Whitaker Bank Ballpark-Lexington, KY: While my dad was visiting from Michigan, we decided to take a little trip over to Lexington and see what it had to offer. Unfortunately, not much is going on anywhere tourist-wise, but I definitely wanted to stop by and see where the Lexington Legends played ball, as I wasn’t able to make it to a game there over the summer.
The Legends staff was nice enough to let us have the run of the place, and take a look around the ballpark. I really like the layout of the seating and how close the seats are to the field. I can only imagine sitting in the front row would be a great experience. The capacity is about 8,000 and I was told the Legends draw well, and that really doesn’t surprise me. It was nice to just be inside a ballpark, as this is the time of year I really start missing being at the games. Being a fan of the South Atlantic League, I’ll be able to see some familiar teams play against the Legends as well. Trevor had some luck, and found a ball from the Ohio Valley Conference that must have been playing some college games there. I took just a few photos, and this is just a sneak peak at the fun we plan on having in 2017. Have a safe and happy new year, and we’ll see you all at the ballparks the spring.
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…
9) 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.
8) 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!
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.
6) 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.
5) 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.
4) 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!
3) 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!
2) 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.
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!
Louisville Bats vs. Indianapolis Indians (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Where did the summer go? It’s definitely a sad sort of day, the last day of the Minor League regular season, which means the end of 2016 baseball for the Bats. We were blessed with a beautiful day, however, so Trevor and I decided to take a walk down by the river before the game started. To our surprise, WLKY was doing a live broadcast down that way covering some Labor Day events, and we ‘just happened’ to walk behind the reporter and got on the news! Here’s the footage courtesy of Channel 32 WLKY’s YouTube (look for us at the 1:21 and 1:22 mark):
When Trevor and I were done being TV stars, we made our way into the ballpark for the last time in 2016. We had great seats, as we settled in with our $1 hot dogs and drinks on another 90 degree day.
On the mound was Keury Mella who was making his Triple-A debut with the Bats. He pitched a solid seven innings, only giving up three hits, one earned run, while giving up one walk, and striking out six to earn the win. Relief pitcher Kevin Shackelford came in to get the save.
Louisville was lead offensively by Seth Mejias-Brean, who got the Bats on the board in the 4th with an RBI base hit. He also added and RBI on the eighth inning with a triple. The go-ahead run came in the seventh, off of a Tony Renda base hit. FINAL: Bats 4, Indians 1.
Again, it’s sad that this was our last Bats game of the season, but we will still have some baseball in our future. Brian is still playing Fall Ball, and the Louisville Cardinals will probably play some exhibition games in the coming month or so, also. We might even make it back up to the Reds, but that’s still up in the air. This was a fun day with my son, and feel blessed and lucky for it!
West Michigan Whitecaps vs. Lansing Lugnuts (Midwest League)
Fifth Third Ballpark-Comstock Park, MI: Back in the mitt to visit friends and family before school starts, we were lucky enough to take in a Whitecaps game. The ‘Caps were hosting another one of our Michigan teams, the Lansing Lugnuts. It was Super Villain Night at Fifth Third Ballpark, and Brian was able to meet some of these dastardly scoundrels that give our heroes so many fits. Above, he’s with Harley Quinn, Crossbones, the Winter Soldier (who I really don’t consider a villain, he was brain-washed after all, and Bucky is really a good guy), and Poison Ivy. Below, he is hanging out with Batman nemesis The Penguin, and Spider-Man foil, The Lizard.
We were also able to catch up with Crash the River Rascal, and it was good to see him again! He also gave Bri a t-shirt.
We seemed to pick another great day to be at the ballpark, and to see some free baseball. The Whitecaps and Lugnuts would finish a tied game suspended the night before, with the ‘Nut winning this one 5-3 in the 12th inning. The scheduled game would go into extras, also. West Michigan tied the game at one in the second inning, when Will Allen scored on a Jose Azocar double, after hitting one of his own. Azocar would plate another RBI in the fifth inning, scoring Brett Pirtle on a ground out. Both team would load the bases in the 11th, but came away with nothing. The ‘Caps would have better luck in the 12th, however, as Arvicent Perez earned the walk-off RBI with a bases-loaded hit.
On the mound, Trent Szkutnik started the game giving up just the two runs. The bullpen came through also, with Drew Smith, Zac Houston, and Toller Boardman combining for six no-hit innings and 11 strikeouts. FINAL in 12: Whitecaps 3, Lugnuts 2.
Another fun game, and it’s always good to be back home. Especially seeing a game with Brian and his Papa (and even getting photo bombed by the Whitecaps staff…). With the minor league season rapidly winding down, we will definitely try to catch at least one more game in Kentucky. Here’s a video for y’all.
Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: I know nobody is reading this post because they care about the game, or to look at my game photos, so I’ll mostly just show the greatest mascot of all time, the Famous San Diego Chicken. That being said, it was another hot and sunny day here in the ‘Ville, so we bought seats up in the shaded portion of the stadium. As we were in the shade, though, and it being so sunny, I didn’t even get the field to show up in our selfie below (but you can see that Brian did have his Chicken and Buddy plushies ready for action). I did get a good shot of the field once the game started, though.
Ok, more of the Famous Chicken! He puts on a fantastic show, and if you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing him perform, I highly recommend it. He’s had many years to perfect his craft, and does some of the greatest skits I’ve seen at the ballpark. Some of them have the umpires and players involved, also, and it’s so much fun. I think the fact that Ted Giannoulas has played the one and only Chicken since 1979, adds to the aura of one of the first, and the greatest, mascot in history. Every time he’s on the field, he has the fans attention at all times. You just never know what this guy will do next.
Ok, there was a ballgame going on through all this, so I will give a short re-cap. It was a pitchers duel for sure, but we did see some great defensive plays throughout the game, also. The Bats took a 1-0 lead in the third, when Jose Peraza base hit scored Juan Perez. Unfortunately in the eighth inning, Peraza’s throwing error allowed the Clippers to tie the game. On the hill for Louisville, right-hander Tim Adleman pitched seven innings, allowing six hits and striking out a season high eight batters. Into the 10th inning, Kyle Waldrop made one of those amazing defensive plays when he slammed himself into the wall making an amazing catch with two-outs to save the game. Also in the 10th, Peraza would find himself up to bat once again, and he atoned for his error with an infield base hit to score Perez for the walk-off win. J.J. Hoover earned the victory only giving up one hit and striking out two. FINAL in 10: Bats 2, Clippers 1.
Even with the Chicken in the house, we still have much love for Buddy Bat!
And the Chicken was awesome, he met with his fans and signed autographs for free! I got Brian a photo to have signed, and the Chicken even signed his plushie. As most mascots seem to be mute, the Chicken was more than happy to chat with his fans. I told him that I was a big fan, as I used to watch The Baseball Bunch every Saturday morning as a kid. He was great with Brian, and we got a couple of nice photos with him. A great day, a great ballgame, and another reason to feel blessed and lucky.
Here are a couple of videos of the Famous San Diego Chicken and his antics. Brian filmed the first part of this one, but he did his best:
Another short one:
Videos and photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Bats vs. Indianapolis Indians (International League)
Louisville 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??!
It 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.
The 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.
On 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.
A 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:
Louisville Bats vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (International League)
Louisville 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.
It 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.
It 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: