Lansing Lugnuts vs. Clinton Lumber Kings (Midwest League)
Cooley Law School Stadium-Lansing, MI: No trip back to Michigan would be complete without us stopping by one of our old ballparks to see a game, and this particular game I’ve been looking forward to since it announced it back in February. The Lugnuts were paying homage to one of Lansing’s favorite sons, the late, great Burt Reynolds! As with many kids growing up, I didn’t just love baseball, but I love cars. And what better car than the Pontiac Firebird driven by The Bandit. I bought my second Firebird in 2017, and Brian instantly fell in love with it. Since then he’s watch the Smokey and the Bandit films many times over, and we have a nice collection of die cast Firebirds. Now we have a Burt Reylonds/Bandit bobble head to add to our collection.
We got in line early, as we didn’t want to miss out on the free giveaway. I credit Brian for this, as it was his idea to skip dinner and get in line, as he really new what this game meant to me. After we received our bobble heads, we were bombarded with people trying to buy them from us immediately, with offers up to $30 (of course they’re all selling on eBay for $100-$200). I really had to convince Brian to hold on to his! We hit the gift shop to get our Lugnuts/Bandit shirts and then got ready for the game. Lansing had a 1977 Trans Am drive around the field, also, in a tribute to Burt, and the Lugnuts whore special Bandit jerseys, as seen below.
During all of this car excitement, we also were able to watch a really good baseball game. Lansing jumped out to a three run lead, but Clinton battled back to send the game into extra innings. Ryan Gold led the offense for the Lugnuts, knocking in two runs on one hit, while Tanner Kirwir went 2-5 with two runs scored. Cre Finfrock took the loss for Lansing, giving up two runs in the 10th. Final (10): Lugnuts 4, Lumber Kings 5.
Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Clinton LumberKings vs. Beloit Snappers: After leaving Norway, we headed back east to the banks of the Mississippi River once again. This time our destination was Alliant Energy Field, home of the Clinton LumberKings who we saw the night before in Peoria. Alliant Energy Field was built in 1937, and is a great throwback to the older Minor League parks. Remodeled in 2006, this is really a nice place to watch a ball game. The grandstand is completely covered, and the seats put you right on the field. The fans were friendly and very baseball knowledgable. We ate dinner at the ballpark, had a cold beer, and watched a good baseball game in the oldest city currently in the Midwest League. I like to think of this ballpark as ‘classic’ instead of old, and despite it being not as fancy as some of the other parks we’ve been too, I really enjoyed myself here. Final: Snapper 2, LumberKings 0. Best: The trash pail: for only $5:50 you get loads of food including mini tacos, mini corndogs, onion rings, waffle fries, chicken tenders and more. Worst: Finding the ballpark. GPS couldn’t find it, and there are absolutely no signs anywhere in town to direct you there. My advise is to follow the riverfront until you run into it.
Photos property of MIB
Peoria Chiefs vs. Clinton LumberKings: We didn’t have a whole lot of time to celebrate the Kernels victory before hitting the road again to Peoria. We made it to O’Brien Field about 30 minutes before game time, which is good enough to get our merchandise, grab a brew, and get ready for more baseball. It was Monday, and unfortunately not much of a crowd. We missed the big crowds over the weekend with Star Wars night and a Little League ceremony. Still, half price tickets should be drawing the people in anyway. O’Brien Field is nicely fit into downtown Peoria, and the Chiefs share their home with the NCAA Bradlay Braves. It was a beautiful night for baseball, but a quik game tied at 1-1 in the ninth. The Chiefs sent up a pinch hitter with two outs who hit a walk-off homer with the bases loaded for the win. Pretty exciting at the end. Final: Chiefs 4, Lumber Kings 1. Worst: The scoreboard. One half never worked, the other half only part of the time. Best: Half priced seats every Monday.
Photos property of MIB