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
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!
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: The Louisville Bats had a great idea to wrap up the 2017 for their fans, hosting a movie night at the ballpark. Sitting in the stands or laying out on a blanket on the field with a movie up on the video boards is definitely a promotions most fans were excited about. The only thing that wasn’t exciting, was the movie selection the Bats posted on Facebook that fans could vote on. I honestly can’t even remember every movie listed, but I voted for the ‘Lego Batman Movie’, while the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was the big winner out of the four. I was a little confused why no baseball related movie was listed, especially ‘The Sandlot’, which I thought would be a runaway winner as far as family baseball flicks go. In fact, there was so much outcry to show ‘The Sandlot’ by myself and other fans, the Bats replied on Facebook stating that wasn’t a movie that they had the rights to show.
In all honesty, however, it really didn’t matter what movie they showed. Brian was able to bring a friend to the event, and we laid some blankets and pillows out to enjoy the show. For me, I was just happy to be on the field, and was more intrigued by how perfect the grass was than anything else. I went to buy the kids some popcorn and pop, and was really pleasantly surprised at the great turnout for the event.
This turned out to be a really fun event, and the movie wasn’t all that bad, I guess, but the kids enjoyed it and that’s what counts. I think in all there was a lot of positive feedback from the fans, so I’m confident the Bats will hold more of these events. Maybe ‘The Sandlot’ next time, though…. What family baseball movie would you all like to see on the big screen at a ballpark? Poll is below!
Promotion courtesy of the Louisville Bats
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Bats vs. Rochester Red Wings (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: This was such a bitter-sweet game, as it was the last Bats game for us this season. It’s hard to believe the season, and summer, has gone by so quickly, but here we are, ready to say goodbye to Louisville Slugger Field for a while. A good way to send us off, though, is the Bats held their autograph day for their last weekend home series. Brian was excited to meet the players and get his baseball signed. Most of the players were good with the kids, coach Jody Davis was great with the fans, while new-comer Scott Van Slyke skipped over some kids to sign a folder full of cards (look them up on eBay!!!).
It was another warm day, so we made sure to get seats out of the sun. While the weather was warm, the Bats’ bats were hot. Alex Blandino and Brandon Dixon hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, while Scott Van Slyke hit a RBI single to put Louisville up 3-0. Dixon had a career game for the Bats, going 4-5 with three home runs, a double, and seven RBI’s in the game. He was a big part of the Bats’ seven run fourth inning, chasing top Twins prospect Stephen Gonsalves.
On the mound for Louisville, Rookie Davis earned the win, throwing six innings, giving up five runs on six hits, while striking out four. Evan Mitchell came in to take care of the last three innings, giving up one run and striking out one. FINAL: Bats 13, Red Wings 6.
Again, a fun day, but sad that it’s our last Bats game of the season. Hopefully this isn’t the end of baseball season as a whole for us, though. Brian starts fall ball this week, the Florence Freedom are in the playoffs, and we hope to catch another Reds game this fall. The Bats are also hosting a movie night next month which should be fun. I’ll leave off with a photo of Brian up on the #BatsBoard after the autograph signing. Remember to add me on SnapChat @minorbaseball to follow the live game action.
Louisville Bats vs. Rochester Red Wings (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Last week Trevor and I took in a rare Friday night game, as I usually work nights. Originally, we had planned on attending the game with other members of our Covenant United Methodist Church, but due to lack of interest, they cancelled the trip. It’s a shame they cancelled it, as I was looking forward to getting to know some of the congregation better because we haven’t been members ourselves for too long, joining a few months after the move. This was a good opportunity for Trevor and I to have a good time together, though, so that’s just what we did! Trevor and I don’t really like to sit still too much at a game, and enjoy checking it out from different vantage points throughout the ballpark. We started out this game in left field, where we sort of had most of the section to ourselves.
Starting to get hungry, we went to hunt down some food. Landing on a ballpark favorite hot dog, we got some really good ones. Trevor being a teen-aged boy, had no problem devouring the massive Grand Slam Dog, while I had the more modest, but still filling, Louisville Slugger Dog.
We took our regular seats to enjoy our food and more of the game, but the Red Wings really did a number on our home town boys. The Bats did all of their scoring in the second inning, scoring two of their four runs off of a Darnell Sweeney (2-5) home run. Chad Wallach went 4-4 on the night, and he and Sweeney had six of the Bats nine hits.
