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Volunteering in Tennessee

Tennessee Volunteers vs. Belmont Bruins (NCAA)

Lindsey Nelson Stadium-Knoxville, TN:  The first game of our trip this year (not a pure baseball trip, but vacation non-the-less), was a college game in Knoxville.  Knoxville is a beautiful town, and the Tennessee campus is great.  The only real beef I have with this ballpark is that they didn’t let be bring a bag inside.  For many of us that attend games, we know we must have all of our ‘stuff’, including baseball gloves, sun block, camera, rain ponchos, etc.  Working for DHS, I understand safety protocal, but not allowing fans to bring their ‘stuff’ in is simply laziness of the security staff, and not wanting to do their jobs.

On a more positive note, Brian did get a game ball…

As for the game, the Volunteers were hosting another Tennessee team, the Belmont Bruins.  This was a solid game for the home team, as they put up some runs.  Leading the way for the Volunteers were Justin Ammons, who went 2-3 with two runs scored, and Jay Charleston, who went 1-2 with a run scored and three RBI’s.  On the mound, Will Heflin earned the win.  He pitched three innings allowing one run, and striking out one.  FINAL:  Volunteers 6, Bruins 2.

The night ended on a good note, as well, as we were reunited with former West Michigan Whitecaps and Traverse City Beach Bum Ross Kivett, who is now a coach with the Volunteers.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

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Cardinals vs. ChiSox Game 2

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago White Sox (NL/AL)

Busch Stadium-St. Louis, MO:  We were back at Busch the next morning for a day game, and I honestly couldn’t believe how big the crowd was.  There were 38,000 fans the night before, but a day game in the middle of the week drawing 37,000 was amazing.  We got to the ballpark as early as we could, and scarfed down some $10 hot dogs before game time.  We had nice seats in the outfield’s lower level, which gave us a different view of the game.  It was a hot day, but the breeze and cloud cover was our saving grace.

This was another solid game for the home town Cards.  Starting pitcher Carlos Martinez blasted his first ever home run to give St. Louis the early lead.  Dexter Fowler added to that with a two-run homer of his own in the seventh inning.  Martinez pitched a solid 7.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits while striking out five.  Bud Norris earned the four-out save with two strike outs.  The White Sox came back late in the game to make it interesting, but the Cards held on for the win.  Yadi Molina was 2-3 in the game, also.  Final:  Cardinals 3, White Sox 2.

What a fun day, and again I’m blown away from the love and support for this team here in St. Louis.  Despite the cost, these were some fun games to go to, and a must for any baseball fan. St. Louis has some nice areas and fun things to do, so I’ll probably get the kids out this way at some point.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Cardinals vs. ChiSox Game 1

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago White Sox (NL/AL)

Busch Stadium-St. Louis, MO:  After a crazy day and long drive, we finally arrived in St. Louis!  Busch Stadium is a great place to watch a ballgame, but boy was it expensive.  Lucky for us I got really cheap seats off Seat Geek, but every other expense really took it’s toll.  We had some pretty decent seats, though, we were up high but in the front row so we had a great view of all of the action, and able to see the beautiful ballpark.

The game itself was a great one.  The Cardinals took the lead with a Tommy Pham home run, but later lost the lead.  Down 2-1 in the ninth, Matt Carpenter hit a home run to tie the game, then Yadir Molina’s base hit knocked in the winning run for a walk off.  Yadi was 2-4 on the day, and I can really see why Cardinal fans love this guy so much.  On he mound, Michael Wacha got the start, going five innings, giving up two runs on five hits, and striking out three.  Bud Norris would earn he win in relief, pitching one scoreless inning.

A fun game with a great crowd.  Over 38,000 in attendance for a weekday game, and we were all treated to a walk off win.  We would be back at Busch for a day game the next morning.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

R.I.P. Myron Noodelman

The Minor League Baseball community lost a staple at the ballparks this week, in entertainer Myron Noodleman.  Born Rick Hader (Noodleman, or course, was a stage name), he lost his battle with an aggressive form of cancer on Wednesday.  He started performing at ballparks in 1994, and in 2004 was christened the fifth ‘clown prince of baseball’.  Trevor and I had the pleasure of seeing him perform last season at the Frontier League Y’All-Star Game in Florence.  His act was amazingly funny, leaving us in tears every time he took the field or interacted with fans in the stands.  A friend of mine told me a couple of years ago, that I had to see him at a ballgame, and I gave the same advice to other baseball fans after seeing his act.  The ability to make people laugh is an extremely powerful gift.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to him, his family, and friends.

Video and photo property of Minoring In Baseball

Welcome

Lucky number seven! It was seven years ago tonight that I was sitting at work on the midnight shift, not enough to do, and came across the MLBlogs network. I thought it would be fun to start my own blog, and keep track of some of the fun baseball things that the kids and I were doing at the time. There were some really nice people that welcomed me to the MLB ‘blogsphere’ and made me want to keep this hobby going. I’ve seen a lot of blogs and baseball fans come and go over this time, too many to mention, and for that I might have to write an entry all it’s own. A lot has changed for us as a family in the last seven years, also, as Brian has grown from a spunky one-year-old to Little Leaguer, and we now live in a much more baseball friendly area. As sort of a birthday present, I decided to change things up a bit and change the theme for M.I.B. I’m still working on it, but would love any feedback. I decided to take a step back from the MLB themes and see how it goes. As this seventh year has been good to us, I look forward to many more. It’s almost scary to think about what the kids and I will be up too in another seven years, but it should be a fun ride! And thank you to anyone who’s stopped by to read a post or two.

Minoring In Baseball

MILB.jpgWelcome to ‘Minoring In Baseball’. On this blog I will be covering mostly the West Michigan Whitecaps and some other of my favorite Minor League Teams. Every year I go on a baseball trip that takes me to wonderful ballparks around the midwest and gives me the opportunity to meet the great fans that frequent those parks every summer. I’ll be starting out by playing some ‘catch up’ on games and events that have already gone down this season.

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Buckeye Baseball

OSU1Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium/OSU-Columbus, OH: Well, tonight’s the night, when the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Oregon Ducks for the NCAA national football championship. Not having a horse in the race, I did think it was a good chance to show off a few photographs from my visit to Buckeye country this past summer. We had plenty of time to kill before our Columbus Clippers game, so we decided to check out the campus, and that included their baseball stadium. Bill Davis Stadium is really one of the nicest collegiate baseball stadiums that I’ve had a chance to see, though I haven’t been to too many. They have the artificial turf that many of the NCAA teams are going to now, also. I was lucky that they were doing some maintenance work and that the stadium was open for me to poke around and take some pictures. I almost got locked in, though, and I really wasn’t in the mood for climbing fences. It’s too bad I didn’t get to see a game here, as, again, it’s a really beautiful college ballpark, and I’m sure the atmosphere would have been great, especially if they were playing a rival. Our trip was in mid-June, however, and the only college ball being played at the time was in Omaha. I hope to make it back to Columbus for more baseball to catch a Buckeye game, and another Clippers game, as ours was shortened by some rain. Have fun watching the football game tonight.

OSU2OSU3OSU4OSU5OSU6OSU7Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

RubberDucks, you’re the one!

Akron RubberDucks vs. Erie SeaWolves (Eastern League)

ard1Canal Park-Akron, OH: After spending the morning in Erie, we had a pretty easy drive over to Akron. Akron is a nice town, but not much parking in the downtown area. They have the university, hospital, and ballpark all close together. We were in town pretty early, and some lots won’t let you park there until after 5:00, so we settled for a parking garage, and took a little nap. We had a three hour drive back to Michigan after the game, so a little rest couldn’t hurt. After our rest, we got a little hungry and went hunting for food. Canal Park has a resteraunt attached to it called The Game Bar and Grill, so we decided on that. Not only was the food very good, but you can see inside the park (after the gates officially open, you can access it from inside the ballpark), and we could watch the Erie SeaWolves warm up and take some batting practice.

ard2ard3ard4After our meal, it was time to head inside the park and get ready for the game. Canal Park is just a beautiful ballpark, and we would plenty of time to explore it. We decided to get our shopping over with, and I picked up a nice t-shirt for Trevor with his name and number customized on the back. Due to the new name and logo, however, they were sold out of many items, such as pennants. We found our seats, and they were awesome right behind the SeaWolves dugout. The dugouts are pretty open, also, so you can pretty much see everything that’s going on. We also got a visit from Akrons mascot, Webster the duck, who looks pretty Disney like.

ard6ard7ard8There was also a Vintage Base Ball game taking place in the outfield, so we watched that for a bit, also.

