Louisville Bats vs. Toledo Mud Hens (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Another beautiful day at the ballpark, and this time we had Pirates and Princesses on hand to entertain the kids. Lily went through a Disney princess stage when she was younger, so I’m familiar with Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, but I don’t know the name of the newer one, the Frozen one. As far as the pirates go, Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Hook were there for some looting and pillaging.
The Bats were hosting the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate, Toledo Mud Hens, so my allegiance was a little torn. The Mud Hens, however, jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first inning, and really never looked back. Tyler Collins hit a three run blast to help the Hens out in that first inning, as Toledo sent all nine hitters to the plate. For the Bats, Dilson Herrera answered with a two-run homer of his own to cut into the lead in the second inning. In the fourth inning, and Matt den Dekker triple, a JaCoby Jones double, and a Bats’ error restored the five run lead for the Mud Hens. That was about it for the offence in the game, so Brian and I went to meet the pirates. Lucky for us, the line was a lot shorter than the one for the princesses.
On the mound for the Bats, Sal Romano took the loss, throwing five innings and allowing seven runs on 10 hits. Matthew Boyd got the win for Toledo, pitching six innings and giving up two runs on five hits while striking out five. FINAL: Bats 2, Mud Hens 7.
Another fun day for Brian and I at the ballpark. There were tons of kids at this game, especially girls, for the princesses, which made the line to run the bases really long. Brian opted not to run, and really, he was just playing on the field the day before. Rough loss for the Bats, but this one I didn’t mind as much…
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Last weekend the Bats hosted a youth camp sponsored by the local Chevy dealerships. Members of the Division III Spalding University baseball team were also on hand to help teach the kids. After warm-ups, Brian’s group went to play a game of wiffle ball with some Golden Eagles to start things off.
After the wiffle ball game, his next station was in the outfield catching fly balls. The players were hitting the baseballs much higher than the kids were used to seeing, but most did a good job of catching them, anyway.
After working on the pop-fly’s, the groups worked on fielding the ball off of the wall. This is something the kids haven’t dealt with much at their age. They had some good drills, and made a game of it. After that, their next station was catching. One of the Bats coaches was running this one, and you could tell he was an old-school baseball guy. He didn’t put up with much from any of the kids (and Brian did have a few smart-asses in his group), and expected them to hustle and work hard. Nothing wrong with that. I didn’t get any good pics of the last two stations, so we’ll move onto base-running. The boys worked on running through the base, and making that hard turn toward second.
I wasn’t able to follow him down to the indoor batting cages, but he said he hit the ball pretty well. No surprise, as that’s probably the strongest aspect of his game. I did snap a shot of him in the dugout, though!
Then it was time to gather at the short-stop position for some ground balls. Brian has gotten a lot better at fielding over the last couple of seasons. I was having fun just seeing him out there on the field. They had a little problem with some bullying in their group, but the Bats official put a stop to that asap. Sometimes you get some kids from the same team in these groups, and think they can push kids around and run the show.
The last station was pitching. Brian will be entering the kid-pitch division for the first time this fall, so this was good instruction he was getting. He needs some help with his throwing mechanics, any, so this station was good for him.
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Bats vs. Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Bri and I back at Slugger Field, but this time for more Bats baseball. This game they were hosting the Iron Pigs, which Brian thought was hilarious, and kept making jokes about all night. Yep, that’s my guy…
It was another beautiful night, as Robert Stephenson took the mound for the Bats. He threw a perfect four innings, giving up no hits or runs. The Louisville offense came alive in the fifth inning, however, starting out with a Brandon Dixon solo home run. Hernan Iribarren would later smack a two-run single, extending his team’s lead to 3-0.
Brian and I needed a little snack during the game, again, and this time went with some Kizito cookies. The cookie lady walks around the ballpark with a basket of cookies on her head, and it’s hard to say no! The cookies are really good and priced right, also, which helps to feed hungry kids.
