Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Sunday the Louisville Bats held an Open House for their season ticket holders and guests. It was a chance for us to get away to the ballpark, and enjoy a nice day that was just chill. After I picked up my ticket package envelope, we headed to the concession stand to get our free hotdog, popcorn, and pop. And what better place to enjoy these treats than our reserved seats? This will be my view for every Sunday game this season:
When we were done poking around the locker room area, we followed the hallway that lead to the Bats’ dugout. There is something just relaxing about sitting in a dugout for me, it just feels like home somehow. Brings back some good memories of Little League and high school, I guess.
After our rest in the dugout, we took a lap around the outfield. It’s always nice to be on the field, too… We ended our excursion by heading up to check out one of the suites looking over the ballpark. All I can saw is, I’ve seen the suite life, and it is good. If or when I win the Powerball, I now know my first purchase will be to secure one of these suites for my friends, family, and I to enjoy the games. We were able to sample some food up there, also, and it was awesome! Oh, well, I can dream, anyway… We have plans to be back here when the Cincinnati Reds visit town for an exhibition. Please help me pray for good weather!
Louisville Cardinals vs. Boston College Eagles (NCAA/ACC)
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: We were finally able to make it to another Louisville game, and what a historic game it was! Brian was nice enough to let me watch some of the game from the stands, before heading to the outfield so he could play on the park. I can’t complain too much, though as the best food is grilled in the outfield bleachers. The #1 ranked cards were riding a 17 game winning streak after beating Boston College in the first game of the series 6-0 Friday night. On Saturday, Louisville would put up another six, but the Eagles didn’t go away as quietly.
On the mound, Kade McClure pitched well with nine strikeouts and only giving up one earned run. Louisville native Riley Thompson came in for relief, and got rocked a bit, giving up 3 earned runs and making things interesting the later innings. Adam Wolf and Lincoln Henzman would shut things down for the Cards, though. McClure still picked up the win, also.
Offensively, the Cardinals were lead by second baseman Devin Mann, who went 2-4 with 2 RBI’s. Also contributing was Drew Ellis, 2-5 with one RBI, and Logan Taylor 1-2 with one RBI. Their 18th win in a row is a new school record for wins in a row to start the season. Final: Cardinals 6, Eagles 4.
This was a fun game to be at, and the weather wasn’t all that bad, either. Louisville would also earn a 5-3 on Sunday, getting the sweep and extending the winning streak to 19 games. The Cardinals will be hitting the road for the next couple of weekends, but we’ll be back here the first week in April.
John Cropp Stadium-Lexington, KY: Our original plan for after our adventure at the Stache-A-Palooza, was to check out some Kentucky Wildcat baseball. The team was scheduled to play Miami (Ohio) at 1:00 at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Uh, however, when we arrived at the Cliff, we found it empty, with no baseball teams in sight. Apparently, the game had been rescheduled, but we never saw any notification of this. Still not sure WHY the game was changed, the weather wasn’t as bad as the day before, but maybe because the UK basketball team was playing at the same time? Personally, I think it’s stupid to re-arrange baseball for stupid basketball, but again, that’s just me. Not letting this ruin our day, though, we drove over to the UK softball venue, John Cropp Stadium, to find the ladies hosting a tournament there, aptly named the John Cropp Classic. The Michigan Wolverines were playing the Evansville Aces when we arrived, and it was cool to see a somewhat (old) home team on the field. We enjoyed the game, as the Wolverines made short work of the Aces. Final: Michigan 11, Evansville 2.
The next game in the tourney featured the home team Wildcats taking on the Kent State Golden Flashes. Between games, Brian and some of the other kids took time to make signs supporting their Kentucky team. Brian’s sign was a hit, as many of the girls acknowledged him, and one player even took a picture of him with it. To be honest, we only stayed a few innings as the cold was getting to us, but the home team ended up with the victory anyway. Not sure when we’ll make the trip to Lexington again, but will probably plan it around a Legends and Wildcats baseball game, and if the ladies are in town, we’ll hit another game here, too. Final: Kentucky 2, Kent State 0.
Whitaker Bank Ballpark-Lexington, KY: Despite having an easy winter, the weather isn’t cooperating a lot with us early this season. It was a balmy 35 degrees on Saturday, but at least we had the sun shining to help keep us warm during the Lexington Legends Stache-A-Palooza event. Brian was happy to meet the Legends mascots Big L and Pee Wee for the first time. He also had a blast on the slide and bouncy castle.
