M.I.B. Prime 9: Our top moments of 2016

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…

27113264091_af7ed87b98_z9) 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.

26878323724_3ce932d8ba_z8) 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!

Brian with Crash on Opening Day
Brian with Crash on Opening Day

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.

25514363015_174ff8645f_z6) 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.

28277767426_e810d1d057_z5) 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.

24397018583_b048aaffdf_z4) 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!

27648864620_a34646e2d5_z3) 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!

28784300446_6fe06ef8b2_z2) 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.

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the Beach (Bums)

Traverse City Beach Bums vs. Joliet Slammers (Frontier League)

27596075531_f4bd37cc5e_zWuerfel Park-Traverse City, MI:  While back visiting family in Michigan, we decided to take in a Beach Bums game, the defending Frontier League champions.  It seemed like we brought some of the southern heat with us, as the temps were pushing the upper 80’s, but the nice cool breeze off of Lake Michigan turned it into a perfect night for baseball.  Brian remembered that the Slammers gave him a baseball last year, so he was actually rooting for the visitors.

27383273360_cd7cac24d9_z27587434541_bb033c89aa_zThe way the game started out, I thought it would be a high scoring affair, but then the pitchers settled in, and the game moved by pretty fast.  At one point, 10 Beach Bum players were retired in a row. Lucky for TC, Jacob Lanning was on the mound, as he pitched a complete nine inning game for the win.  He gave up only one run in the first inning, on seven hits, and he struck out two.

27049932484_90506b26b1_z27058462204_63db11425c_zAlso during the game, Brian was able to catch up with both Beach Bum mascots, Suntan and Sunburn. Be honest…doesn’t it look like the red bear is flipping me off??!!

SUNTAN
SUNTAN
SUNBURN
SUNBURN

Anyway, the Beach Bums scored one run in the first inning on a Will Kengor RBI double that scored Jose Vargas.  Then in the fifth inning, Jeff DeBlieux hit a double of his own, this time scoring two to put TC in the lead for good.  It was good to be back in Michigan, if only for a few days, and I’m sure this isn’t the end of us enjoying some games up here.  We look forward to our next game in Kentucky, though!  FINAL: Beach Bums 3, Slammers 1.

27596070331_7b1f0f0cd4_z27392005080_e26ff14547_z27670574365_22dc107ae1_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

Michigan teams win Championships!

West Michigan Whitecaps-2015 Midwest League Champions

21614625585_2dcc999674_zMonday night the Whitecaps held on to beat the Cedar Rapids Kernels 3-2 in a decisive game five to win the Midwest League crown. This is the teams first championship since 2007, but manager Andrew Graham won the title as a catcher for West Michigan back in 2004. The ‘Caps split the first two games at home, getting shut out 5-0 in game one, and coming back with a 4-1 win in game two (the one that we were at). They dropped a heart-breaker in game three, when the Kernels earned a 3-2 walk-off win in the ninth inning. Never giving up, the Whitecaps held on to win game four 2-1 and game five 3-2, on the back of relief pitcher Joe Jimenez.

20991767824_cc0e616537_z21427651119_924c057355_z21603192402_aef636e577_zIn the final game, Ross Seaton earned the win on the mound, holding the Kernels to only two runs. The Whitecaps scored their runs on RBI’s by Francisco Contreras and David Gonzalez, while the third run was scored by Contreras on a wild pitch.  Jimenez struck out the side on the ninth inning to secure the victory, and championship! As memorable as this season has been, we were lucky to get down to a handful of games to see the Whitecaps play. With Larry Parrish retiring in Toledo, I fully expect Andrew Graham to be promoted, unless the Tigers’ organization brings in someone to take over just at the Triple-A level. I think he’s done a great job with this team the last two seasons, and wouldn’t mind him sticking around. Congrats again, to the Whitecaps! You can read more on their championship win on the Midwest League website HERE.

Traverse City Beach Bums-2015 Frontier League Champions

bumschampsThe Beach Bums defeated the River City Rascals by the score of 4-1 last Friday night to win the Frontier Cup. The Bums swept the Rascals 3-0 in the best of five series, and were 6-0 in the postseason. In the ten year history of the ball club in Traverse City, this was the second time making to the finals, being defeated by River City back in 2012. The Bums literally went from worst to first this season, winning a club record 56 games as they advanced to the palyoffs for the fourth time since 2010. Injuries plaqued last seasons team, including Frontier Cup MVP Jose Vargas. Vargas was also the hero of game two, with a walk-off base hit to give his team a 6-5 win, and complete the comeback when they were down 5-1. Manager Dan Rohn, a Central Michigan alumni, did a great job with the team this season, and I think the Beach Bums are lucky to have a veteran coach at this level. Congrats to the Beach Bums, and were at least able to make it to a couple of games this season, including the last weekend of the regular season that started their nine-game winning streak. You can read more on the Bums title win on the Frontier League website HERE and at the Record Eagle website HERE.

Photos courtesy of the Whitecaps and Record Eagle

 

 

Worth The Wait?

Traverse City Beach Bums vs Frontier Greys (Frontier League)

 Wuerfel Park- Traverse City, MI: On our way back north, we decided to pass through Traverse City to catch a Beach Bums game. It had been raining most of the day, so we got to the ballpark about 15 before the game when we made our decision to go. I guess all the other Bums fans had the same idea, as there was a huge line for tickets. In fact, they finally decided to open a second ticket window about 20 minutes after the game started. In all, we waited almost an hour and missed three innings of the game before we finally set down on the outfield lawn.

 As you can see above, Trevor and I were just happy to be in the ballpark, while Brian decided to enjoy the game from the playground.

