Villainy in West Michigan

West Michigan Whitecaps vs. Lansing Lugnuts (Midwest League)

28348988844_ee2ce811af_zFifth Third Ballpark-Comstock Park, MI:  Back in the mitt to visit friends and family before school starts, we were lucky enough to take in a Whitecaps game.  The ‘Caps were hosting another one of our Michigan teams, the Lansing Lugnuts.  It was Super Villain Night at Fifth Third Ballpark, and Brian was able to meet some of these dastardly scoundrels that give our heroes so many fits.  Above, he’s with Harley Quinn, Crossbones, the Winter Soldier (who I really don’t consider a villain, he was brain-washed after all, and Bucky is really a good guy), and Poison Ivy.  Below, he is hanging out with Batman nemesis The Penguin, and Spider-Man foil, The Lizard.

'You don't really think you'll win, do you?'
‘You don’t really think you’ll win, do you?’
Bri with Dr. Curt Connors, AKA The Lizard
Bri with Dr. Curt Connors, AKA The Lizard

We were also able to catch up with Crash the River Rascal, and it was good to see him again!  He also gave Bri a t-shirt.

It was good to see Crash again!
It was good to see Crash again!

We seemed to pick another great day to be at the ballpark, and to see some free baseball.  The Whitecaps and Lugnuts would finish a tied game suspended the night before, with the ‘Nut winning this one 5-3 in the 12th inning.  The scheduled game would go into extras, also.  West Michigan tied the game at one in the second inning, when Will Allen scored on a Jose Azocar double, after hitting one of his own.  Azocar would plate another RBI in the fifth inning, scoring Brett Pirtle on a ground out.  Both team would load the bases in the 11th, but came away with nothing.  The ‘Caps would have better luck in the 12th, however, as Arvicent Perez earned the walk-off RBI with a bases-loaded hit.

28905947762_5240e05ea7_z28393932693_852989bd61_z29011003465_85043e3968_zOn the mound, Trent Szkutnik started the game giving up just the two runs.  The bullpen came through also, with Drew Smith, Zac Houston, and Toller Boardman combining for six no-hit innings and 11 strikeouts.  FINAL in 12:  Whitecaps 3, Lugnuts 2.

28348996564_9a02112eda_z28348998354_9eff642497_z28905904792_751690cc9c_zAnother fun game, and it’s always good to be back home.  Especially seeing a game with Brian and his Papa (and even getting photo bombed by the Whitecaps staff…).  With the minor league season rapidly winding down, we will definitely try to catch at least one more game in Kentucky. Here’s a video for y’all.

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

The San Diego Chicken

Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)

28745350901_2755c1ec51_zLouisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  I know nobody is reading this post  because they care about the game, or to look at my game photos, so I’ll mostly just show the greatest mascot of all time, the Famous San Diego Chicken.  That being said, it was another hot and sunny day here in the ‘Ville, so we bought seats up in the shaded portion of the stadium.  As we were in the shade, though, and it being so sunny, I didn’t even get the field to show up in our selfie below (but you can see that Brian did have his Chicken and Buddy plushies ready for action).  I did get a good shot of the field once the game started, though.

28784291546_8dee1e982d_z28198549314_a9146c4004_zOk, more of the Famous Chicken!  He puts on a fantastic show, and if you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing him perform, I highly recommend it.  He’s had many years to perfect his craft, and does some of the greatest skits I’ve seen at the ballpark.  Some of them have the umpires and players involved, also, and it’s so much fun.  I think the fact that Ted Giannoulas has played the one and only Chicken since 1979, adds to the aura of one of the first, and the greatest, mascot in history.  Every time he’s on the field, he has the fans attention at all times.  You just never know what this guy will do next.

28791798736_467ecf5256_z28538867970_7990410cb7_z28746488191_40b010c0a5_z28821990775_66ed90e6e8_zOk, there was a ballgame going on through all this, so I will give a short re-cap.  It was a pitchers duel for sure, but we did see some great defensive plays throughout the game, also.  The Bats took a 1-0 lead in the third, when Jose Peraza base hit scored Juan Perez.  Unfortunately in the eighth inning, Peraza’s throwing error allowed the Clippers to tie the game. On the hill for Louisville, right-hander Tim Adleman pitched seven innings, allowing six hits and striking out a season high eight batters.  Into the 10th inning, Kyle Waldrop made one of those amazing defensive plays when he slammed himself into the wall making an amazing catch with two-outs to save the game.  Also in the 10th, Peraza would find himself up to bat once again, and he atoned for his error with an infield base hit to score Perez for the walk-off win.  J.J. Hoover earned the victory only giving up one hit and striking out two.  FINAL in 10:  Bats 2, Clippers 1.

28718366442_7aeda3a570_z28208686973_f60abe7459_z28746746841_950261ca73_zEven with the Chicken in the house, we still have much love for Buddy Bat!

Brian and Buddy Bat
Brian and Buddy Bat

And the Chicken was awesome, he met with his fans and signed autographs for free! I got Brian a photo to have signed, and the Chicken even signed his plushie. As most mascots seem to be mute, the Chicken was more than happy to chat with his fans.  I told him that I was a big fan, as I used to watch The Baseball Bunch every Saturday morning as a kid.  He was great with Brian, and we got a couple of nice photos with him.  A great day, a great ballgame, and another reason to feel blessed and lucky.

28784300446_6fe06ef8b2_zHere are a couple of videos of the Famous San Diego Chicken and his antics.  Brian filmed the first part of this one, but he did his best:

Another short one:

Videos and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Bats & Birthdays Vol. 2

Louisville Bats vs. Indianapolis Indians (International League)

27801254214_5992093a01_zLouisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:   The second part of our birthday adventure took us to the Bats game, as they hosted the rival Indians. Hey, if it’s my birthday, then why is Brian the one who gets to meet Buddy Bat and ride the merry-go-round??!

27765287083_901f35e03e_z28098563010_2e3e82c07a_zIt was another hot one, in the mid-nineties, as we settled in under the sun.  In all honesty, we only lasted there for a couple of innings before finding some seats in the shade.

28302203421_357a0caf25_z28135372170_9d648cba54_z27801230434_89214594ca_zThe Bats have been playing good ball lately, and this was another solid game for the home team. Louisville was lead offensively by Hernan Iribarren, who went 2-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.  Also having a good day at the dish was Donald Lutz, who contributed and  RBI going 2-4.  Jermaine Curtis and Jesse Winkler each went 1-3 with an RBI and run scored, respectively.

28385224396_d0b986b162_z27801248374_9d6f84a23f_k28385184626_4c34c41555_zOn the bump, Robert Stephenson each the victory for the Bats.  He pitched six innings, only giving up two hits, while striking out four and walking five. J.J. Hoover ended up earning the save.  FINAL: Bats 6, Indians 4.

28380964015_0cec6400db_z28385171586_8e5fd8924b_z28385175466_3f9ff0c4d0_zA fun game, despite the heat, and an all around good birthday.  I always feel very blessed and lucky to be able to have these experiences with my kids.  It was a long day for all of us, especially in the sun, but we all had a great time.  We hope to be back at Louisville Slugger Field next month when the famous Chicken will be here entertaining the crowd! Until then, here’s a little game video:

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Bats & Birthdays Vol. 1

28298497151_560718372a_zLouisville Slugger Museum & Factory-Louisville, KY:  While the Louisville Slugger Museum was celebrating its 20th birthday, I was celebrating one of my own.  It seemed like a perfect fit for both of us to celebrate together, so the boys and I made a trip to the city for a day of baseball fun.

28377280755_57ce53e0a7_zWe arrived, and got into the factory tour right away.  They don’t allow any photography during the factory portion, but it was interesting seeing how the bats were made.  Trevor and I had been here before way back in 2009, but it was still fun for him to see it all again, and understand it now that he’s a bit older.  And of course Brian ate it all up, and loved seeing the whole bat-making process.

27760721824_0a1fc8fc0f_zAfter the tour, we checked out the permanent exhibits at the museum.  There are many relics and bats from the all-time greats of this sport!  Below, Brian looks good with Hank Aaron’s bat, and he’s grown up with stories of ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson, so he was a little in ‘awe’ of ‘Black Betsy’.

28377286595_d9601e8373_z27760724344_1ffb819fff_zHere’s Trevor with the Sultan of Swat himself, along with Babe’s best bat ‘Darlin” below that.  I still have a great pic of the two when Trevor could barely see over the bat stand!

Trevor and the Babe
Trevor and the Babe

27760727814_dfda11ff0a_z

As a Tiger fan, I don’t think the Justin Upton signing was a great deal, but I do love his flame-tempered bat!  And below that, the third bat down was used by the greatest Tiger of them all, one of the best hitters in history, Ty Cobb.

28094772180_aa59da16d5_z27760726114_f728545ee8_zAnd now Bri is hanging out on this big glove…

27760731774_c7d1cfc393_zNext we hit the cage!  Brian did his best Hammerin’ Hank impression.

28343911776_8c85d1c127_z28298567271_fb154117c7_zThen I tried to do a little laser show myself…

27761611293_864ea45ee2_zNext we checked out the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Oddball exhibit, which is here in Louisville temporarily.  It contains some cool stuff, but not everything in it pertains to baseball.  The photos are of Yankee Stadium made of toothpicks, and a real ‘double-header’, a two-headed calf.  I highly recommend this factory tour and museum for any baseball fan in the area.  It’s definitely worth going out of your way for, also, as it’s one of the best baseball places I’ve been to, second only maybe to the actual Hall of Fame.  The history of the company is so rich, especially all of the great players who have swung Louisville lumber.  I’m glad the museum and I could celebrate our birthdays together!

28094852760_59e6998634_z28343978766_d7ca6542e6_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

The 2016 Y’All Star Game

East vs. West (Frontier League)

28277767426_e810d1d057_zUC Health Stadium-Florence, KY:  This week was the annual All-Star Game for the Frontier League, nicely dubbed Y’All-Star Game this season due to it being held down here in Kentucky.  This was our first game in Florence, and in my opinion,  they have a nice little stadium.

27681173034_25483d365b_zWhen we entered, we were met with a barrage of mascots!  We got to meet Big L from the Lexington Legends (South Atlantic League), Wild Thing from Washington (Frontier League), and, of course the lovely Rosie Red from Cincinnati!

Big L-Lexington Legends
Big L-Lexington Legends
Wild Thing-Washington Wild Things
Wild Thing-Washington Wild Things
My dream girl, Rosie Red!
My dream girl, Rosie Red!

We had great seats in the front row, and I’m glad we didn’t sit behind the dugouts.  It’s my pet-peeve, and really the only negative about this ballpark is that the netting wraps all around the ends of each dugout, which doesn’t give a great view of the game.

28277781206_c475fe2255_z28030338370_7618519a31_zThe Y’All-Star Game also had some guests, with Jake the Diamond Dog being the first.  Other than being just a cute dog, he could fetch bats, balls, and brought the umps some water.

28277758106_d023ca61d3_zIt started out as a pretty hot day, but as the game started we got a little cloud cover and a breeze that made it a perfect night for baseball.  I tried to get some better photos while we still had sun-light, though.

28277745306_a993ddbede_z27696168043_694c37384a_z28277724716_cce37fcc22_zAnd here is the second special act of the night, Myron Noodleman, who was absolutely hilarious!

28207783802_8ec3dbff41_zHere is a video of him:

And this is Y’All Star, the Florence Freedom mascot for this season.  I think their mascot is usually an eagle, but he wasn’t present at this game.  Maybe they’ll bring him back next season.  Y’All Star is based on the famous water tower by the Florence Mall:

28311978285_332a4f27ae_zHere is Andrew Godbold, the Frontier League’s home run derby champion from the night before, and a member of the Freedom:

27695596814_3aeb7c7101_zIn the game that was going on, the East was actually winning 3-1 for most of the game, until the West hit their stride in the seventh inning. Here’s a quick video I did before the wheels fell off for the East.

But before I get to that, lets insert a selfie of Trevor and I.  Like I said, we had really good seats:

28263356446_3d18302682_zIt was a huge inning for the West, as they scored seven in the seventh, with help from the Evansville Otter’s Nik Balog who hit a three-run blast to put his team in the lead.

28233196351_d976c1c3b1_z28233192491_a886212260_z28277714336_b1035c1f96_z28263358346_bb6b75df46_zWe also got to see Scott Patterson, from our old team up in Michigan, the Traverse City Beach Bums:

28233173071_1deb9db466_zThe West added on a couple of more runs, and the East just couldn’t get back into it. Sorry I don’t have more names and stats for the game listed, but if you’re interested you can read the full review from the Frontier League’s website HERE.  Below, the West celebrates their Y’All Star Game victory! FINAL: West 11, East 4.

28263359746_e14fc38fb5_zAnd here is Balog receiving his Y’All Star MVP trophy:

28218713531_75a90ce590_zThis was simply a fun night, and I really enjoyed the show the Frontier League put on.  They really didn’t have anything exciting going on before the game, but they did make it into a three-day event.  I could only get this night off work, so we missed out on the softball game vs. the Chicago Bandits and the home run derby the nights before.  We’re definitely planning another trip to Florence for a game.  I’ll leave you with a video of part of the fireworks show that I shot on our way to the car:

Videos and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome

Lucky number seven! It was seven years ago tonight that I was sitting at work on the midnight shift, not enough to do, and came across the MLBlogs network. I thought it would be fun to start my own blog, and keep track of some of the fun baseball things that the kids and I were doing at the time. There were some really nice people that welcomed me to the MLB ‘blogsphere’ and made me want to keep this hobby going. I’ve seen a lot of blogs and baseball fans come and go over this time, too many to mention, and for that I might have to write an entry all it’s own. A lot has changed for us as a family in the last seven years, also, as Brian has grown from a spunky one-year-old to Little Leaguer, and we now live in a much more baseball friendly area. As sort of a birthday present, I decided to change things up a bit and change the theme for M.I.B. I’m still working on it, but would love any feedback. I decided to take a step back from the MLB themes and see how it goes. As this seventh year has been good to us, I look forward to many more. It’s almost scary to think about what the kids and I will be up too in another seven years, but it should be a fun ride! And thank you to anyone who’s stopped by to read a post or two.

Minoring In Baseball

MILB.jpgWelcome to ‘Minoring In Baseball’. On this blog I will be covering mostly the West Michigan Whitecaps and some other of my favorite Minor League Teams. Every year I go on a baseball trip that takes me to wonderful ballparks around the midwest and gives me the opportunity to meet the great fans that frequent those parks every summer. I’ll be starting out by playing some ‘catch up’ on games and events that have already gone down this season.

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14 Forever

Cincinnati Reds vs. San Diego Padres (National League)

27648843650_f9e7ac8140_zGreat American Ballpark-Cincinnati, OH:  What a day for fans of Pete Rose!  And what a weekend, for that matter.  We were lucky enough to be in attendance when the Reds retired Pete Rose’s #14 on Sunday.   It was a hot day, but worth to be in the presence of some of the greatest players in history, including Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, and Barry Larkin.  His induction into the Reds Hall of Fame, and his jersey retirement were a long time coming, so the crowd was pretty hot for Pete, also.  Rose gave a great speech, and was very humble, and thankful to his teammates, manager Sparky Anderson, and especially to the fans.  Here is the video I took of his speech:

Here are some more photos of the ceremony.  The Hit King looks calm and cool as always, even in the 95 degree heat!  I like the one where he’s about to give Bench a good bro-hug!

27648864620_a34646e2d5_z27314306163_6caf9bfb43_z27893142806_9bba8ce28f_z27648924610_4b1f9af768_zAfter the ceremony, the game got underway.  It was a good one for Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani.  He pitched eight scoreless innings, while scattering only five hits, and struck out five.  DeSclafani even knocked in a run to help his own cause!  Closer Tony Cingrani came into the game to close the door, and ensure Cincinnati’s first shut-out of the season.

27893198096_6b056cf29a_z27893204786_ec417fc9ee_zAnother big winner of the day, was Mr. Redlegs during the mascot race:

27315351024_b0948ab816_z27850515111_e91053abdc_z27314425693_79a098a0ac_zThe Reds were led offensively by Jose Peraza, who went 2-4 with a run scored and a stolen base.  Catcher Tucker Barnhart pitched in as well, going 2-3 with a walk and an RBI double.  Jay Bruce also added a solo home run in the win.  FINAL:  Reds 3, Padres 0.

27315319804_2edb36757a_z27314437103_b78a034dbb_z27314433433_c7741676bc_zDespite the heat, it was a fun day at Great American Ballpark.  I’m glad I was there to witness Charlie Hustle’s  jersey retirement, and a rare Reds win.  I was only able to score tix for the upper level to this game, but made sure my buddy and I were in the first row, so I was able to get some decent photos.  On my way home, I went up and down the dial, but just couldn’t find WKRP on the radio…

27309276563_5dca361e79_zVideo and photos property of Minoring In Baseball