Growing up in St. Petersburg, FL, I always looked forward to spring training. We were home to both the Mets and the Cardinals. Back then, it was a time to shake off the rust, actually get in shape, refine your skills, and come together as a team. From players to managers to umpires, it was a time to get yourself back into the game. Nowadays, everyone is expected to report to camp already in shape and ready to go. Sadly, as a blogger, I didn’t get a spring training. No off season games to keep my skills as an amateur photographer and part time blogger in shape. When I went to Lynchburg, VA to see the Hillcats host the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on April 8th, I quickly realized I had lost a step over the winter. My timing on arriving at the game was late. I found myself being out of position to get the best shots of the in game festivities. Late to get the best on field shots. So I decided that this would be my spring training game. At first I wasn’t going to blog about it, but I realized it was such a nice evening in southern Virginia that I reconsidered. So here’s the report from my spring training game!
Lynchburg baseball history actually dates back to 1886. Lynchburg fielded teams in 1886, 1894-96, and 1906-1912, primarily in the old State League and Class C Virginia Leagues. In fact, they won championships in 1886 and 1906. In 1917, they reformed again as the Lynchburg Shoemakers, playing in the Fair Grounds. Over the years, Lynchburg has played in the Piedmont, South Atlantic, Southern, and Carolina Leagues. They play their home games at Calvin Falwell Field, which opened in 1940 as City Field. It has undergone numerous renovations since then, most recently within the last year. They have really done a great job keeping this stadium up to date!
Great view of the stadium and the kids play area.
It still has that old time feel.
They have a really nice section down the 3rd base side for private events with lots of high top tables!
View of the mountains in the background.
Plenty of Hillcats have made it to the bigs!
Fans and food
All the fans I ran into were very friendly. Both the two legged and the four legged kinds! They have a small dog park along the first base side in the outfield, and I ran into Mobley and Fenway. Always nice to make new friends in the park!
The food was pretty tasty. They do have your standard fare for a ballpark.
But I was looking for something a bit special. I found it at the Muncheez stand. They prepare a fantastic grilled cheese right before your eyes. I opted for the grilled cheese with bacon. Hey, doesn’t bacon go with everything?!?
Later, I went back for a fully loaded sausage. There’s nothing like a ballpark sausage!
Since this was my spring training game, as I mentioned before, I seemed to always be in the wrong position for good shots of the between inning games. The Hillcats didn’t go overboard with the games, which was a good way to start the season. They did have musical chairs, starting with 4 kids and 3 chairs. I think I need one of these chairs at my place to settle in for a game! Maybe the wig too??
Here’s their mascot during the 7th inning stretch wearing the team’s new colors for the season:
Nothing like celebrating your birthday at the park and having everyone sing Happy Birthday!
Plenty of game action in this 6-1 win by the Hillcats!
Loved the high leg kick action by Hillcats starting pitcher Triston McKenzie.
Safe or out? You make the call!
Footrace to first.
Raising the flag for another Hillcats run!
A few more:
To toot my own horn, this is one of the better shots I’ve lucked into, a broken bat!
And I ran into the fan who was lucky enough to get the remains!
Had a great time visiting the Hillcats. It’s an old time park with lots of history, and provides great views. While I was initially disappointed with my efforts, the Hillcats left nothing out on the field in their win. I would go back in a heartbeat!