Pasadena’s all-American July 4 festivities just got pumped up further with baseball blocks from the Rose Bowl.
Monday, the Arroyo Seco Saints, Pasadena’s own California Collegiate League team, will host the Orange County Riptide as part of Pasadena’s AmericaFest celebration.
The game will be at the Jackie Robinson Stadium, home of the Saints since 2004, located just south of the Rose Bowl.
Best of all, the game is free for everyone to watch, and when the game is over, the gates will be opened so those in the audience can sit on the grass in the outfield and watch the fireworks from there.
Aaron Milam, the Arroyo Seco Saints’ founder and general manager, said this was added spectacle to the local 4th of July celebration was decided on about two weeks ago after a series of discussions with Pasadena City Councilmember Felicia Williams and incoming Rose Bowl Operating Company CEO Jens Weiden.
“This baseball game that’s going to be part of AmericaFest is [the result of] myself, Councilmember Felicia Williams, and Jens Weiden all coming up with a synergetic idea to partner this with AmericaFest and advance the Councilmember’s initiative to bring in community events as part of the ancillary events of the Rose Bowl,” Milam said.
Williams will throw the first pitch of the game.
After the decision was made to go ahead with the 4th of July baseball game, Milam and his team – he’s not only General Manager, he’s also head coach of the Arroyo Seco Saints – consulted with the City on how the Jackie Robinson Stadium had to be prepped up for the game and what facilities needed to be improved, and began talks with possible food and beverage vendors and other suppliers.
The team had planned to announce the game in May, but had to postpone until every small detail related to preparations had been ironed out. While FanFest at the Rose Bowl opens at 2 p.m. on Monday, first pitch in the game between the Saints and OC Riptide at Jackie Robinson Field is at 5:05 p.m.
“So, what a really good tie there, right? You have AmericaFest and you have America’s pastime going on at the same time,” Milam said. “They’ll have AmericaFest going on in the south end of the Bowl, you cross through that crosswalk there on Seco street, you walk into the H there (parking lot H) on the third side of the stadium and there’s a baseball game going.”
The game would also be another opportunity for the public who can’t buy a ticket for the Rose Bowl and watch the fireworks to catch a free game and learn more about the team, Milam added.
Milam said he’s glad about the opportunity to have the Arroyo Seco Saints play as part of AmericaFest, and showcase the team for all of Pasadena’s own population to see. The exposure, he admits, would certainly help the non-profit team’s efforts to achieve a level of sustainability that would enable the organization to continue taking in college-age players and giving them an opportunity to prepare themselves for bigger challenges.
More than 25 Saints players have been drafted into Major League Baseball franchises since its first season, according to the team’s history on its website. In 2015 alone, seven alumni were selected by professional organizations during the three-day MLB First-Year Player Draft. Four alumni were chosen in the 2016 draft.
Apart from baseball itself, the Arroyo Seco Saints organization also offers an internship program where anywhere from 15 to 30 interns per year get college credits by being exposed to all aspects of sports-related work. The group runs this program through another non-profit, the Arroyo Seco Digital Communications Student Development Organization.
“The kids get college units for coming and working for the baseball team for the summer,” Milam said. “They do everything from operations to journalism to broadcasting, sports broadcasting, to tech support, to field ops. I’ve got two grad students who are in the dugout with us as grad assistants, and one of them, a University of San Francisco student, is getting college credit for it. The intern program has become as big as the baseball program.”
Milam has been a Commissioner of the Pasadena Recreation and Parks Commission, and currently sits on the Board of the Rose Bowl Operating Company as well. He looks forward to cooperating further with the City of Pasadena and the RBOC for the Arroyo Seco Saints to be able to get more exposure and continue their programs for Pasadena’s youth.
“The team, I think, is one of the best teams that we’ve had in recent years,” Milam said. “And I think that we’re going to hit our stride here pretty soon. And I look forward to a successful season.”
For Monday’s free baseball game, fans are advised to register to avoid overcrowding. Jackie Robinson Stadium has a seating capacity of 2,800.
Ice cold beer, tasty food, and Saints merchandise will be available for purchase. Fans will also have a chance to win a team-signed special edition July 4th Saints jersey by participating in in-game contests.
For more information, visit www.arroyosecosaints.com or call (626) 840-5367.