 I strayed a little to get a few photos, but was called back when some a-hole kid threw sand in Brian’s eyes. I don’t know why the Bums insist on having sand in the playground. Something like shredded tire would be so much safer and cleaner. I understand the beach theme, but don’t think it’s as important as safety. Brian was fine, though, as Trevor took care of him. Life is a little easier with a big brother watching your back.

 With missing a few innings and the playground drama, it hard to get invested in the game. This was a pretty good game, as TC took an early lead (that we missed), and the Greys stormed back to take a 3-2 lead.

 They also had the Frontier Leagues championship trophy, the Frontier Cup, on display so that was pretty cool.

 With the Bums down by a pair in the ninth, we took seats in the lounge chair section. The game finally got interesting when they tied it up at four on a double by Jake Rhodes.

 The Bums would complete the comeback win with a walk-off in the tenth innin with Reggie Dawson’s bunt scored Jay Austin. Lawson had two hits on the night, Austin two RBI’s. On the mound Rob Blanc earned his first win as a Bum, while Bret Dahlson earned the save. Not the best night, but at least it ended on a good note. Still blessed to be at a ballgame with my kids. With the Bums, Whitecaps, and Lugnuts all in the playoffs, we hope to make it to one more game. Here’s a video, too:

College Football-CMU vs OSU

 Also over Labor Day weekend we caught some football, as the Central Michigan Chippewas hosted the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Mt. Pleasant. The Chips fell 22-13, but we had a fun night and at least it didn’t rain during the game like it did all day.

 Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball

Rain can’t spoil a day at the Beach (Bums)

Traverse City Beach Bums vs. Joliet Slammers (Frontier League)

18242071654_8059e0c2d9_zWuerfel Park-Traverse City, MI: The summer of rain continues, but we didn’t let it ruin our baseball fun over the weekend. Although it rained most of the weekend, the weather cleared up enough to take in our first Beach Bums game of the season. Our experience started off on a good note, as Brian got a game ball from the Joliet Slammers before the game even started. I guess it’s good to make the right friends, as he was chatting with the guys in the bullpen.

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Brian with his Frontier League game ball
Brian with his Frontier League game ball

18241945654_5f89b8de38_zHere’s a video I took by mistake, as I thought that the photo mode was on the phone:

The game was a good one for the home team. The Bums scored three runs in the second inning, and never looked back on their way to victory. Offensively they were led by Jay Austin, who had four hits and was just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Jeff DeBlieux pitching in with a triple and 2 RBI’s, while Jake Rhodes and Greg Harisis each had hits. In the fifth inning, Graham Ramos hit and RBI single, and then scored on a double by Yazy Arbelo. On the bump, pitcher Kramer Champlin threw seven strong innings for the win, allowing four hits and no runs. Final score: Beach Bums 5, Slammers 1.

18676882928_3303225b3e_z18838329506_bbffddb660_z18676787928_476e1711e1_z18243897683_31cb1d1806_z18242005174_e75e4c4030_z18859303202_5dd8a7c64b_zThis is also the first time I’ve seen a mascot fight break out…

18838275446_235c328650_zAfter the game, Brian was able to run the bases of Wuerfel Park.

18676769140_6084718582_z18867201981_274c38b28a_zAfter he ran the bases, he met up with a couple of the Slammers players to thank them again for the baseball. He was going to stand in line for the Beach Bum autographs, but he was tired and we still had a long drive ahead of us. This was a fun game, and the impending rain kept it a very small crowd. We were lucky that the rain held off for us, and I’m hoping to get back to TC soon. It’s a good ballpark to visit since one our way down state one way or another.

Brian with members of the Joliet Slammers
Brian with members of the Joliet Slammers

18822323405_03e95464be_zHere’s another video from the game:

Photos and videos property of Minoring In Baseball

A fun day in Traverse City

Traverse City Beach Bums vs. Normal CornBelters (Frontier League)

tcf1Weurfel Park-Traverse City, MI:  It was time for the kids and I to make a trip to Traverse City for some fun and baseball. We hit the Beach Bums game early, so the boys were able to search the outfield and found four baseballs from batting practice!

tcf2We still have some time before the game, so we were able to watch some warm-ups and the boys got to visit with their Nana. She doesn’t make it to too many games anymore, so it was a special day to have her there.

tcf3tcf4tcf5tcf6The game itself was a good one for the home team Beach Bums. They got off to a good start, as Sean Gusrang hit a two-run homer to put the Bums up 2-0 in the first. The rally was continued by Yazy Arbelo, who doubled, and was hit home by a Jovan Rosa two-bagger. On the mound for TC, Alex Phillips earned the win, striking out three and only giving up six scattered hits. Final: Beach Bums 4, CornBelters 0.

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A serious ballpark selfie with Bri-guy
A serious ballpark selfie with Bri-guy

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Brian and Sunburn
Brian and Sunburn

After the game, Brian didn’t feel like running the bases, but the boys lined up for autographs from the team. The Beach Bums give the kids a free team poster to get signed.

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TC pitching coach and former MLB pitcher Greg Cadaret signs come cards for the boys
TC pitching coach and former MLB pitcher Greg Cadaret signs come cards for the boys

Pirates Cove

Trevor and Brian getting ready for some go-cart racing
Trevor and Brian getting ready for some go-cart racing

While in Traverse City, we also had time to visit one of our favorite summer hang outs, Pirates Cove. The kids and I took part in some go-cart races, bumper boats, and the water coaster. Sometimes I think we just have too much fun together, but feel lucky and blessed to have this time with my kids and family!

tcf21tcf22tcf23Photos property of Minoring In Baseball