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

 

Seeing some Cy Young memorabelia

ttm1Temperance Tavern/Cy Young Museum-Newcomerstown, OH: Tucked away, just south of Canton, Ohio, is the hometown of Cy Young; Newcomerstown. In this quaint little town, you’ll find the Temperance Tavern Museum, that celebrates not only Cy Young, but all that is historic about the town and area, including another popular sports figure to Ohioans: former Ohio State football coach, Woody Hayes.  Most of all, though, we were interested in the Cy Young room of the museum, that has many old relics from the Hall of Fame hurlers career and life in Newcomerstown.

ttm2ttm3ttm4ttm5ttm7ttm8We were actually lucky to have even saw the museum, as the caretaker was ready to lock up for the day when we arrived (it was advertised at open until 4:00 pm, but was closing at 2:00 because no one had come to visit all day…except us). There was plenty of other parts of the museum to explore, also. I actually found the basement of the tavern interesting, as it contained tables and artifacts that haven’t been moved in over 100 years. The tavern was also a stop on the underground railroad, with the tunnels disguised as a cupboard. The museum wasn’t really too far out of our way, and really a fun place to stop if you’re in that area.

ttm9Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Current and former Whitecaps dealt

Outfielder Danry Vasquez now with the Astros organization
Outfielder Danry Vasquez now with the Astros organization

It’s the trade deadline, and the Detroit Tigers decided to make some moves to improve the teams chances at making the post season. Unfortunately, the moves included trading away two West Michigan Whitecaps alumni, and one of their current players. The Tigers’ first move took West Michigan’s starting left fielder Danry Vasquez and sent him to the Houston Astros organization. In return, Detroit acquired relief pitcher Jose Veras. Vasquez struggled last season with the Whitecaps, but went down to Connecticut and ended up leading the NY-Penn League in hits. This season he’s been hitting .281 with five home runs and 39 RBI’s. He started the season hitting in the number three slot, but moved to lead-off hitter in June.  He will be staying in the Midwest League, however, suiting up for the Quad Cities River Bandits.

“It made me sad that I will be leaving the Detroit Tigers organization but it made me excited that Houston made a trade for me,” Vasquez stated to Ben Chiswick, the Whitecaps’ radio announcer (and courtesy of MLive.com).

Villarreal for RealThe Tigers next dealt outfielder Avisail Garcia and relief pitcher Brayan Villarreal to the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox in a three-way deal. The full deal sends Garcia to the ChiSox, Jake Peavy from Chicago to the BoSox, Villarreal to Boston, and the Tigers get short stop Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox. Iglesias is said to be one of the best young middle infielders in the game today, so it will be excited watching him in Detroit.  Villarreal has been sidelined in Toledo due to a thumb injury, but has been up with Detroit part-time for the last three seasons. He is 4-8 with a 4.56 ERA with the Tigers. During the 2008 season he split between the GCL Tigers and the Whitecaps, he was 1-6 with a 4.69 ERA and 37 strikeouts. He spent the entire 2009 season in West Michigan, going 5-5 with a 2.87 ERA and 118 strikeouts. As for Garcia, he was one of the top prospects in the Tigers organization, hitting .241 with two home runs and 10 RBI’s with the big club this season. He also played in West Michigan in 2009, splitting the season with the Lakeland Flying Tigers. He hit .264 with 31 RBI’s that year. Spending the entire 2010 season with the Whitecaps, he hit .281 with 17 doubles and 63 RBI’s. Good luck to all three players with their new clubs. We’ll still be keeping track of these guys.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

M.I.B. Prime Nine: Mascot Mania

Over on MiLB.com, the Mascot Mania is in full force, with ever fuzzy animal, alien, or funny looking man-thing represeting a Minor League franchise fighting for mascot supremecy. The kids and I have encountered and have been entertained by some great ones on our travels, and here are some of our favorites. Keep in mind, the list will only consist of the mascots we’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting or seeing. This list was also a lot harder to put together than you’d think, trying to narrow so many fun entertainers down to just nine. Ok, then, let’s see where they stand:

9) RowdieIndianapolis Indians: We’re not sure yet what exactly Rowdie is, but he sure is fun. He does a good job of getting around the stadium and getting pics with the kids.

Trevor with Rowdie at Victory Field in 2009
Trevor with Rowdie at Victory Field in 2009

8) Mr. Shucks-Cedar Rapids Kernels: Well, this guy just looks really cool. He does a nice job of getting the crowd riled up in Cedar Rapids.

2010 Baseball Trip: Day 3-Cedar Rapids, IA7) Reedy Rip’ It-Greenville Drive: Reedy is a bit of a Wally ‘rip’ off, but that’s ok with me. The Drive is a BoSox affiliate, and they get lots of ideas from them. Reedy did a great job of interacting with the fans.

Me with Reedy Rip'it
Me with Reedy Rip’it

6) Paws-Pawtucket Red Sox: Ok, another BoSox affiliate. Paws is all over the place, and is marketed very well.

PAW15) Spikes-Rochester Red Wings: Here’s another mascot that can do it all. He’s all over the field, and the concourse during the games.

2012BaseballTrip 0444) Gnate the Gnat-Savannah Sand Gnats: Gnate is really cool, and is always interacting with the fans and kids. Made my trip a little more fun.

gnate3) Loe E. Loon-Great Lakes Loons: Ok, the Loons are one of our regular teams now, so we really know first hand how hard Lou E. works. Along with Rall E. Camel, he does a super job at Dow diamond.

Lily and Brian with Lou E. Loon!!!
Lily and Brian with Lou E. Loon!!!

2) Slugger-Portland Sea Dogs: I really loved being at the Sea Dogs game, and Slugger made it even more fun. He’s just a cool mascot, in my opinion. And I guess that’s what counts on this blog…

POR71) Crash the River Rascal-West Michigan Whitecaps: Ok, was there ever much doubt? Yes, it’s a homer call, but Crash is really awesome. He makes the kids laugh and gets around the stadium well to interact with the fans. He and his buddy Franky the Swimming Pig are the best.

Brian and I with Whitecaps mascot Crash the River Rascal!
Brian and I with Whitecaps mascot Crash the River Rascal!

Ok, so there’s my take on the Mascot Mania. Be sure to go and vote for your favorites HERE. Good luck to all the masconts in my Prime 9. What’s yours?

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

2013 Baseball Trip-Game 8: A Driving Tour of Asheville

Asheville Tourists vs. Greenville Drive (South Atlantic League)

ash1McCormick FieldAsheville, NCI just want to start off by stating that I loved this game. I love McCormick Field, and this should be on every baseball fans bucket list. Another downtown stadium, so parking is a little rough. That, however is the about the only thing you’d have to worry about. The stadium is located on a large hill, or mountain, I guess, which make for some nice scenery. The whole setup of the stadium is nice, with the concourse and gift shop in a nice setting. Part of the concourse is limited by part of the mountain, also. Our seats were great, as we got the dugout suites right next to the home team dugout. This luxury comes with snacks, drinks, and a chicken dinner from Bojangles’. We really felt we were treated like royalty! It was a day game which saw some buses of school kids enjoying the game also. This helped make for a great atmosphere, as well as the loyal regulars of McCormick Field. Another unique aspect, is that one lucky fan gets to deliver the game ball via a zip line. It was fun to watch, and must have been a great experience for that fan! The fact that it was a day game make it a little warm for us, but I can only imagine how awesome a night game would be here. The home team put on a great show, and I also got my first South Atlantic League game ball. This honestly rivals Durham for the best game on the trip. You can also see McCormick Field at the end of the movie Bull Durhamwhere Crash hits his record breaking home run.

Me with Mr. Moon. The moon out in the daytime, hhmmm...
Me with Mr. Moon. The moon out in the daytime, hhmmm…

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A fan delivers the game ball on a zip line. One of the coolest things we've seen.
A fan delivers the game ball on a zip line. One of the coolest things we’ve seen.

ash6ash7The game itself was a good one for the Tourists. When we saw the Drive a few days before they looked like a pretty solid hitting team, but Asheville hurler T.J. Oaks seemed to keep them of the kilter all day, as he went seven innings and only gave up the one run. The Tourists took the game over with a huge seven run fourth inning. It seemed like they were pounding doubles off the wall left and right. Second baseman Juan Ciriaco seemed to be the player of the game. Not only did he toss me the game ball, but he went 3-5 with an RBI. Rosell Herrera also pitched in, going 2-5 with a pair of RBI’s. Final score: Tourists 8, Drive 1.

