EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) -- My first run in with the Chihuahuas' new big-bopper, Jamie Romak, was a passing glance in Peoria, Arizona, while prepping my Padres spring training report.
Someone offered Romak a friendly, "Maybe we'll see you in El Paso." The 31-year-old infielder, still focused on making the parent club - San Diego Padres - commented with a blunt, "Hopefully not."
One can understand what the Canadian's mindset was that first week of April, having just returned to America from a brief stint in Japan with father time ticking, however, Romak's bat would suggest Southwest University Park is a match made in heaven.
Take these numbers with a grain of salt but according to baseball-reference.com, Romak averages a round-trip'er every 21st MiLB at bat since 2011 (excluding 2016 stats in Japan). That averages out to one home run every 6th game.
At Southwest University Park, the numbers become almost comical. In 10 home games Romak has left the yard eight times: one home run for every 4th or 5th AB and almost every game.
"It's early but the batter's eye is a pretty good backdrop whereas other stadiums may not be as good," Chihuahuas Manager Rod Barajas hypothesized. "But also it's warm. You're comfortable, you're loose, you've worked up a sweat and you can just swing."
The Chihuahuas first-baseman does not enjoy the same success away from Texas thus far - just one long-ball in 20 AB's and a pitiful .150 batting average versus the blistering .447 avg. Romak rocks at the SWUP. It should be noted, however, the majority of those road games were played in winter-like conditions at Tacoma.
Ignoring the fact that I am getting way ahead of myself, Romak is on pace to touch-em-all 76 times this year.
"It's too soon to try to figure that stuff out," Romak rolled his eyes appreciatively. He may not be trying to explain it - like a no-hitter, some things are best left unacknowledged - but the 6'2'' 220 lb slugger is finding love at first sight... or swing. "We're spoiled. This is a great place to play. For us new guys, we're really enjoying (El Paso) so far. The atmosphere, the stadium, the way we're taken care of, the clubhouse, this is a first-class set up in Triple-A baseball."