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Slugger Museum LEGO Exhibit

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory-Louisville, KY:  Brian and I started the new year off on a good note, visiting the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory to check out some LEGO action.  The Big Leagues Little Bricks exhibit has been at the museum for the last year, but this is the first chance we’ve had to check it out.  The summer was busy with all sorts or games and activities, and now with Christmas and New Years winding down, it seemed like the perfect time.  The first thing on Brian’s agenda was definitely seeing the LEGOS.  They had full ballparks such as Wrigley Field, Miller Park, and the Great American Ballpark up in Cincinnati on display, as well as some portraits of some players.  Brian was even able to play and make some creations of his own.

Miller Park

After the factory tour (where photos are not allowed), we hung out in the other museum area to see all that was on display there. Since Ken Griffey Jr. is Brian’s favorite player, he wanted to hold his bat and take a few swings.  The museum also had a life-size statue of ‘The Kid’ he got his photo with.

I was happy to hold Lou Whitaker’s bat, since he was one of my heroes growing up when he played for the Detroit Tigers.

This was a fun day for Brian and I to spend together.  I love seeing all of the other bat exhibits and seeing pieces of history.  I really can’t recommend this enough for any baseball fan, and the off-season is a perfect time to check it out and get ready for spring.

All you have to do is look for the big bat…

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

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M.I.B. 2017 Year in Review

In the past, I’ve usually posted a ‘Prime 9’ of my favorite moments of the baseball season.  This year I decided to do something a little different, since Brian showed me how to make little videos on my iPhone.  We did have some very memorable moments, from Brian do some announcing in Bowling Green, to our first games in Nashville and Lexington, local games in Louisville and Cincinnati with Brian and Trevor, and of course Brian’s Little League seasons.  I had to make two videos, as apparently YouTube has a 15 minute maximum length.  Here is part one:

And part two:

Thank you for all who stopped by for our baseball adventures in 2017, and I wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2018.  Happy New Year, y’all!

Videos property of Minoring In Baseball

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Bats Christmas Party

Brian and Buddy Bat

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  It’s the most wonderful time of the year that’s not baseball season, but we were still able to work some into this festive month thanks to the Louisville Bats.  Last week the team held their Christmas Party for season ticket holders, and it was a good time.  They had plenty of sweet treats on hand, like Christmas cookies and hot chocolate.  I really liked the kettle chips and the chocolate cranberry kettle corn. Good stuff.  Brian was then able to make his own ginger bread man cookie at a station the Bats had set up there.  Brian also did well at a throwing game they had set up.  He won two hats and a shirt, so he was really in good spirits.

The highlight was either seeing Buddy Bat again, or, of course, seeing Santa Claus before the big day.  Brian had a long list of Legos, Transformers, and toy cars for St. Nick.  This was a fun night out that kept us both in the Christmas and baseball spirit. Merry Christmas to everyone from my family to yours and God Bless!

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

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UK Father/Son Baseball Camp

University of Kentucky/Nutter Field House-Lexington, KY:  What a weekend this was, the first annual Father/Son Baseball Camp hosted by the Kentucky Wildcats baseball program.  After a small nap Saturday morning, Brian and I made the trek to Lexington.  Upon arriving on campus and heading into the Nutter Field House, we were greeted by Wilcats’ head coach Nick Mingione.  He introduced himself, and let us know where to go to get checked in.  After getting all checked in and playing some catch, coach gave us all a quick run down on the weekend activities before we separated into our groups and got to work.

We started out with some fielding, which went well, then onto throwing.  Brian has always had a bit of trouble with some throwing mechanics, but some of these drills really seemed to help him out.  It’s fun to see the smile on his face when he does well.  Same thing with the hitting drills, as Coach Fanning gave him some pointers and he was hitting off the tee really well.  It was nice to get the camp off to a good start.

Marshall Gei gives shows some hitting fundamentals

 

Coach Fanning working with Brian

After the first set of drills were completed, we broke for some pizza and rest.  Pizza is always a hit with the kids.  When our bellies were full, the fathers and sons were separated into groups.  The coaches talked to us about the family atmosphere of the Kentucky baseball program, as well as the joys and struggles of raising baseball players.  The kids were taken by the players and they wrote us ‘thank you’ letters that I look forward to receiving in the mail.  After a few more drills, we walked over to check out the Wildcats clubhouse.  As you can imagine it was a very nice facility.

When the tour was completed, we spread out our sleeping bags on the turf and tried to get some sleep. Tried being the key word.  I was really tired and drifted off, but since Brian couldn’t sleep at first, he wasn’t about to let me get any shut-eye, either.  We did finally get a little sleep, and woke up to a breakfast of sausage biscuits and donuts, which wasn’t all that bad.  The team provided us with a church service right there in the field house, also, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that just about all of the families attended.

Our group started the morning with a Fathers vs. Sons ballgame.  This was a lot of fun, and it felt good to hit and play the field like I was a kid again, also.  Brian hit the ball well and made some good plays, so he was happy.  No one was keeping score, but I’m sure the Fathers plated a few more runs, at least that’s the story I’m sticking to…  After some wall-ball and base running, we ended the day at the batting cages.  Brian hit the ball well, and it was good to end the camp on a positive note.

Brian hitting in the cage

I’m very grateful to the University of Kentucky, and feel blessed that I could experience this weekend with Brian.  He did have fun, and I hope he looks back on this experience one day as a positive one.  Camps like this just reinforce that our move to Kentucky was a good one.  Also looking forward to seeing at game here this spring, as Coach Mingione seems to have something really special going on with this program.