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Finally! My first South Atlantic League game ball!
Finally! My first South Atlantic League game ball!

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The mural you might have seen in 'Bull Durham'
The mural you might have seen in ‘Bull Durham’

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I think the Tourists newest uniforms are pretty cool
I think the Tourists newest uniforms are pretty cool

ash15ash16Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

2013 Baseball Trip-Game 2: A beautiful Knight in Charlotte

Charlotte Knights vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (International League)

knights1Knights Stadium-Fort Mill, SCWell, it was a beautiful night in Fort Mill, anyway. The stadium is located just south of Charlotte. It was a Saturday game, so there was a really good crowd, and again it was good to see so many kids and families. It was also breast cancer awareness night, so the Knights were wearing their pink jerseys that were auctioned off after the game. The Knights had two mascots on hand, with Homer being the boy dragon, but I didn’t catch the name of the female one. The Charlotte Knights cheerleaders/dance team was also on hand, the lovely KnightinGals. Knights Stadium is nothing spectacular, but is good size for Triple-A. It’s a good walk up the stairs from the front row to the concourse. Some fans are excited by the new stadium being built downtown, but most feel it will bring higher prices for tickets and concessions. The current stadium isn’t that far from Charlotte, and has plenty of parking, so I think an upgrade would be better than a new one. We ended up moving from the front row to the upper deck to get a better view of the action, too. There’s not a bad seat in the house, but we love the upper deck. We met some great baseball fans in Charlotte, and it was a great night for baseball.

Hanging out with the lovely KnightinGals, the Knights dance/cheer team
Hanging out with the lovely KnightinGals, the Knights dance/cheer team

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The Knights were sporting their pink jerseys for breast cancer awareness
The Knights were sporting their pink jerseys for breast cancer awareness

knights5knights6The game itself wasn’t much fun for the home town fans, but there seemed to plenty of Red Sox fans cheering the visitors. I guess the Nation really is expanded, because we met plenty of BoSox fans in both North and South Carolina. It was good to see former Whitecap Justin Henry play again, also, for the PawSox. He played in West Michigan back in 2007. Final score: Charlotte 0, PawSox 4.

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Former West Michigan Whitecaps second baseman Justin Henry, now with the PawSox
Former West Michigan Whitecaps second baseman Justin Henry, now with the PawSox

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We met some great baseball fans in Charlotte!
We met some great baseball fans in Charlotte!

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

2013 Baseball Trip-Game 1: Shifting gears into Greenville

Greenville Drive vs. Augusta GreenJackets (South Atlantic League)

flour1Flour Field-Greenville, SCAfter flying into Charlotte, we headed south for the first game of our trip. We were about five miles from the Greenville exit, though, when traffic came to a stop. Complete stop. It took us about forty minutes to go that five miles, but we finally made it to Flour Field downtown well before game time. As with most downtown stadiums parking is scarce, so if you visit here be sure to leave yourself some time. The gift shop is outside the stadium, so it’s was easy to get our shopping done and leave it in the car. The Greenville Drive is affiliated with the Red Sox, and they really embrace the Nation. The outfield at Flour Field is replicated after Fenway Park, they have their own ‘green monster’, and they even sing ‘Sweet Caroline‘ in the eighth inning. It was a good crowd with a fine baseball atmosphere, also. Lots of kids and families watching the game which is good to see. My only complaint about the stadium is that the netting extends beyond the dugouts, so it was difficult to see the game at times.

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Me with Reedy Rip'it
Me with Reedy Rip’it

flour4BT21The game itself was one of the best we’ve seen. Both the Drive and GreenJackets made some great defensive plays. In a high scoring game, Greenville hit three home runs while Augusta added one. I really recommend a Drive game for anyone in the area. We had a lot of fun, with great weather, and it was a perfect way to kick off our trip. The Drive have the best on field DJ I’ve seen, too. He really kept the crowd into the game without it being too much. Final Score: Greenville 10, Augusta 6.BT22

flour5flour6flour7flour8flour9flour10Photos property of Minoring In Baseball