The End of the Mini Tour. After visits to Oracle, San Jose, Sacramento, and Eugene (in that order), my Giants minor league tour concluded tonight in Richmond with a visit to the Flying Squirrels. When my older son secured an internship in Richmond this summer I had an excuse to make a "mandatory" visit to Richmond to take in the AA Giants affiliate and complete the cycle.
Loud and Giantsy Stadium. The "Diamond," as their stadium is simply known, is old, but it has a great atmosphere. Part of it is the acoustics. It gets really loud in there because the sound bounces off the partially enclosed upper deck. Its capacity is similar to Sacramento, and it is nowhere near as nice, but it's much more raucous. Food options are very ballpark plain, but they do a great job in making everything very linked to the Giants. There are various facts about players like Panik, Duggar, Surkamp, and others as you approach the stadium from the parking lot, large paintings of the various rosters of different years around the stadium, features on Squirrels who made it to the big club, and more. San Jose does this too, but Richmond does it even better.
Heliot. Of course, we all want to see how our #3 prospect is doing. He was 0 for 2, but he walked twice, and hit into hard outs the other two times. The strategy was clearly to make him chase, and he seems to be adjusting. I know nothing, but I'm guessing he probably chased a lot in June, and now he's ready to roll again.
Hjelle. I was very excited to see him pitch in person. The combination of height and odd sidearmish release makes him such an intriguing prospect, and some hitters can't pick him up at all. He had some nice strikeouts. Unfortunately, his ball is not that fast and there is not much movement on it, so it seems that many others barrel him up pretty easily. He gave up a lot of hits, a lot of hard hits, and some home runs. That's unlikely to get better in AAA or the Majors. His relatively poor stats are probably not a fluke. I don't think his future is terribly bright. But, again, I know nothing.
The Game. We won on an 8th inning 2 run jack by an older former Rockie 10th round pick from UC Riverside and Livermore, CA named Vince Fernandez. Probably an organizational guy, as they say, but he has fairly steadily moved up the minor league ladder since 2016, and his power numbers are good. He has steadily been in the high 800s in OPS every season, so maybe he's an under the radar prospect after all.
Overall, everyone of our teams is exciting and presents hope for the future. Every organization and stadium basically has their act together. It's a great time to be a Giants fan.