Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Diamond Dawgs invade Gwinnett

Coach Perno's Diamond Dawgs come to Coolray Field tonight to take on Kennesaw State at 7pm. It's the second annual Gwinnett Baseball Classic to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, specifically the Kasyn Cares Fund at the AFLAC Cancer Center. You'll remember that this is where Kasyn Olivadotti was treated for leukemia.


Since this event is in my backyard practically I feel more than obligated to endorse it. Last saw a struggling squad of Diamond Dawgs battle rain and Alabama. In truth the Crimson Tide was ready to call the game off but Coach Perno stuck to his guns. Mather Nature and his team rewarded him for the faith with enough of a window in the rain clouds to get a 6-3 victory. It came on the heels of Jonathan Taylor's injury and helped spark the beginning of an impressive road trip. The Dawgs travelled to LA and beat UCLA, USC and St. Mary's.


This is a great event for an even better cause. Make your way out to see the Dawgs in action. You'll have a great time at Coolray, I promise. What follows is my preview from last year in case you are coming out this way and have never been.


Coolray Field
Parking is plentiful, especially for this event. Unless this game is different, the cost to park is usually just a few bucks. Don't go cheap and park at Publix and walk down the highway.


Tailgating is permitted, but don't expect to do anything similar to a Saturday in the Fall with your grill.


The dimensions are larger than Foley of course. It's 400 feet to dead center and 350 to right. However, it's only 335 to left here so that is a bit shorter than Foley.


All of the tickets are general admission that I've seen, but don't feel like there's a rush to get there real early. There's not a bad seat in the stadium. So just make sure you're there for first pitch.

Local Fare
When you get to Gwinnett, please spend money. Here’s some ways to do so:

Dining
If you’re not planning to chow down on food at the park (where there are plenty of options btw), there’s plenty of dining options for you. You have the standard mall locations just on the other side of I-85 at the Mall of GA (Chili’s, Longhorn’s, Chick-Fil-A, On the Border, etc..). But if you’re looking for something different than those cookie cutter places try Monterrey’s Mexican Restaurant just past Coolray Field in the Publix shopping center. Good food, family friendly and very close to the park. Extra bonus in that you don’t have to deal with mall traffic.

If you are in the mood for Italian, I highly recommend Parma. It’s just past the Mall of GA on the left. It’s small (so look for Five Guys and you’ll be close) and the food is excellent. The parmesan fries are sinful and the menu has everything from delicious entrees to pizza and sandwiches. Another bonus, good selection of beers for a small Italian restaurant.

If you’re a Kennesaw State fan, there’s a decent Burger King across from the mall. When you’re done with your value meal, head north towards Buford until you hit I-985 then take that to Gainesville. The ball park is somewhere around there.


Shopping
If the lady isn't interested in coming out, leave her...at the Mall of GA that is. Plenty of stores inside and outside to keep her busy while you watch some baseball. And the mall parking lot is about 4.67 roided up Barry Bonds deep shots from the third base dugout.


Gas
I doubt it's much cheaper around these parts, but there's a Quik Trip and a RaceTrac just off the interstate. Why risk an empty tank?


Hope it's a good game. And I hope everyone, especially Dawg fans, have a great time. Remember to choose a designated driver if necessary. And if you see a guy in a Chance Veazey cap and wearing red....say Hey! You're the guy with the crappy blog!


Go Dawgs!