St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago White Sox (NL/AL)
Busch Stadium-St. Louis, MO: After a crazy day and long drive, we finally arrived in St. Louis! Busch Stadium is a great place to watch a ballgame, but boy was it expensive. Lucky for us I got really cheap seats off Seat Geek, but every other expense really took it’s toll. We had some pretty decent seats, though, we were up high but in the front row so we had a great view of all of the action, and able to see the beautiful ballpark.
The game itself was a great one. The Cardinals took the lead with a Tommy Pham home run, but later lost the lead. Down 2-1 in the ninth, Matt Carpenter hit a home run to tie the game, then Yadir Molina’s base hit knocked in the winning run for a walk off. Yadi was 2-4 on the day, and I can really see why Cardinal fans love this guy so much. On he mound, Michael Wacha got the start, going five innings, giving up two runs on five hits, and striking out three. Bud Norris would earn he win in relief, pitching one scoreless inning.
Walsh Park-LaGrange, KY: Brian’s back with another season of Little League baseball, and he’s back with the Mariners this season (completely different team and coach, but he had success last time, so he’s happy). The season started in April, but like most of the country our April was full of rain, snow, high winds, and all around crappy weather, causing many games to be postponed. The boys are just now starting to play catch up on the first part of the season, sometimes seeing three games a week. The Mariners are 4-4 as of this posting, so they’re playing respectable ball and keeping in the hunt. A couple of games got away from them and I think they’re better than there record so we’ll see how the next half of the season turns out. Brian is doing well at the plate. He’s had four hits in his last three games, and has some RBI’s and runs scored thrown in there.
In the field he’s done well, but still frustrated at being stuck in the outfield most of the time. The coach has talked with him and tried to keep him positive, but the season is warring on him already. Hopefully he’ll get to see some action at first base sooner than later, as that’s where he likes to play and can catch the ball pretty well. He’s got good coaches this season and they are very patient with Brian’s colorful roller coaster of emotions. Keeping him positive is the key, and when he does well and has confidence he’s very productive and has fun. If he can learn more about the game and let himself have a good time, that’s what it’s all about!
Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball
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.
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: The Minor League season is almost upon us, and to kick things off here in the ‘Ville, the Bats invited their season ticket holders to a little open house to pick up their tickets and view the ballpark. We picked up our ticket package, then secured some seats to some special games like Jurassic Park Night and the throwback weekend when they’ll play as the Louisville Colonels. The team then treated us to a free meal of a hot dog, popcorn, and drink, some traditional ballpark eats.
Brian was then excited to go check out the Bats’ locker room and clubhouse. He liked to pretend he was getting ready for a game, and who knows, he could be a future Bat! We were also lucky enough to run into Buddy Bat, and then went to check out the dugout.
We ended the day up hanging out in some of the suites and getting some good eats. I play the Powerball every week, and the first thing I will do after finally winning is rent of these for life! All of my friends will be welcome to come enjoy the games with us. Brian really liked the suites, and decided this is the life for him! He also enjoyed seeing the press box and talking with some of the Louisville staff. It’s just fun to see every inch of this ballpark.
This was a fun day for us, and it really got me excited for the Bats’ season to start. We’ll actually be up in Michigan in early April, so here’s hoping the weather is decent and we can catch a game or two up that way. I’ll leave off with a video of Brian leading you onto the field:
Video and Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Cardinals vs. Western Carolina Catamounts (NCAA)
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: It’s that time of year again, when college baseball fans can rejoice because baseball for us starts so much sooner than the pros. This can make for some rough game weather wise in February and March, but for us we had a perfect day in the ‘Ville for our first game of the season.
The Cards were hosting the Western Carolina Catamounts for a non-conference series, and were looking to stay undefeated. Leading the charge offensively for Louisville was second baseman Devin Mann, who went 1-3 with an RBI and a run, and Danny Oriente who also went 1-3 with an RBI. On the mound, Liam Jenkins started the game, throwing three innings while giving up one run on one hit, and striking out six. Reid Detmers earned the win in relief, throwing three scoreless innings and striking out seven. Final: Cardinals 3, Catamounts 2.
The weather has turned cold and nasty again, so we haven’t been to any more games. We have lots to look forward to this summer, though, and Brian has already started his Little League practices, so more to come.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
Promotion courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball