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

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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

 

 

We Are the Champions!!!

27743469782_7a51870636_zWalsh Park-La Grange, KY: I honestly don’t know where to start!  First off, I guess we can congratulate the Mariners on winning the North Oldham Little League Rookie Division championship!  It was not an easy road, and there were many good teams in this league.  The Mariners finished third in their division and received a first round bye.  They faced the Indians in the quarter-finals, and won by the score of 4-2, with Brian getting the game-winning RBI.  In the semi-finals, they went against the Royals, a team they haven’t beat all year.  The Mariners won a tough battle, however, winning 6-4 on a hot 90 degree day at noon, to head to the championship.  The Mariners were down 5-0 in the first, then battled back for the win.  Their opponent in the final game was the Padres, the team that won the division in the regular season.  This time it was the Mariners who jumped out to a lead, 3-0 in the first, then added a pair in the middle innings.  The Padres stormed back in the fifth, scoring four runs, but the M’s held them off in the sixth for a 5-4 championship victory!  Here are a couple of shots of Brian in the final:

27712353932_2339a95ef0_b27769216971_0161ac08dd_zThe championship aside, though, I still believe this team was the best fit for Brian.  The coaches never preached winning, but focused on having the kids be positive, work hard, and have fun playing the game of baseball.  From there, the winning just sort of took care of itself.  I really think Brian learned more about being part of a team and earning something you’ve worked hard for, as much as he did about the game of baseball.  Their coach told the boys to enjoy this, as it may be the only championship they ever win, and he could be right about that.  My last year in Little League was the one and only time I’ve seen glory in all my years of playing. I’m glad he’s tasted victory, but if he keeps on playing and loving this game, it’s sure to break his heart at some point.  But that’s something I’ll start preparing for next year.  This big win sparked him to want to play Fall Ball and to keep working hard at the sport, so that gives us something to look forward to in a couple of months.

It's all about the hardware!
It’s all about the hardware!

27712346392_eb19a555e4_z27201524584_ed1bf97dcc_z27535292550_440a201aed_zHere’s a video of the final out!  You can see Brian charging in from the outfield ready to celebrate!

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Father’s Day Fun

Louisville Bats vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (International League)

27172370434_e0f024616f_zLouisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Well, first off this Father’s Day was all around a good one, but things simply didn’t go as planned.  The first thing to not go as planned, was the notification I received from the Bats that game time was 6:05.  Sunday games are usually at 2:05, and I’m not sure when they did the switch or why.  If it’s because we’ve been battling 90 degree plus heat, then I do understand, but it messed with our plans as Brian had a baseball practice slated for 6:00, and we had planned to go to Kentucky Kingdom afterwards.  If this was any other day, I would have cancelled our trip to the game, but this is Father’s Day, dammit, and I wanted to see some baseball!  Brian’s mom and sister agreed to take him to practice, and Trevor and I headed to Louisville Slugger Field.  And…I’ll take the kids to Kentucky Kingdom some time this week.  I promise.  For our second speed bump, you’ll notice how crappy my photos are, and that’s because I left my good camera in the van, and you’ll just have to suffer from the below average iPhone pics.

27172370904_d71c7e1e85_z27172370684_2bfbcb5690_zIt was another hot day in the ‘Ville, as Trevor and I settled in, but it was an entertaining back-and-forth ball game.  The Bats took a 1-0 lead in the first, as Scott Schebler hit a towering dinger into the left field stands.  The PawSox battled back, however, tying the game in the third, and then hitting a home-run of their own to take the lead.  It was the Bats turn to regain the lead now in the fifth, on a Juan Perez RBI double, and a Jermaine Curtis home run.  On the mound, starter Stephen Johnson went five innings, giving up two runs on four hits, while striking out three.  Surprisingly, it was relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz who took the loss, giving up two runs on three hits in one inning of work.  Diaz had a franchise record going of 35 2/3 consecutive innings without giving up a run snapped.  Well, aren’t we just good luck…  Making a rehab appearance was Michael Lorenzen, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning giving up no and striking out two.  FINAL:  Bats 4, PawSox 5.

27709633001_61078f378b_z27683669032_29d39f44e6_zIt was a fun game to watch, but a tough loss to take.  And the last thing that didn’t really work as planned, is that the Bats advertised to ‘play catch with dad on the field’ after the game.  As it was Sunday, the kids also are able to run the bases after the game.  Unfortunately for us, the organization doesn’t have the foresight to have two different lines and entrances onto the field after the game.  Trevor is too old to run the bases, and we just wanted to play a little catch.  However, we were told we’d have to wait in the same line as the kids, which was 30-40 minutes JUST TO GET ONTO THE FIELD!  Trevor and I decided just to play catch at home, and I am disappointed that we couldn’t make it onto the field.  I hate to be negative, but the Bats can certainly do a better job of organizing this event.  When we bring Brian with us, we’ll either have to wait in line that long, or miss the last two innings of the game waiting in line on the concourse.   Anyway, it was still a good Father’s Day because of the kids, and we did have some fun.  And despite the bad photos, I did remember to make a quick video during the game:

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball