Whitecaps SnOwpening Day

West Michigan Whitecaps vs. South Bend Cubs (Midwest League)

26271459721_828e34229b_zFifth Third Ballpark-Comstock Park, MI:  For our last game in Michigan for awhile, mother nature really dumped on us, and it’s hard not to take this personally.  For the Whitecaps home opener, it was a balmy 36 degrees, but honestly at least the sun was out and the game wasn’t cancelled.  We wanted to make sure we were one of the first 1,000 through the gate, so we could claim our replica 2015 Midwest League championship rings.

26245268852_efa26afb62_zUnfortunately, do to the field conditions and cold, they cancelled the on field catch and autograph session.  They never opened the play ground, either, and really cheesed Brian off.  At least we were able to see all three of the ‘Caps mascots one more time, as they entertained the kids until game time.

Brian with Roxy the River Rascal
Brian with Roxy the River Rascal
Brian and I with Frankie the Swimming Pig
Brian and I with Frankie the Swimming Pig
And, finally, Brian with Crash the River Rascal
And, finally, Brian with Crash the River Rascal

The team also had all six of West Michigan’s Midwest League championship trophies on display.  The time finally passed, and while we were basking in the sun, the club had a little presentation of the newest trophy.

26337666795_068f5926a5_z25734786193_8f9e331a28_z26245282022_25139fe837_z26064680710_235428d9eb_zBefore the game, we took a walk over to watch the ‘Caps warm up, and I got a couple of pics of starting pitcher Matt Hall (22) and outfielder Cam Gibson (23), son of Tiger great Kirk Gibson.

26311617146_c777c62c3c_z26311607796_ceace1f58c_zAs you can see, the Whitecaps have added extended netting all the way across the dugout, and this really screws up my world as a baseball fan. Watching and trying to take pictures through this netting simply sucks, in my opinion.  I do understand it’s for safety, but if some fans can’t keep off their iPhones during gameplay, or have small children, they need to pay attention or sit in a less dangerous area.

26064633790_45b3c7d64c_z26271289861_4632a6afc9_zDue to the cold, the game itself seemed to be a little sloppy, although a few of the batters were given an ‘hit’ on a ball that would probably normally be an error.  The Whitecaps could seem to get a big hit with players in scoring position either, with Brett Pirtle scoring their first run on a passed ball.  On the bump, Hall pitched four innings, giving up one run on five hits, while striking out two.  Relief pitcher Toller Boardman gave up three runs for West Michigan to take the loss, however.

25732821424_b908389aa7_z26271281021_8134d034ef_zTrailing 5-1 going into the ninth, the ‘Caps made it a little interesting, score a pair of runs, but it was too little too late. Offensively, Pirtle ended up going 1-3 with a walk and two runs scored.  First baseman Will Allen and left fielder Rashad Brown each went 2-4, with Allen adding an RBI.  I also had to take another walk to find a place for a few more photo not obstructed by the netting.  Final: Whitecaps 3, Cubs 5.

26337529165_9c42ff695a_z26064601490_8e1bbb2ee5_zDespite the cold and the everything, it was still a fun day at the ballpark.  Again, the watching the game through all that netting isn’t as enjoyable, and Brian was bummed all game that they never opened the playground, but still a better time than doing anything anywhere else.  We’ll be pretty busy the next couple of weeks, and can’t wait to be settled and at home in a new ballpark.  I’ll sign off for now with a video of the game:

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Little Lakers Clinic #3

25345494793_d735836c9a_zLake Superior State University-Sault Ste. Marie, MI:  Last week Brian participated in his last clinic hosted by the Lake Superior State Lakers softball team.  Pictured above, is him acting silly with two of his favorite players.  They are always really nice to him, and were sad to hear that he’s moving away.  Brian had a good time running through the basic drills and hitting off of the tee.  He tired out a bit in the second hour of the clinic, though. I’ve always appreciated the clinics and camps that the Lady Lakers have made available to both the girls and boys throughout the years.  Lily started attending when she was young, with her brother following suit.  I’m sure we’ll take advantage of all the camps down in Kentucky with all of the colleges and pro teams in the area.  This has also been an fairly easy winter up here, so we’re really hoping the Lakers are able to play their first home game in four years, so we can see them one last time.

