Cincinnati Reds vs. Detroit Tigers (MLB Inter-League)
Great American Ballpark-Cincinnati, OH: Oops… wow I’m way behind on this blog, and didn’t even make an entry in July! Well, here I am catching up on June, when the Tigers were visiting Cincinnati, so it sounded like a great chance for us to catch some games. My dad came down from Michigan to join us for the games, also, which made it a special couple of days.
I’m not going to mince words here, this was an ugly game for the Tigers. Just horrible. Hard to watch. Joey Votto hit a grand slam off of Nick Castellano’s glove, to help put the Reds up 9-0. The Tigers made a run in the ninth, scoring five runs to make it look respectable, but too little, too late. Scooter Gennett added two hits for the Reds and Leonys Martin went 3-3 for Detroit.
On the mound, Sal Romano earned the win for Cincinnati, while Matt Boyd struggled and took the loss for the Tigers. Fun to see the Tigers with my family, but rough to watch the re-building Tigers struggle so much. We’d be back the next afternoon to see if they could do better (they didn’t…) Final: Reds 9, Tigers 5.
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Brian was able to participate in the Bats baseball clinic sponsored by the local Chevy dealers, again this year. At least his Little League season hadn’t ended yet, so he was able to take some of the things he learned an apply them to his game situations. Once again, stations were set up all over the ballpark for the kids to better learn the game.
The hitting cages are under the stadium, so I wasn’t able to see Brian rake during this portion of the clinic, but was amble to see everything else, though. He had a great hit during the wiffle ball game, and did well catching some fly balls.
Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Bats vs. Durham Bulls (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: A glorious day is Memorial Day, as we celebrate the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for this great country. It is because of them that Brian and I are able to enjoy a day at the ballgame together! It was another nice day, and the Chicago Boys were on hand to entertain us, also.
Leading the charge for the Bats was D.J. Peterson, who went 3-4 with an RBI. Both Mason Williams and Dilson Herrera went 2-4 with an RBI, also. Gabrial Guerrerro pitched in with a base hit and two runs scored. On the bump, Jose Lopez earned the win by throwing six solid innings, only giving up four hits and striking out three. Final: Bats 5, Bulls 0.
Video and Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum-Louisville, KY: Ah, ‘The Sandlot’, definitely one of the best baseball films ever made, and a favorite for many. Recently the Louisville Slugger Museum hosted a For-Ever-Fest to honor this great movie, featuring movie props as well as a Q & A with members of the cast and crew. To the props first. We were able to see the nick knacks in the movie that made it great, such as Benny’s PF Flyers, Squint’s glasses, and, of course, the baseballs signed by the Great Bambino himself.
After checking those out, it was time for the Q & A with some cast and crew, featuring director and co-writer David Mickey Evens, Shane Obedzinski (who played Tommy ‘Repeat’ Timmons), and props master Terry Haskell.
After the Q & A we did the tour and hit the gift shop. Brian got himself a new ‘Sandlot’ shirt and mini-bat. Lucky for us, David Mickey Evans and Shane Obedzinski were shopping at the time, also. I had a good little conversation with Evans, not just about ‘The Sandlot’, but about another one of my favorite baseball movies he directed, ‘The Final Season’. Brian was able to get a photo with ‘Tommy Timmons’, then we called it a day. On the way out, Brian asked: “Hey Dad, was this one of those once in a lifetime things?”. The answer was pretty easy: “Yes, son, it was…”.
Louisville Bats vs. Toledo Mud Hens (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Back in Kentucky, this is a game Brian suggested we attend when the schedule first came out. With both of us being a huge fan of the Jurassic Park/World franchise, I could hardly ague with him. The Bats were playing the Mud Hens, and with us being Tiger fans, we sat down the first base side. In fact, we were directly in front of the Mud Hens bullpen, and were able to watch starting pitcher Artie Lewicki warm up. When Lewicki’s arm was ready to go, Toledo pitching coach Jeff Pico gave Brian the ball.
This game was definitely a pitchers’ duel. For the Bats, Robert Stephenson threw six innings, only giving up one run and striking out six. As for Lewicki, he pitched 6.1 innings, giving up just the two runs while racking up eight K’s.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago White Sox (NL/AL)
Busch Stadium-St. Louis, MO: We were back at Busch the next morning for a day game, and I honestly couldn’t believe how big the crowd was. There were 38,000 fans the night before, but a day game in the middle of the week drawing 37,000 was amazing. We got to the ballpark as early as we could, and scarfed down some $10 hot dogs before game time. We had nice seats in the outfield’s lower level, which gave us a different view of the game. It was a hot day, but the breeze and cloud cover was our saving grace.
This was another solid game for the home town Cards. Starting pitcher Carlos Martinez blasted his first ever home run to give St. Louis the early lead. Dexter Fowler added to that with a two-run homer of his own in the seventh inning. Martinez pitched a solid 7.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits while striking out five. Bud Norris earned the four-out save with two strike outs. The White Sox came back late in the game to make it interesting, but the Cards held on for the win. Yadi Molina was 2-3 in the game, also. Final: Cardinals 3, White Sox 2.
What a fun day, and again I’m blown away from the love and support for this team here in St. Louis. Despite the cost, these were some fun games to go to, and a must for any baseball fan. St. Louis has some nice areas and fun things to do, so I’ll probably get the kids out this way at some point.
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.