Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: After the long drive back from Michigan, you’d think we’d take it easy for a bit, but no, not while the Bats are in town. We took the weekend to recover and unpack, however, and then took in a Monday night game. Despite the weather actually being pretty nice, there was a pretty sparse crowd at Slugger Field. That would come into play later, as Brian was lucky enough to take home a couple of game balls.
The first ball he got was thrown to him by right fielder Rosell Herrera. After the third out, he tossed the ball to Brian as he was coming off the field. We were really surprised that this was a Major League ball in play here in the minors, but I’ll explain that momentarily.
As for Herrera, he went 1-3 on the night, driving in the lone Bats run. Louisville didn’t have much in the way of offense this game. Oh, and the reason why the game ball was a Major League one was because the Reds’ Brandon Finnegan was on the bump in a rehab stint, and that’s what the rehabbing pitchers use (thanks to Jeff Perro/@MiLBClubbie for that info off Twitter).
Ok, and speaking of Finnegan, he took the loss for the Bats, throwing five innings while giving up eight hits, four runs, and striking out two. On a lighter note, Brian got another game ball, this time just a normal International League one, from the Clippers relief pitcher Jeff Beliveau, who threw him a foul ball that came his way while warming up. As I said, there wasn’t much of a crowd, and there was a group of kids who got way more than Brian! Final: Bats 1, Clippers 7.
A rough outing for our first Bats game of the season, but we’re still looking forward to more to come. The weather turned a little cool once that sun went down, but I’m sure we’ll have some hot days at the ballpark this summer. Don’t forget to follow me on Snapchat: @MinorBaseball for live game action!
West Michigan Whitecaps vs. South Bend Cubs (Midwest League)
Fifth Third Ballpark-Comstock Park, MI: Opening Day for the Minor League season also meant the West Michigan Whitecaps were entering their 25th year as a ball club. With so many games there throughout the years, it seemed only fitting that this is where we should start our 2018 journey as well. We were lucky there was even a game, as the Michigan weather punished us with harsh snow and wind while visiting for ‘Spring’ Break. We dressed warm, staying in the sun, and enjoyed Opening Day like so many other fans across the country.
We were able to get free replica jerseys upon entering the ballpark, and then Brian decided he wanted some autographs and to meet some of the players. The thrill of the day was meeting former World Champion Detroit Tiger, and the current Whitecaps manager, Lance Parrish. He was more than happy to sign Brian’s ball and get a photo with him. Brian was still able to meet some of Lance’s players and get his ball signed by them as well.
The game was a good one for the home team. Jordan Pearce lead the way offensively, going 1-3 with three RBI. Also pitching is was Alexis Garcia and Joey Morgan, each going 2-4 with Garcia adding an RBI.
On the hill, Dane Myers got the start throwing four innings, giving up one run and striking out five. Burris Warner earned the win, only giving up one hit and one run in his three innings of work. Final: Whitecaps 6, Cubs 2.
This was a fun game, and we were actually pretty comfortable until the sun went down. Then that cold Michigan air came creeping in, but we’re a tough group. This was a great way to kick off the Minor League season, especially since we weren’t able to make it up for a game last season. The next few months should be fun, as we have some more games planned and Brian starts Little League.