On the mound for Louisville, Luke Farrell only lasted three innings of the game. He allowed six runs on three hits and four walks, while striking out three. The biggest blow was giving up a grand slam in the third. The Bats gave three more runs in each the eighth and ninth inning, to basically get routed. FINAL: Bats 4, Red Wings 10.
Trevor and I ended the game way up in the cheap seats in right field, and it was a decent vantage point to see the field and the city. Despite the loss, it was a fun time and good to see a game with Trevor as the Minor League season is quickly coming to an end. As for my church brothers and sisters, we’ll be back there on Sunday and hope to attend other events.
Louisville Bats vs. Buffalo Bisons (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Last weekend was another first, as this was the inaugural game that I attended alone. Brian was tied up with a friend, Trevor wasn’t feeling well, and Lily was, well, out being Lily. Since there was no one there to entertain me other than the ballplayers, we can get right to the action, or in-action, in the Bats case.
Starting on the mound for Louisville was Cody Reed. He took the loss, going six innings while giving up four runs and striking out five. Leading the way offensively for the Bats was Jesse Winker. He went 2/5 with and RBI. Also helping out were Eric Jagielo and Brandon Dixon, who went 2/4 and 2/3 respectively in the loss. FINAL: Bats 2, Bisons 5.
Louisville Bats vs. Charlotte Knights (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Another gorgeous day here in the ‘Ville, and another Bats game for Brian and I to enjoy. Last weekend the Legos Play Ball Tour was in town for some fun. Brian was able to make some cool Lego vehicles and the kids had the chance to race them, also!
It was a fun way to spend the pre-game, and it kept us out of the heat. The kids were even able to make a baseball player out of Legos and take it home with them, which is cool. I’m sure soon, though, all the parts will just get thrown in his Lego bin.
Starting on the mound for the Louisville was Amir Garrett. He threw six and 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits. He only walked two batters while striking out four. In the ninth inning, the Knights tagged relief pitcher Kevin Shackelford for a pair of runs to take the lead 4-2, but the Bats’ offense wasn’t done yet.
The Bats opened the scoring in the second inning, when Adrian Nieto’s double scored Eric Jagielo. Then in the sixth inning, a Hernan Iribarren double, wild pitch, and error allowed him to scored the tying run. Going into the bottom of the ninth down by two runs, the Bats battled back to load the bases. Four two-out singles scored three runs, including Phillip Ervin’s walk-off winner.
We had a lot of fun at this one, with a good combination of the Legos and the walk-off win. Brian had a good time, and was really into the game at the end, which makes it more fun for me, also. An added bonus was seeing former Louisville Cardinal Zach Burdi on the mound for the Knights, although he did leave the game after facing only a couple of batters for undisclosed reasons. Our next game will be in Cincinnati for my birthday, so that should be a good one!
Louisville Bats vs. Indianapolis Indians (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: We were back at it last weekend for another Bats game. I really wanted to hit 80’s night the day before, but just couldn’t make it happen. That promotion is simply tailor made for me, but Bri and I still had a great time on Sunday. And the weather was perfect for baseball, as it’s been lately. Also, coming in the gate Brian got a free mini-bat from the Louisville Slugger Museum. We already have a few of these, but you can never have too many mini-bats. We’ll be making it back to the museum soon to check out their Lego exhibit, anyway!
On to the game, starting on the mound for Louisville was Cody Reed, who only lasted through the first two innings. He held Indy off the board, though, waling two, striking out three, and giving up one hit. Asher Wojciechowski pitched three innings, giving up one Indian run on four hits while striking out five. Kyle McMyne gave up the only other Indy run, but still earned the win. He pitched two innings and struck out one batter. Earning the save was Kevin Shackelford, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
The Bats scored one run in the first, and went on to take the lead with three in the seventh. Leading the offense for the Bats, was catcher Rob Brantly, who went 2/4 with an RBI. Helping out was Sebastian Elizalde who went 1/3 with an RBI and run scored. Alex Blandino started the scoring for Louisville in the first, and was 1/2 with an RBI and run scored in the game. FINAL: Bats 4, Indians 2.
Another fun day for us, and the Bats had BBoy McCoy, the break dancing bat boy, in attendance to entertain the fans between innings. I still think that break dancing is very cool, and the movie Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo still holds up, today. Unfortunately, the times he was out, we were either at the playground, or I couldn’t get my camera or phone focused in in time to catch a photo or video. I did find a nice video of him on YouTube, though, that I’ll share. I highly recommend seeing him if he’s at a ballpark near you!
Video courtesy of the Skillville Group
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball