Yesterday, I heard about the heavy flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee affecting the area around Harrisburg, PA. Naturally, my thoughts drifted to baseball and the Harrisburg Senators because I visited the ballpark this summer.
Today, I saw an unbelievable image Tweeted by Senators third baseman Tim Pahuta. The shot was an overhead view of Harrisburg’s Metro Bank Park, where I visited on June 24. You can read about that visit here.
Here’s Pahuta’s image:
As you can see above, the devastation caused by the flooded Susquehanna River is awful. First and foremost, I hope that everyone in the area is OK. Second, I hope the flooding will soon go down and Metro Bank Park can be up and running as soon as is humanly possible.
I placed 10 numbers on Pahuta’s image which I’ve linked to 10 images below. I took the shots below this summer when things in the area were normal.
1. This is the main concourse of the ballpark just after you enter through the main gates. The structure to the left of the #1 includes the team’s offices and team shop. Here’s what it looks like from midway along the concourse, just above the #10:
2. This is the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Cheap Seats section, which I sat in for a couple innings. A fan in this section who catches a home run gets a gift card to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. Just behind this section, you can see the door to the team shop and a concession stand:
3. This number marks one of my favorite spots in Metro Bank Park. The area features bar stools and a bar, and I spent some time in this area, too:
4. Just to the right of #4, you can see the batter’s eye, which is well above field level but appears to have water right to its bottom. I took the photo below from behind the batter’s eye, looking roughly toward #3.
5. Here’s the all-you-can-eat section, which is where I bought my ticket during my visit. As you can see, there are three sections of seating directly under the #5, and the concession stand for this area is just above the #5. The scoreboard is right above it all:
6. This area is another bar stool-style seating area, which is directly above Harrisburg’s bullpen. Below is the pre-game view from directly beneath #6 during my visit:
7. Metro Bank Park’s smoking section is in this area. Just beyond it, is the player and staff parking lot. Here’s what it looked like in June:
8. In this area, the ballpark has a large group area, complete with concession stands, family entertainment and a stage. I took the shot below from under the stadium overhang, looking out toward the #8:
9. One of the neatest features of Metro Bank Park is all the other things you can do on the island. Above, #9 is a series of huts that house features such as kayak rentals, mini-golf and other related activities. The shot below was taken from the roadway and is looking toward the river:
10. Though you can’t tell if they were up at the time of the flood, the whole area around #10 is a kids play area, complete with inflatable rides and other attractions:
The devastation is hard to believe, really. The Senators are in the midst of an Eastern League playoff run right now (playing all their games on the road) and I’m sure they’re doing all they can to bring a championship to Harrisburg.
When I visited the team’s store, I immediately noticed a game-used bat for sale. The name on the barrel? Randy Ruiz.
Jays fans will remember Ruiz, who had a short stint with Toronto in 2009 after a MONSTER Pacific Coast League season with Las Vegas. Through 114 games in the desert, he was hitting .320 with 25 HRs and 106 RBIs. He was called up to Toronto after Alex Rios left on waivers, and continued mashing in the big leagues.
In just 33 games with the Jays, he hit .313 with 10 HRs and 17 RBIs. Seeing minimal playing time the following spring, he asked for, and was granted, his release so that he could sign with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball.
As I eyed the bat, my wife stepped in and bought it for me!
It’s a Marucci, and the first bat of this brand in my collection:
And as you can see below, it’s got his name engraved on the barrel:
The bat shows terrific wear. It’s got a large crack in the handle and a ton of pine tar, as well as tape wrapped around the handle:
In short, it’s awesome. Earlier this summer, I bought a game-used bat from Padres prospect Ryan Skube, as you can read about here. As neat as it is, it’s pretty exciting to add a bat from a guy who once ripped it up for the Jays.