Brian with fellow Michigander Brad Schaenzer

Promotion courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

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R.I.P. Myron Noodelman

The Minor League Baseball community lost a staple at the ballparks this week, in entertainer Myron Noodleman.  Born Rick Hader (Noodleman, or course, was a stage name), he lost his battle with an aggressive form of cancer on Wednesday.  He started performing at ballparks in 1994, and in 2004 was christened the fifth ‘clown prince of baseball’.  Trevor and I had the pleasure of seeing him perform last season at the Frontier League Y’All-Star Game in Florence.  His act was amazingly funny, leaving us in tears every time he took the field or interacted with fans in the stands.  A friend of mine told me a couple of years ago, that I had to see him at a ballgame, and I gave the same advice to other baseball fans after seeing his act.  The ability to make people laugh is an extremely powerful gift.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to him, his family, and friends.

Video and photo property of Minoring In Baseball

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Movie Night

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  The Louisville Bats had a great idea to wrap up the 2017 for their fans, hosting a movie night at the ballpark.  Sitting in the stands or laying out on a blanket on the field with a movie up on the video boards is definitely a promotions most fans were excited about.  The only thing that wasn’t exciting, was the movie selection the Bats posted on Facebook that fans could vote on.  I honestly can’t even remember every movie listed, but I voted for the ‘Lego Batman Movie’, while the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was the big winner out of the four.  I was a little confused why no baseball related movie was listed, especially ‘The Sandlot’, which I thought would be a runaway winner as far as family baseball flicks go.  In fact, there was so much outcry to show ‘The Sandlot’ by myself and other fans, the Bats replied on Facebook stating that wasn’t a movie that they had the rights to show.

In all honesty, however, it really didn’t matter what movie they showed.  Brian was able to bring a friend to the event, and we laid some blankets and pillows out to enjoy the show.  For me, I was just happy to be on the field, and was more intrigued by how perfect the grass was than anything else.   I went to buy the kids some popcorn and pop, and was really pleasantly surprised at the great turnout for the event.

The kids also had a chance to play on the park and ride the carousel.

This turned out to be a really fun event, and the movie wasn’t all that bad, I guess, but the kids enjoyed it and that’s what counts.  I think in all there was a lot of positive feedback from the fans, so I’m confident the Bats will hold more of these events. Maybe ‘The Sandlot’ next time, though…. What family baseball movie would you all like to see on the big screen at a ballpark?  Poll is below!

Promotion courtesy of the Louisville Bats

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

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2017 Frontier League Championship

Florence Freedom vs. Schaumburg Boomers (Frontier League)

UC Health Stadium-Florence, KY:  I sat at my desk at work last Friday night, keeping an eye on the score on the computer, hoping the Florence Freedom would pull it off.  Already down two games to none, another loss would mean the series would be over, and the Schaumburg Boomers would be champs of the Frontier League.  Worse for me, it would mean no baseball game to attend the next day.  Lucky for me, and the Freedom, I guess, Florence prevailed in 12 innings to keep the series going. So Saturday night, Brian and I made the trip up to see what could be a championship for the Boomers, or another game for the Freedom.  I was a little shocked to see the game tickets at $20 a piece, even for a championship series.  You’d think the home team would really want the local fan base to fill the park (not a huge crowd for such a big game…).  At least Brian was able to get a photo op with Y’All Star as soon as we entered the stadium.

We sat down the third base side by the Schaumburg dugout, and the Boomers soon became one of Brian’s favorite teams, as I still rooted for the Freedom.   The Boomers took the lead in the second inning, however, on a solo home run. Taylor Oldham tied the game for Florence with an RBI double in the third.  In the fourth inning, Rock Shoulders hit a monster home run to put the Boomers up 2-1, quickly followed by another Schaumburg dinger.  An RBI double put the Boomers up 4-1.  Rock Shoulders is an awesome name.  Like this guy wasn’t destined to be a professional athlete…

About this time we needed a treat, so Brian landed on the Funnel Cake Deluxe.  This was served in a helmet, and consisted of a funnel cake, a crap load of ice cream, whipped cream, sprinkles and Oreo pieces.  It was amazing, and both of us together couldn’t even finish it!

The sixth inning added more runs for Schaumburg.  They hit another home run, and a sacrifice fly scored another to take a commanding 6-1 lead in the game. Florence came back with a two-out run in the bottom of the inning, to cut the lead to 6-2.  Andrew Godbold paced the offence for the Freedom, going 2-3 with a run scored.

Between innings, Brian was supposed to participate in an on-field race, but back out once he learned he would be wearing over-sized underwear… Oh well, at least he did run across the field during the seventh inning stretch.

On the mound for Florence,  Cody Gray got the start and took the loss.  He tossed four innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, while striking out six.  He would be replaced by Tony Vocca, who gave up two runs on two hits in 1.1 innings of work.  Kit Fowler started for the Boomers, pitching three innings and giving up a run.  Michael Wood would earn the win, tossing 4.2 inning, giving up one run  and striking out four.  FINAL:  Freedom 2, Boomers 6.

After the final out, it was time for celebration for the Boomers.  I don’t care what age you are or what level of ball you play, when you win a championship it is a big deal.  Congratulations to Schaumburg, they definitely deserve it.  And congratulations to the Florence Freedom on a great season also.  We’ll be back at UC Health Stadium next season.

And of course they got to pass around the Frontier Cup and hold the Frontier League Championship banner:

As Brian likes to celebrate with winners, I found him out on the field celebrating with the Boomers! A few of the players were nice enough to take a photo with him.

I’ll leave off with a very short video of Brian getting a game ball from his new favorite player Kyle Ruchim of Schaumburg.  This is what makes the sport we love so great…

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

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