ard5I then went out to the right field area, where the ballpark entrance to The Game is located. There is lots of room out that way, and not only holds the kids play area, but they had a live concert also, with Wild Ave belting out some classic ’80’s rock tunes.

ard.panoard9ard10Back in our seats, I was ready to enjoy some great Double-A baseball, as the clock was turn to 7:05 pm. And then the rain came. And it didn’t stop. Not for two hours. The grounds crew was able to get the tarp on the infield pretty quickly, and the outfield looked like it was draining pretty well. I really give the RubberDucks credit, that they don’t jump the gun and cancel games too early, and they do their best to keep the fans entertained during the rain delay. Both mascots were available for pictures with the fans (the old Akron Aeros mascot Orbit joined Webster), the had games for the kids, and used the video board for entertainment. My favorite is the ‘Baseball Bugs’ cartoon, where Bugs Bunny plays every position. Classic… We are also able to watch some of the College World Series live. And did you notice all of the rubber ducks on the tarp? Awesome!

ard11ard23ard12After a mere 2 1/2 hour delay, we finally had baseball! The teams still went through their pre-game routine which took some time, but eventually the RubberDucks took the field, and the SeaWolves went to bat. The home team finally did some ass-kicking, but unfortunately, we were kind of rooting for Erie in this game. Third baseman Corey Jones lead the way offensively for Erie, going 2-3 with his teams only RBI. Outfielder Jason Krizan went 2-4, also. On the hill, Tommy Collier took the loss for the SeaWolves. For the hometown Akron squad, DH Bryan LaHair had three RBI’s off of his only hit, which was a double. First baseman Jake Lowery went 3-4 in the game, also. The winning pitcher was Joseph Colon for the ‘Ducks. Due to the weather delay and our long drive ahead, we only stayed for about five innings before hitting the road. I’d love to make another trip back to Canal Park. It’s a wonderful place to watch a game, and they treat the fans well. Final: RubberDucks 7, SeaWolves 1.

ard13ard14ard15ard16ard17ard18ard19ard20ard21ard22Here’s a video from the last game of your 2014 Baseball Trip!:

All photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball

Don’t give up the Ship

Erie SeaWolves vs. Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League)

sw3Jerry Uht Park-Erie, PA: It’s always fun to see some Detroit Tiger affiliates, and in the SeaWolves I know I would be seeing some players who did some time in West Michigan. Jerry Uht Park is located in downtown Erie, but parking isn’t too bad for its location. We got there plenty early and waited for the gates to open. The team store is right in front of you when you walk in, so we did some shopping and got a t-shirt, pennant, pen, and a C. Wolf plush for Brian. The layout of the ballpark is very unique. Down the third base side, there is an upper level, separated by a walk-way. This is where the press box and suites are located. Behind home plate is pretty open, and down the first base side, there is actually an elevated upper deck. This is fairly rare compared to the other Double-A Eastern League games we’ve been too. The ballpark only holds 4,200, which is small, but it’s intimate, and hard not to fall in love with. I had plenty of time before the game to explore and get some pre-game photos.

sw4sw.panosw5sw6sw7sw8sw10We also got to meet the mascot, C. Wolf, and got a photo with him. He was a very active mascot and really is a hit with the fans, especially the younger ones, and there where plenty there for a Sunday matinée.

sw1sw9The game itself wasn’t too pretty for the home SeaWolves. Starting pitcher Jeff Ferrell went five innings, giving up six earned runs on nine hits, and striking out four. Relief pitcher Jose Valdez gave up one more run in the ninth. Offensively, the SeaWolves got off to a good start with a home run blast by Steven Moya, who was 1-3 on the day. Marcus Lemon and Dean Green each went 2-4 on the day, also. Outfielder Jason Krizan went 1-4, but knocked in two RBIs.

sw11sw12sw13sw14sw15sw16sw19sw20Erie has some fun between inning activities, also, such as the bouncy horse race and the hot dog/sausage race.

sw17sw18For the last two innings, we moved to the upper deck on the third base side to get a different perspective of the game, and get some other photos.

sw21sw22sw23We ended the game by playing some catch on the field. I really enjoyed the game at Jerry Uht Park, and this is a team I would really love to come and watch again. Highly recommended for any minor league baseball fan. Final: SeaWolves 3, Flying Squirrels 7.

sw25sw24Here’s another video from my YouTube channel:

All photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball

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