The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are the Triple A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, representing the last step before the big leagues for future ballplayers. Tuesday at TicketReturn.com Field, a collection of youngsters experienced a little taste of that big league magic during the Summer Nationals Opening Ceremonies.
One by one, teams took to the field to march around the warning track waving to fans and onlookers as their team logo was proudly displayed on the stadium’s jumbo tron.
“We’ve played Triple Crown tournaments for 10 years,” said William Cane, coach of the Connecticut Heat. “We love the competition, but we also love the events they put on like the one out here today. It gives the kids the chance to have a little fun before the games start tomorrow.”
Once teams were done parading around the field, they could enjoy one of the many amenities that TicketReturn.com Field has to offer. There were bouncy houses in left field, a sand beach in centerfield and there was even food and baseball equipment vendors in the concourse.
On the field, Triple Crown was directing one of its patented skills contests. Players in each division were tested in arm accuracy, trying to through baseballs through a small tire. They were tested in speed running from home plate up the line to first base. Finesse and touch were tested during the bunting challenge. And finally, raw power was exhibited during the bat exit speed challenge.
“Today is a really fun day for us as team,” said Darrell Bear of the Cincinnati Storm. “We get to meet a ton of people from different places of the country and at the end of the day we get to play on the beach.”
For teams like the Storm, the ocean air represented a nice reprieve from their normal land locked topography. For others, South Carolina’s popular vacation destination still provided a nice break.
“I am just excited to be here with my friends and family,” said Collin Ulrich of the Tigers (Jacksonville, FL). “Of course I want to do well but I’m most looking forward to spending time with my family and having fun this week.”
Lurking around the ballpark all afternoon was notable YouTube sensation Domingo Ayala. Domingo was seen helping almost every team warm up for the challenges and providing some words of encouragement.
“I came here specifically to see Domingo,” said Brian Havner who plays for the Hit and Run Highlanders. “Domingo makes baseball fun. A lot of times, people get too serious playing the game and Domingo is a good reminder that baseball can be fun too.”
Doming tried his hand a several of the challenges throughout the day. While multiple competitors scored high marks in each event, especially the arm accuracy challenge, Domingo just could quite find the target.
No matter the reason, opening ceremonies at TicketReturn.com Field let everyone from players, parents and coaches get in a little more fun in the sun before hitting the diamond for tournament play Wednesday morning.