Inside, we were able to sample some of the new ballpark eats the Legends will be introducing this spring. My favorite was the bacon wrapped chicken nuggets. We were lucky enough to win a couple of small prizes at the wheel, but Brian wasn’t too enthusiastic about a credit card holder or a towel. They had some face painting available, but Brian declined on that. We still had a busy day ahead and he didn’t want to deal with it all day.
After our fun inside was done, we decided to check out the field. It still looks like a great place to watch a game, and I still plan on doing just that this spring. I just hope our spring is as warm as our winter! We spent a little coin in the gift shop and spent some more time on the bouncy stuff before calling it a day at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. It was a fun event, and always good to get a preview of what to expect from the Legends this summer.
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Cardinals vs. Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (NCAA)
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: It officially begins, the 2017 baseball season. As it was, Saturday was the coldest day here in Louisville, so obviously, that’s the only game we were able to make. A little cold weather isn’t enough to ruin our baseball fun, however, (even though Brian looks miserable in the photo). With Papa down visiting from Michigan, we were all happy to be at Jim Patterson Stadium for our first ballgame of the year.
On the hill for the Cards, Kade McClure earned the win, pitching six innings while striking out nine. He only gave up one hit and walked only three. In relief, Sam Bordner and Shay Smiddy preserved the shutout for Louisville.
On the offensive side, Louisville was led by Colby Fitch, who went 2-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Also, Brendan McKay was being Brendan McKay, going 2-2 with a run and an RBI, while Drew Ellis went 2-3 with a run and RBI, also. Nebraska-Omaha didn’t do themselves any favors, either, committing four errors. In the end, it was a blowout and a shutout for the Cardinals. Final: Cardinals 10, Mavericks 0.
Despite the cool temperatures, it was a fun day of baseball, and it wasn’t over with the Cards. We had to rush back to the OC, so Brian could take part in his Little League evaluation, as the draft was on Sunday. Here’s a photo below from his eval. Not sure when we’ll see Louisville at home next, but have plans to visit Lexington in a couple of weeks. As for me, I’m just glad the baseball season has begun.
Florence Mall-Florence, KY: Do to work, I wasn’t able to make to the Red Caravan down in Louisville, so we decided to make the trip to Florence to see the grand finale’ of the event. There was a pretty good crowd already when we got there, but found a place to relax. Brian was able to exert some energy in the kids play area, while Lily and Trevor took time to explore the mall for a bit. The first Reds representatives on hand were the mascots. Of course, it was imperative that Brian got to meet them all and get pictures. He already saw Mr. Redlegs at a game, so here are some of him with Rosie Red and Gapper, and Mr. Red, himself:
About 11:00 a.m. the players arrived. On hand included minor league players: Blake Trahan, Sal Romano, Chris Okey, and Shed Long. Reds alumni: Eric Davis, Tom Browning, Chris Welsh, Jeff Brantley, Corky Miller, and Dmitri Young. Current Reds: Tim Adleman, Tucker Barnhart, Scott Schebler, and Drew Storen. Reds manager Bryan Price was also there, as well as GM Dick Williams, and President & CEO Bob Castellini. The Q&A portion was fun for the adults, but the kids didn’t show much interest. When the players finally came down to interact with the fans, thing got a little more fun.
To be honest, we didn’t even stand in line to meet the major league players. The line was much too long, and not worth it yet for Brian, as he doesn’t really know the players yet, anyway. We’re more of a minor league family, anyway, so we met those guys first. As you would expect, they were all very nice and happy to sign Brian’s Reds baseball. They offered cool photos with them and the alumni against a green screen, and have the Great American Ballpark in the background when printed out. I was more happy to meet the alumni, especially Eric Davis, who I watch play for both the Reds and the Tigers when I was much younger. They wouldn’t let us get autographs from the alumni, but they did do a nice job of moving things along to keep the line moving. This was a fun experience, and as much as I’m looking forward to this upcoming season, I look forward to this event next year.
Promotion courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds
Nutter Field House-Lexington, KY: Brian simply woke up one day and declared: ‘I’m a UK fan, dad.’ Uh, ok, that’s fine, I guess. When I asked him ‘why’, he simply replied: ‘I just am.’ Again, ok. Kids are funny like that. I might not ever really know what event turned his loyalties to the Big Blue Nation, but at least it gave us an excuse to travel to Lexington for the Wildcats inaugural Fan Day hosted by the university’s baseball and softball teams.
They day started with a short clinic for the kids, then the teams split up for an autograph session. The players were separated by position (INF, OF, P, C), which made it easier for the kids to jump from table to table, and maybe converse with a player or two they share a position with. Brian even got to chat with a fellow North Oldham Little Leaguer (an alum, anyway) in Connor Heady, who is a senior infielder:
We’re still a big fan and supporter of college softball so Brian wanted to meet some of the girls and get some autographs from them, also. They were super nice to him and of course signed his poster and hat, as well as posing for a few photos. We’ll definitely try to catch some Wildcat softball games this spring. A baseball-softball double-header sounds like a good day to me, anyway.
In all, this was a great way to start out the 2017 baseball (and softball) season. College baseball is less then a month away, and we look forward to being in the stands. Oh, and Brian ran into more players in the parking lot he needed pictures with. After all, as he told them, he is the biggest Kentucky fan…Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Promotion courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats/NCAA
Whitaker Bank Ballpark-Lexington, KY: While my dad was visiting from Michigan, we decided to take a little trip over to Lexington and see what it had to offer. Unfortunately, not much is going on anywhere tourist-wise, but I definitely wanted to stop by and see where the Lexington Legends played ball, as I wasn’t able to make it to a game there over the summer.
The Legends staff was nice enough to let us have the run of the place, and take a look around the ballpark. I really like the layout of the seating and how close the seats are to the field. I can only imagine sitting in the front row would be a great experience. The capacity is about 8,000 and I was told the Legends draw well, and that really doesn’t surprise me. It was nice to just be inside a ballpark, as this is the time of year I really start missing being at the games. Being a fan of the South Atlantic League, I’ll be able to see some familiar teams play against the Legends as well. Trevor had some luck, and found a ball from the Ohio Valley Conference that must have been playing some college games there. I took just a few photos, and this is just a sneak peak at the fun we plan on having in 2017. Have a safe and happy new year, and we’ll see you all at the ballparks the spring.
It’s that time of year, again, to look back at all the fun things in terms of baseball that we accomplished. For the second year in a row, we missed out on a baseball trip, so the list won’t be all that diverse when it comes to location. That’s not a terrible thing, however, as we moved to Kentucky this year and reaped the benefits of living in an area with plenty of college, independent, minor league, and major league baseball nearby. If the list was to 10, it would have included my birthday, where I was able to spend a fun day with my boys at the Louisville Slugger Museum and a Bats game, but we did other fun stuff that made the cut. So, without further ‘ado’ let’s get to it…
9) Star Wars Night: Star Wars will always be a hit, and this year we went to the event at our new home field in Louisville. The Bats host a decent night of space adventure fun, and the game itself was a walk-off win. Even Boba Fett was there, who we missed last year, so it capped off a great night.
8) Our first Reds game: Our first Cincinnati Reds game was a great experience. We took a boat from Newport across the river to avoid traffic and parking, and that avoided a lot of my stress of visiting a Major League game. We got great seats off of Seat Geek, so we were able to get a great view of the game, and Brian got a game ball from Eugenio Suarez. It was a hot day, but worth it to take in the Great American Ballpark in all it’s glory. It’s an amazing place to watch a game, and although the Reds had a rough season, the games are always fun!
7) Whitecaps Opening Day: Opening Days are always fun, even if there is snow on the ground, and the temps are more suited for hockey. We wanted to get a Whitecaps game in before the move, and give my dad a fun birthday present at the same time. Despite the cold, we had a great time together, and every trip we make back to Michigan during the season, we will always try to work in a Whitecaps game. In a strange way, the weather was a fitting ‘goodbye’ for us.
6) Our first Cards game: Sometimes you go someplace that just feels like ‘home’. That’s exactly what happened to us when we entered Jim Patterson Stadium for the first time in early March. Before Minor League opening day, and while down doing some house hunting, we couldn’t resist taking in a ball game. This is a great venue, and the Louisville Cardinals have a good baseball program, so this was a fun game for sure. It’s hard to believe the games are free with the ACC being such a competitive conference, so no surprise they pull in some good crowds. With my love for college baseball growing with every game, Cardinal baseball will be a staple in our lives for years to come.