25341529604_1e11ebcdd0_kPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

Fueling up in Indy

Indy Fuel vs Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL)

25554560115_151f7081e4_zIndiana Farmer’s Coliseum-Indianapolis, IN: While driving back to Michigan last weekend, we decided to stop in Indy for fuel. I mean, Fuel.  Minor league hockey, like baseball, is a great family friendly affordable fun, so we were definitely lucky to catch this East Coast Hockey League game.  It was Racing Night, and Trevor was able to meet Indy car driver Conor Daly before the game.

25461815871_dea3c41554_zThe Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum is a nice venue to watch a game, and I have to admit, the Fuel entrance was pretty amazing.

25258948260_27a03289d8_z24934379144_b0a5376696_zThe game itself was fun, and they had a few fun things going on between periods.  The visiting Cyclones took it to the home team, though. Sam Jardine scored the lone goal for the Fuel in the loss. The number one star of the game was Cincy goalie Andy Iles with 30 saves. This is definitely a fun place to stop, and I’m sure we’ll be using Indy as a resting point many times on our trips between Kentucky and Michigan. Final: Fuel 1, Cyclones 5.

25538726536_4aa0f6827f_z25197315039_e4cb46aefd_z25538693096_aec04c1195_z25269227370_1e90e3c3e7_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

The first of many in the ‘Ville

Louisville Cardinals vs Princeton Tigers (NCAA)

25514363015_174ff8645f_zJim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY:  While down in Louisville doing some business, we had time to take in our first Cardinals baseball game.  The weather didn’t feel a whole lot different than Michigan, in the high 30’s and cool, but I’m definitely not going to complain if I’m able to watch baseball in March.  Jim Patterson Stadium is a great college facility, and I honestly can’t believe that the games are free here. We settled in behind the Louisville dugout, and watched about half of the game from there.  The netting extends to the end of the dugout, so it was hard to get any great pics from this vantage point. We moved to the other side of the stadium, and I was able to get a few from that angle. I’m not a huge fan of too much netting, but that’s another story altogether.  Despite the cold (which I’m used to) it was a fun game to watch and a good distraction from everything else that’s going on in my life right now.

25146811109_700a2b519c_z25564981115_2d63506efa_z25472218281_4634f251e1_zOn to the game itself, I was happy to see that Kyle Funkhouser was on the bump for the Cards.  He ended up with the win, and tied his career-high with 12 strikeouts on the afternoon. He allowed two runs on four hits, and only walked one batter. Funkhouser also retired the last 11 batters that he faced. In relief, Lincoln Henzman came into the game and pitched two shutouts innings to earn the save.  Louisville was led offensively by sophomore third-baseman Blake Tiberi, who was 2-4 with an RBI.  Sophomore DH Brendan McKay pitched in with a double and a pair of RBI’s himself, while junior second-baseman Nick Solak had a single, RBI, and two walks.  It was a fun afternoon, and good to get our first game in.  I’m sure there will be plenty more that we’ll attend with the quality of baseball and free admission. I’m hoping to make at least one game in Michigan before we get down here and settled, but the next couple of months will be crazy for us, for sure. Final score: Louisville 4, Princeton 2.

24934439204_cb2064ba58_z25514369065_1e2e3a2ac9_z25538777426_1380bfdbd7_z25538769836_154fc5fa44_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

Little Lakers Clinic #2

25176347166_55cb05b46a_zLake Superior State University-Sault Ste Marie, MI:  This week Brian participated in the second of three clinics the Lake Superior State softball team hosted.  Brian was the only boy in the clinic again, but the players always have fun with him.  They started out taking some ground balls, and then worked on some fly balls.  The kids always love the obstacle courses, too. They like to compete with each other and it’s good that they get to run around since they can’t play outside in the weather up here.   Then they played some other games that worked on their speed and agility before hitting the cage.

25109433361_71f13075a2_zAs usual, Brian is a boss in the batting cage. He hit well, but is his own worse critic. Getting him to relax and have fun is the real challenge, as he feels he should be pounding the ball every pitch.  I didn’t help that we had a busy weekend with little sleep, so that made him a little grumpy as well. The joys of being a parent, I guess.   The kids ended the clinic with more games, and Brian had the chance to don his tools of ignorance for a little while to take some pitches.  The Lady Lakers will be hosting one more clinic next month.

24572013284_db01ee4bbc_zHere’s a video of Brian in the cage:

 

Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball

Dive in! Loons unveil new logo and uniforms

24728421270_65a8aab510_zDow Diamond-Midland, MI: On Saturday the Great Lakes Loons kicked off their 10th season with an event to unveil their new logo and uniforms.  The concourse at Dow Diamond was able to be enclosed, and we were able to enjoy the presentation, along with all of the other activities, in relative comfort.  The presentation started with a video that showed some of the highlights of the first nine seasons of Loons baseball.  Then the new logos were revealed, all together, and then they went over each one. My favorite is probably the Loon with the fishing hat. In won’t show each one individually, but you can see them all between the top and lower photo of Brian and I.

24714864210_8c7e766061_zWe also got a good look at all of the new Loons uniforms that the team will be wearing when they take the field this season. Here are the road uniforms:

24397080303_ca8278a61f_zHere are the alternate uniforms, and these are my favorite:

24728399220_c1bf41683f_zAnd finally, the new home uniforms, along with the mascots’ new look, also:

24728392130_589b5b0f93_z24397018583_b048aaffdf_zThe mascots, Lou E. Loon and Ral E. Camel, did a nice job of getting around and spending some time with the kids and older fans alike.

24984045476_d49d584793_z24984046986_93f2ad6f3d_kAlso on hand for the event, the Loons hired fire-twirling-guys and some guys-juggling-on-stilts-guys. They were a big hit, and the fire guy even did some sword swallowing. Creepy…

24714934060_61f0a03537_z24905813512_1c6c5ac9d8_zAnd what kid doesn’t like to get his face painted? Especially of the American Flag…that’s my boy! And just for the heck of it, a look at a snowy Dow Diamond.

24984045256_d6b9016bc9_z24642739169_3b25b97357_zWe ended the day both taking some cuts in the batting cages. Brian and I were both able to experience this back when I played the fantasy game here, but it’s always fun to get some swings in, especially in winter when it’s -15 outside!

24984040016_6100fa1bf7_z25023805965_560398c4c1_zAnd for the grand finale, if Brian’s baseball career doesn’t take off, he could always make it as an announcer or color commentary…

Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball

 

 

 

Ballpark Review: Louisville Slugger Field

24623710006_defb0a449c_zPlanning our baseball trip for this coming summer, we decided to once again make a stop at Louisville Slugger Field in Kentucky. Our last trip there was way back in 2009, a tour that took to South Bend, Indianapolis, Louisville, Fort Wayne, then back to Michigan with Lansing in a nice clean loop. Unfortunately, shortly after that trip the chip that all the photos were saved on became ‘corrupted’ and I lost all but a very few I had already posted way back when I first started M.I.B.  I did, however, find a few photos that my dad took using ‘film’.  This ‘film’, as it’s called, somehow stores pictures in this little plastic thing, and then he has to take it to a store, and actually WAIT to see what they look like. Can you imagine having to wait over an hour to see the pictures you took?  Anyway, here are a few that I was able to find, and Louisville Slugger Field is a great place to watch a ballgame.  I wish I could have found one of the stadium’s façade, as it’s built into an old rain station and is absolutely amazing.  Instead we’ll have to settle for a couple of a very young Trevor before he became taller that his dad.  The ballpark is pretty big, with an area out in left field where concerts and parties can take place, rides for the kids, and a playground down the left field line. I really like that parents can see the game from the playground area, so we don’t miss anything while the kids are letting off a little steam.  I even caught a foul ball there while Trevor was busy playing.  I really liked that the concourse wraps all the way around the stadium, also.  There’s not a bad seat in the house, although the seats are structured at such an angle that the ones higher up do feel like your off the field a little too much, but with a larger Triple-A stadium it’s not unexpected.  The overhanging seats from the sky boxes don’t give off much shade, either, so if you see a day game in the summer time, you’re going to be getting plenty of sun.

24023119493_d1c1620dd5_zI really recommend seeing a game here for anyone in the area, and can’t wait to return this summer.  The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is located just down the street, also, so plenty to do in this area.  This summer, our plan is to see games in Louisville, Nashville, Lexington, Bowling Green, and Florence.  This should be a great trip if the weather is nice, and will include the South Atlantic League All-Star game in Lexington.  I actually would have hoped to be transferred to Kentucky by, but things move slowly (if it happens at all…) and if a miracle happens, I’ll already be settled there and ready to go!

A younger Trevor and I at Louisville Slugger Field in 2009
A younger Trevor and I at Louisville Slugger Field in 2009

24023117243_4115dc6626_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

UPDATE: This will be my new home field by this spring!!!!!!!!!!!