Catching Up With the Clippers
After a short All-Star break, the Columbus Clippers kick off the second half of their inaugural season in Huntington Park tonight at 7:05pm with Cleveland Indians former 19-game winner Fausto Carmona on the mound.
I chatted with Clippers Assistant Director of Marketing Ty Debevoise to get his mid-season thoughts on the Clippers new home, the condiment scouting report and memories of The Coop:
Colin Perkins: We’re at the halfway point of the first season at The Hunt (a nickname I’m taking credit for starting even though I’m sure I didn’t). What has been your favorite moment in the new park so far?
Ty Debevoise: Opening Day. Easily my favorite moment. There was so much excitement that day. I have to say that was probably the fastest game day I’ve ever experienced in my career. I just remember feeling so exhausted at the end of the day but will always remember the electricity we all felt as a staff. Working in this business, not too many people get to participate in opening up a new ballpark. That was definitely a thrill for me. To top it off, I got to meet Bob Feller before the game and shake his hand. I was 10 years old all over again.
CP: The stadium has some pretty unique characteristics – the Wendy’s Hamburger Balcony, lawn seating, the bleachers on top of the AEP Power Pavilion, field visibility from outside the stadium along Nationwide Blvd. What is your favorite thing about the park?
TD: My favorite part of the ballpark is the Hall Of Fame Bar & Grill on the second level of the left field building. I’m sort of a baseball history junkie to begin with and that place is loaded with memorabilia, photos, short bios, timelines, etc. The view of the field is phenomenal and from what I hear, the food is really great too. It’s truly a baseball bar…not a sports bar. I don’t know of any other baseball bars in the Central Ohio area.
CP: The affiliation with the Indians is also new this year. Have you heard any of the new players offer thoughts on the city of Columbus?
TD: These guys are loving this place. I haven’t heard any exact quotes from the guys but from what I hear, they’re really loving the city. I know most of the players (not just ours) around the league look forward to coming to Columbus because there’s a lot more to do here. The Arena District is a perfect example. Other cities in our league don’t exactly have the same night life that Columbus offers.
CP: I attended the Red, White & Boom celebration at Huntington Park. At the end of the night everybody was allowed to go down on the field. It amazed me to see how excited grown-ups were to just walk on the field, touch the infield dirt, jump against the outfield wall. Do you still find yourself being caught up in the magic of working in baseball?
TD: I try to never take this job and being around baseball for granted. However, 72 home games is a lot! I still get excited when I look out onto the field but sometimes I forget how big of a deal it is to other people until I see their face. For some reason, baseball has something that the other major sports don’t. We seem to get transported to the time when we were kids when we’re at the ballpark. I’ve seen grown men argue at the top of their lungs over stats of their favorite players and who was better. Almost like a “my dad can beat up your dad” type of argument. Baseball brings out our passions.
CP: Every time I attend a game I wait with bated breath for the hot dog race – and Mustard always breaks my heart. Is Mustard nursing a hamstring injury that the team hasn’t disclosed? Or should we start suspecting relish of juicing?
TD: We’ve had Mustard looked over by our team physician and he can’t seem to find anything significant. A few bumps and bruises from previous races but nothing to put him on the disabled list. He’s looking for a new contract after this season so he better get out there and win a few races. As for Relish’s winning streak…he’s definitely not the most talented runner we’ve ever had. He just hustles. He wants it more than the other two I guess.
CP: Last time I was there I clocked 68 MPH on the Speed Pitch game. Will that get me a tryout?
TD: In a word: No.
CP: Finally, is there anything you particularly miss about Cooper Stadium?
TD: I can honestly say not really. I will say that I miss the abstract idea of Cooper Stadium though, if that makes any sense. I will never forget Cooper Stadium. I love Cooper Stadium. I grew up going to games there as a kid. It was time for a change. That’s all I can say. I don’t mean to sound harsh but I can honestly say I’ve thought of Cooper Stadium only a couple of times since we’ve moved in.