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:

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14 Forever

Cincinnati Reds vs. San Diego Padres (National League)

27648843650_f9e7ac8140_zGreat American Ballpark-Cincinnati, OH:  What a day for fans of Pete Rose!  And what a weekend, for that matter.  We were lucky enough to be in attendance when the Reds retired Pete Rose’s #14 on Sunday.   It was a hot day, but worth to be in the presence of some of the greatest players in history, including Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, and Barry Larkin.  His induction into the Reds Hall of Fame, and his jersey retirement were a long time coming, so the crowd was pretty hot for Pete, also.  Rose gave a great speech, and was very humble, and thankful to his teammates, manager Sparky Anderson, and especially to the fans.  Here is the video I took of his speech:

Here are some more photos of the ceremony.  The Hit King looks calm and cool as always, even in the 95 degree heat!  I like the one where he’s about to give Bench a good bro-hug!

27648864620_a34646e2d5_z27314306163_6caf9bfb43_z27893142806_9bba8ce28f_z27648924610_4b1f9af768_zAfter the ceremony, the game got underway.  It was a good one for Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani.  He pitched eight scoreless innings, while scattering only five hits, and struck out five.  DeSclafani even knocked in a run to help his own cause!  Closer Tony Cingrani came into the game to close the door, and ensure Cincinnati’s first shut-out of the season.

27893198096_6b056cf29a_z27893204786_ec417fc9ee_zAnother big winner of the day, was Mr. Redlegs during the mascot race:

27315351024_b0948ab816_z27850515111_e91053abdc_z27314425693_79a098a0ac_zThe Reds were led offensively by Jose Peraza, who went 2-4 with a run scored and a stolen base.  Catcher Tucker Barnhart pitched in as well, going 2-3 with a walk and an RBI double.  Jay Bruce also added a solo home run in the win.  FINAL:  Reds 3, Padres 0.

27315319804_2edb36757a_z27314437103_b78a034dbb_z27314433433_c7741676bc_zDespite the heat, it was a fun day at Great American Ballpark.  I’m glad I was there to witness Charlie Hustle’s  jersey retirement, and a rare Reds win.  I was only able to score tix for the upper level to this game, but made sure my buddy and I were in the first row, so I was able to get some decent photos.  On my way home, I went up and down the dial, but just couldn’t find WKRP on the radio…

27309276563_5dca361e79_zVideo and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

 

We Are the Champions!!!

27743469782_7a51870636_zWalsh Park-La Grange, KY: I honestly don’t know where to start!  First off, I guess we can congratulate the Mariners on winning the North Oldham Little League Rookie Division championship!  It was not an easy road, and there were many good teams in this league.  The Mariners finished third in their division and received a first round bye.  They faced the Indians in the quarter-finals, and won by the score of 4-2, with Brian getting the game-winning RBI.  In the semi-finals, they went against the Royals, a team they haven’t beat all year.  The Mariners won a tough battle, however, winning 6-4 on a hot 90 degree day at noon, to head to the championship.  The Mariners were down 5-0 in the first, then battled back for the win.  Their opponent in the final game was the Padres, the team that won the division in the regular season.  This time it was the Mariners who jumped out to a lead, 3-0 in the first, then added a pair in the middle innings.  The Padres stormed back in the fifth, scoring four runs, but the M’s held them off in the sixth for a 5-4 championship victory!  Here are a couple of shots of Brian in the final:

27712353932_2339a95ef0_b27769216971_0161ac08dd_zThe championship aside, though, I still believe this team was the best fit for Brian.  The coaches never preached winning, but focused on having the kids be positive, work hard, and have fun playing the game of baseball.  From there, the winning just sort of took care of itself.  I really think Brian learned more about being part of a team and earning something you’ve worked hard for, as much as he did about the game of baseball.  Their coach told the boys to enjoy this, as it may be the only championship they ever win, and he could be right about that.  My last year in Little League was the one and only time I’ve seen glory in all my years of playing. I’m glad he’s tasted victory, but if he keeps on playing and loving this game, it’s sure to break his heart at some point.  But that’s something I’ll start preparing for next year.  This big win sparked him to want to play Fall Ball and to keep working hard at the sport, so that gives us something to look forward to in a couple of months.

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

27712346392_eb19a555e4_z27201524584_ed1bf97dcc_z27535292550_440a201aed_zHere’s a video of the final out!  You can see Brian charging in from the outfield ready to celebrate!

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Father’s Day Fun

Louisville Bats vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (International League)

27172370434_e0f024616f_zLouisville 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.

27172370904_d71c7e1e85_z27172370684_2bfbcb5690_zIt 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.

27709633001_61078f378b_z27683669032_29d39f44e6_zIt 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:

Video 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

Seeing Reds

Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals (National League)

27487344795_e6719bf9d8_zGreat American Ballpark-Cincinnati, OH:  I have a new best friend, and it’s name is Seat Geek.  It’s nice to live in an area where you don’t have to make plans too far out, as there are many places to catch a ballgame, and some days you have choices.  When I woke up early Sunday morning, I checked out my app, and found fourth row tickets to the Cincinnati Reds game for only $9 each.  I know the Reds aren’t exactly having the best season, but this was still a good deal in my mind, since it’s a ballpark we’ve never been to before.  It was a day game, so God forgive me, we missed church, and drove just over an hour to Newport, KY.  Now, Newport is a nice little town right on the Ohio River right across from Cincy, and after lunch were able to take a boat shuttle across the river to the game.  It was pretty awesome, and only $5 a person.  It’s better than paying and dealing with a parking garage, anyway.

27452930566_ea9a52fc6c_z

A quick video:

The Great American Ballpark is a beautiful stadium, and it has a great baseball atmosphere.  We were able to poke around a bit before the game, as there is lots to see once inside. Brian liked the play area, and especially the little fan ball field that he was able to play on.

27388392432_77912139e9_zWe made it to our seats, and I was more than happy with our view! These are the kind of seats I’m used to at the Minor League venues. The boys were pretty much in ‘awe’, as this is the biggest stadium that they have ever been to.

26878323724_3ce932d8ba_z27452929326_0248537cfc_z26878327264_b35a96b0dd_zBrian has a new best friend, too, and his name is Eugenio Suarez.  When he was in the Detroit system, we saw him play as a member of the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps, and Brian just happened to be wearing a ‘Caps shirt.  Suarez noticed it (I’m guessing, really, don’t know for sure, but..) he looked at Brian and threw him a game ball.  Not bad, kid, a ball at your first MLB game!

26878325664_f50276c0fc_z26879694684_a7e6edd0fb_zBrian made another friend, too, as he noticed Mr. Redlegs up on he concourse, and of course, we had to run up there for a photo op with him!

Brian with Mr. Redlegs
Brian with Mr. Redlegs

Oh, yeah, and all this time, there was a ballgame going on, too.  The Reds actually jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the 2nd inning.  Pitcher Jon Moscot couldn’t hold the lead for his team, however, as the Nationals got all over him in the fourth inning scoring five, then the Nats scored five more over the next two innings.  Moscot got the hook, but Daniel Wright didn’t do much better, giving up three runs in 1.1 innings and he ended up taking the loss.

27454451086_306dbe48b4_z27212070570_a8c32d9bb3_z26881181203_fdd8ef4954_zThe Reds really made a comeback, however, scoring three runs in the seventh and one in the ninth to cut the lead to one. Tyler Holt lead the way offensively, going 3-5 with two RBI’s.  Jay Bruce chipping in, going 1-3 with two RBI’s and two runs scored, while Brandon Phillips added three hits and an RBI.   FINAL: Reds 9, Nationals 10.

27417120661_7466a21cb8_z27390074422_5c3673c06e_z26879839954_f24102900d_zI also have to give a shout out to Kyle Waldrop, who we saw play in Louisville last month:

27417167111_a0c706cded_zAlso, I didn’t forget to take another video of the game and ballpark. I can’t wait until our next game here!

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STAR WARS NIGHT-Episode VI: Return of the Bats

Louisville Bats vs Columbus Clippers (International League)

27148537336_b17546d457_zLouisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  It’s that time of the year again, and a change in venue couldn’t keep me from taking my scruffy-looking nerf-herders to Star Wars night.  This year is our first here in Louisville, and they put on a pretty good show for the kids.  Due to an accident on the freeway, we got to the game about a half hour late, so Brian missed out on his free light-saber (not that he doesn’t have an arsenal of them at home..).  But, the weather was perfect, and my friend Darryl visiting from Ohio got us great seats behind the first base dugout.  They had the Star Wars characters on the field before the game, and throwing out some first pitches.

26907083280_060fb54c22_z27113264091_af7ed87b98_zWe watched a few innings of the game, which turned out to be a pitchers duel, sort of… Chad Rogers got the start for the Bats, and he ended up pitching four shut-out innings.  He gave up only five hits on the night, while walking two, and striking out three.

26575884544_3e44d1beb0_z27086431852_1441792830_z26907086520_c0121642d8_zWhen the Star Wars characters started making their way to the concourse, the boys and I decided to join them.  First of all, Brian was really happy just to finally meet the Bat’s mascot, Buddy Bat!

Brian and Buddy Bat
Brian and Buddy Bat

We then were able to see some of the Star Wars guys, with Brian getting in with an Imperial Speeder Bike Trooper, and Trevor and I were happy to see Boba Fett, who is our favorite and we missed him last year.

27066624992_978af23319_z26555799874_e837f906a7_z27093321461_02e75ec866_zBack to the game. A 0-0 tie doesn’t sound all that exciting, but this was a great game to watch.  Both teams had runners in scoring position multiple times without being able to push a run home.  Louisville actually had the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth, and were unable to score.  Pair that with a gorgeous night for baseball, and we didn’t mind at all going into extra innings!  The game finally came to an end in the 11th, when Seth Mejias-Brean smacked a two-run homer to win the game and send the crowd home happy.  Relief pitcher Wandy Peralta picked up his first win of the season, and Kyle Waldrop added a pair of doubles in the game. FINAL: Louisville 2, Clippers 0, 11 innings.

DSC04860DSC04868 (2)27093319031_af7a5fbbfa_zThis game was as much fun at a ballgame that I’ve had in some time.  It was a great time spent with the boys and my best friend, and it’s always good to be surrounded by other knowledgeable baseball fans.  If the weather could be like this every game, I would be more than happy.  I’m sure we’ll be making another trip to Louisville Slugger Field, too, and to some other teams in the area.  I did remember to take a quick video, too, hoping the Bats would win it in the ninth.

Video and photos property of Minoring in Baseball