I took a couple shots of the indoor batting cages:
From there, I ventured through the tunnel under the first base side stands and into the Aeros dugout. Here are a few shots:
I also took a stroll around the field and took a few shots from behind homeplate, first base, the left field line, center field and right field:
From there, I ventured back into the stadium and went up to the press box, and I met several Aeros media staff members, and also the Aeros beat reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal, Stephanie Storm.
Regarding Stephanie, I don't think Indians and Aeros fans know how lucky they are to have her following the team, as not only is she a very good writer/reporter, but she is also a library of knowledge when it comes to minor league baseball. She has been following the beat in the minors for 12 years, and actually has followed teams in Triple-A and Double-A throughout the country for various teams before settling back in her home state of Ohio and following the Aeros now.
Stephanie was a big help in offering up tips and suggestions for covering the players, and even assisted me in my first clubhouse visit post-game in talking to manager Tim Bogar, Michael Aubrey, Brian Barton, and Randy Newsom. I'll be providing some articles on those players soon, but be sure to follow the Aeros in the Akron Beacon Journal with Stephanie's excellent coverage. She has a great rapport with the players, which is key in providing the stories she does. Down the road, when things settle some, she agreed to do an interview, which should be excellent considering her wealth of knowledge on the game and all the stories she has to share.
After about the third inning, I ventured down to the field for some pictures and video of specific players. Here is a video of outfielder Brian Barton at the plate:
Video 1: Brian Barton at the plate
Here are some pictures of Barton in action:
Also, I took some video of several of the top hitting prospects for Akron. They are listed below:
Video 1: First baseman Jordan Brown (Asdrubal Cabrera leading off from first)
Video 2: First baseman Michael Aubrey at the plate
Video 3: Outfielder Ryan Goleski at the plate
Video 4: Outfielder Trevor Crowe at the plate
Video 5: Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera at the plate
Some shots of shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera:
Some shots of first baseman Jordan Brown:
Also, left-hander Shawn Nottingham started the game. He was obtained last year as the player to be named later in the Ben Broussard and Shin-Soo Choo trade with Seattle. Nottingham has enjoyed a homecoming in the Indians organization, as he grew up in the Canton-Akron area and went to school in Massillon, Ohio. Here are a few videos of Nottingham in action:
Video 1: Shawn Nottingham on the hill
Video 2: Shawn Nottingham warming up
Video 3: Shawn Nottingham view from homeplate
I also took a few random shots of players and action on the field. Here are some shots of utlitity player Chris Gimenez:
Some shots of Trevor Crowe and Shawn Nottingham:
Some shots of the Aeros dugout:
Some random pictures of action on the field:
Akron is without a question the crown jewel in the Indians farm system, considering it is easily the most loaded team player-wise this year and practically year-in-and-year-out. Not to mention it is only an hour away from Cleveland and the facility is amazing and beautiful. Thanks to the media relations department, specifically Kevin Alcox, for all the help with the visit.
Today, I head to Eastlake, Ohio to watch the Indians Single-A affiliate Lake County. This is the final of three stops on this leg of my trip around the farm system, as next weekend and the following weekend I will be in Winter Haven getting a glimpse of the rookie-level GCL team. And, in August I will be visiting Kinston and Buffalo to complete my trek through the system.
Also, I have a lot of player interviews to get out, so expect several stories on players coming in the next several days. Be sure to check back often for these stories, as well as Minor Happenings every Thursday where I recap the news and developments in the Indians farm system from the past week.