Brian also got a foul ball, and we picked one up in the gift shop with the retro logo on it. It gave us something to throw around at the game, anyway:
The wheels fell of a bit for the Bats in the eight inning, though, as the Iron Pigs tapped relief pitcher Kyle McMyne for four runs on four hits to take the lead. Louisville tied the game at the bottom of the inning, after Phillip Ervin’s base hit that scored Stuart Turner. With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Sebastian Elizade hit an infield single to bring home Zach Vincej for the walk-off win! FINAL: Bats 5, Iron Pigs 4.
Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Brian and I settled in for the second game, and were pleased with this one, also, as we were looking for another Bats victory. To start the game off right, though, we had to get ourselves some ballpark treats. Brian went with some Flavor Ice and I settled for some simple ice cream in a helmet.
Pitching for the Bats in game two was lefty Ismael Guillon. He pitched three and two thirds of an inning, giving up four hits and one run, but never allowing a base on balls. Louisville did most of their damage in the fourth inning. Beau Amaral hit a bases loaded triple, scoring Sebastian Elizalde, Brandon Dixon, and Rob Brantley. The Bats lead 4-1 after the fourth and hung on for the victory. Final(7): Bats 4, Clippers 3.
We can’t forget that the Zooperstars were still on hand to put on a show. We were able to see Peyton Manatee, Nomar GarciaParrott, and Whale Gretzky. Harry Canary sang ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’ during the seventh inning stretch, but I wasn’t able to snap a photo of that.
Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Well, we finally made it back to Slugger Field for some Bats baseball. Usually with us the rain is a pain, but last weekend it actually helped, as Saturday nights game was rained out, so we were able to enjoy a double-header on Sunday. The first game moved by quickly, but we enjoyed it and cheered on our team.
As is with most minor league double-headers, they are a seven inning games, and this one was a pitchers duel. For the Bats, starter Jackson Stephens pitched all seven innings for a complete game shut out. He gave up seven hits, but gave up no walks in his outing. And while we were watching all of the non-offense, Brian was enjoying his free kids meal of a hot dog, nachos, and root beer.
We finally saw some excitement in the final inning. The Bats had back-to-back singles from Sebastian Elizalde and Tony Renda to open the inning. Then Brandon Dixon came to the plate and hit a walk-off single for a 1-0 Louisville victory! Final (7): Bats 1, Clippers 0.
Between games Brian and I went out to the West Wing to get out of the sun for a while. As Sunday is Kids Club day, they had plenty of activities for them. Brian was lucky enough to interact with some of our veterans, and made a poppy flower that will go on a Memorial Day parade float honoring our fallen heroes!
Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Another fun night of baseball, this time back in the ‘Ville. This was the last game my dad would be at on this visit. He plans on coming back next month, though, for some more minor league ball and the ACC Championships. It was a beautiful night, as the weather just seemed to get better as the weekend went along. Brian played on the playground most of the game, but was happy to spend some time with his papa, too.
This was a good game, with the Bats down, but certainly not out. Louisville was lead offensively by catcher Rob Brantly, who went 3-6 with four RBI’s, including a 2-run homer in the seventh and a game tying double in the eighth. Jesse Winker helped out by going 2-4 with an RBI and run scored, and Philip Ervin went 2-5 with two runs scored.
On the mound, Jackson Stephens got the start for Louisville. In four innings pitched, he gave up five runs while striking out four. Luckily the offense and bullpen bailed him out, so he didn’t get the decision. Evan Mitchell ended up taking the loss, though, after giving up the winning run in the 10th. He pitched two innings and gave up three hits. Final in 10: Bats 8, Clippers 9.
Another fun night, with it being capped off with Brian getting to meet Jake the Diamond Dog. We saw him a couple of times last season, as he acted as bat boy and brought water to the umpires. He was hot and tired by the end of the night, though. We look forward to our next game, which will probably be right back here at Louisville Slugger Field.
Louisville Bats vs. Cincinnati Reds (Exhibition)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: We’re so glad that Bats baseball is slowly creeping back into our lives! On Friday night the Bats (sort of) hosted the Cincinnati Reds for an exhibition game. I say ‘sort of’ for the Bats because in all reality, this was a Red’s Futures team, which probably very few from this roster will be actually seeing time in Louisville this summer. Probably more guys from the Reds roster will be here, but it’s still baseball, and it was still a fun game. We got there as early as we could, to get our Adam Duvall bobble-head and our free Reds hats (we still cheered for our ‘Bats’, though). As the Reds were warming up, we noticed catcher Rob Brantly, who we saw play up in Michigan for the Whitecaps. Since they were old pals, Brian decided to go chat with him a bit.
The game was low scoring, with both runs coming in the first two innings. Rookie Davis started on the bump for the Reds. He pitched three innings, allowing one earned run and three hits with two walks, two strikeouts and a hit batsman. Tyler Mahle started for the Bats/Futures team, hurling five solid innings and allowing one run and seven hits with a walk and three strikeouts over 87 pitches. He gave up his only run in the first inning, when Billy Hamilton scored on a Joey Votto base-hit RBI. The Bats scored their lone run on a Aristides Aquino solo home run. Final: Bats 1, Reds 1.
The game didn’t have a lot of action, but still a fun night with Brian. We have tickets for the Reds game on Thursday, but the weather calls for lots of rain, so I’m doubting we’ll get that game in. The Bats also start this week (officially), so we’ll still try to get a game in somewhere, somehow. I’ll leave off with a pic of Brian and Buddy Bat, who we were both glad to see for the first time in 2017!
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Sunday the Louisville Bats held an Open House for their season ticket holders and guests. It was a chance for us to get away to the ballpark, and enjoy a nice day that was just chill. After I picked up my ticket package envelope, we headed to the concession stand to get our free hotdog, popcorn, and pop. And what better place to enjoy these treats than our reserved seats? This will be my view for every Sunday game this season:
When we were done poking around the locker room area, we followed the hallway that lead to the Bats’ dugout. There is something just relaxing about sitting in a dugout for me, it just feels like home somehow. Brings back some good memories of Little League and high school, I guess.
After our rest in the dugout, we took a lap around the outfield. It’s always nice to be on the field, too… We ended our excursion by heading up to check out one of the suites looking over the ballpark. All I can saw is, I’ve seen the suite life, and it is good. If or when I win the Powerball, I now know my first purchase will be to secure one of these suites for my friends, family, and I to enjoy the games. We were able to sample some food up there, also, and it was awesome! Oh, well, I can dream, anyway… We have plans to be back here when the Cincinnati Reds visit town for an exhibition. Please help me pray for good weather!
Florence Mall-Florence, KY: Do to work, I wasn’t able to make to the Red Caravan down in Louisville, so we decided to make the trip to Florence to see the grand finale’ of the event. There was a pretty good crowd already when we got there, but found a place to relax. Brian was able to exert some energy in the kids play area, while Lily and Trevor took time to explore the mall for a bit. The first Reds representatives on hand were the mascots. Of course, it was imperative that Brian got to meet them all and get pictures. He already saw Mr. Redlegs at a game, so here are some of him with Rosie Red and Gapper, and Mr. Red, himself:
About 11:00 a.m. the players arrived. On hand included minor league players: Blake Trahan, Sal Romano, Chris Okey, and Shed Long. Reds alumni: Eric Davis, Tom Browning, Chris Welsh, Jeff Brantley, Corky Miller, and Dmitri Young. Current Reds: Tim Adleman, Tucker Barnhart, Scott Schebler, and Drew Storen. Reds manager Bryan Price was also there, as well as GM Dick Williams, and President & CEO Bob Castellini. The Q&A portion was fun for the adults, but the kids didn’t show much interest. When the players finally came down to interact with the fans, thing got a little more fun.
To be honest, we didn’t even stand in line to meet the major league players. The line was much too long, and not worth it yet for Brian, as he doesn’t really know the players yet, anyway. We’re more of a minor league family, anyway, so we met those guys first. As you would expect, they were all very nice and happy to sign Brian’s Reds baseball. They offered cool photos with them and the alumni against a green screen, and have the Great American Ballpark in the background when printed out. I was more happy to meet the alumni, especially Eric Davis, who I watch play for both the Reds and the Tigers when I was much younger. They wouldn’t let us get autographs from the alumni, but they did do a nice job of moving things along to keep the line moving. This was a fun experience, and as much as I’m looking forward to this upcoming season, I look forward to this event next year.
Promotion courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds
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!
Photos property of Minoring In Baseball