5) Y’All Star Game: We lucked out, as the Frontier League All Star, or Y’All Star, Game was held in Florence, KY this season. We’re pretty familiar with the independent Frontier League, spending some time at some of the Beach Bums games in Traverse City. We were able to cheer on some of our Bums, as well as players from the home town Florence Freedom. The game hosted mascots from the Reds and other Frontier League teams, as well as Jake the Diamond Dog, and Myron Noodelman who was absolutely hilarious. In all, just an enjoyable night of baseball, and we’ll definitely make it back to Florence for a Freedom game next summer.
4) Loons Uniform and Logo Unveiling: It’s not too often you are able to enjoy a baseball event in February, but that’s just what we did when the Great Lakes Loons hosted an event to showcase the teams new logo and uniforms. Along with seeing the new logos, the mascots Lou E. Loon and Ral E. Camel entertained us. Brian was able to get his face painted and took the mic to try his hand at announcing. We ended the day by taking some cuts in the batting cages under Dow Diamond. Not a bad way to spend a winter day. I also wanted to add, that the Loons took their new look all the way to the 2016 Midwest League Championship!
3) Rose Number Retirement: Everyone has an opinion on Pete Rose, and whether you love him, or hate him, he is without a doubt one of the best hitters in the history of this great game! I met my best friend in Newport, and we had a great time at the ballgame, and seeing Reds legends like Rose and Johnny Bench in the pre-game ceremony. Like him or not, I did get to witness some history. 14 forever!
2) The San Diego Chicken!: Just like the afore mentioned Bench, I grew up watching the San Diego Chicken on the TV show The Baseball Bunch. He is far and above other mascots, and the skits he puts on are flawless and amazing. The Chicken has a magical presence that keep both children and adults tuned in to his every move. He was nice enough to meet with all his fans, also, and definitely made another one in Brian. This was an amazing night at the Bats game with the Chicken.
1) Mariners win the Championship!: Brian has really prospered from the move, but nothing more than what he’s been able to accomplish on the ballfield. He was lucky enough to join the Mariners a handful of games into the season when we moved down. The league down here is very different, and a lot more competitive. Brian fit right in, however, and had a great season at the plate. He was blessed with good coaches who pushed him hard but also let the kids have some fun. Being part of this team was a great experience and I’m glad he was able to be a part of it. The championship game was probably harder on me, but the kids were able to hang on for the win.
Looking ahead to 2017: I’m really looking forward to next season, and the adventures that baseball will take us on. We’ll have a full season with the Cardinals and Bats to look forward to, and the ACC Baseball championship here at Slugger Field, also. Brian will be playing ball again so we’ll keep tracking his success as he moves up a level next season. I’m looking forward to visiting new ballparks, especially some others here in Kentucky such as Lexington and Bowling Green. I wouldn’t mind hitting the road, either, for trips to Evanston, IN or Nashville, TN that aren’t all that far away, either. Until then, I wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas!
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Straders’s Raiders vs. Vrable’s Vikings
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: I’m still learning some of the traditions of Cardinal baseball, and a new one I’ve discovered is the Pizza Bowl. The Louisville baseball team splits into two squads for a five game series, with the losers serving pizza to the winners. This years series featured Strader’s Raiders against the Vrable’s Vikings. The Vikings took the first two game of the series, and we were in attendance for game three.
Game three really looked like the Raiders were going to break into the win column, as they carried a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning. They were lead by catcher Zeke Pinkham, who hit a single, walked twice, and scored a run. Outfielder Ryan Summers and infielder Justin Levy each had one hit and one RBI. Freshman outfielder Ethan Stringer hit a solo home run, and Brian was able to snag that ball.
The Vikings made their comeback in the eighth inning on three unearned runs. Outfielder Logan Taylor had an RBI single and scored a run to lead the Vikes offense. Colin Lyman and Danny Oriente each added and an RBI, also, with Oriente hitting and RBI single in the seventh as well.
Starting on the hill for the Raiders, Michael McAvene earned a no-decision although he struck out six, walked one, and pitched six no-hit innings. For the Vikings, Nick Bennett giving up just two runs on two hits while striking out four. FINAL: Raiders 5, Vikings 4.
This was a fun day for the boys and I. We also had a productive day, as Trevor got a foul ball and a stress ball. Brian was able to snag Stinger’s home run ball! This was our last ballgame of the fall, as the team split the last two games of the series, with the Raiders winning four games to one. We look forward to the spring and more Cardinal baseball! Also exciting news I learned from my buddy the Baseball Bloggess, is that Louisville will be hosting the ACC Baseball tourney next season, also, so I’m looking to get some vacation time for that!