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
Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: I know nobody is reading this post because they care about the game, or to look at my game photos, so I’ll mostly just show the greatest mascot of all time, the Famous San Diego Chicken. That being said, it was another hot and sunny day here in the ‘Ville, so we bought seats up in the shaded portion of the stadium. As we were in the shade, though, and it being so sunny, I didn’t even get the field to show up in our selfie below (but you can see that Brian did have his Chicken and Buddy plushies ready for action). I did get a good shot of the field once the game started, though.
Ok, more of the Famous Chicken! He puts on a fantastic show, and if you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing him perform, I highly recommend it. He’s had many years to perfect his craft, and does some of the greatest skits I’ve seen at the ballpark. Some of them have the umpires and players involved, also, and it’s so much fun. I think the fact that Ted Giannoulas has played the one and only Chicken since 1979, adds to the aura of one of the first, and the greatest, mascot in history. Every time he’s on the field, he has the fans attention at all times. You just never know what this guy will do next.
Ok, there was a ballgame going on through all this, so I will give a short re-cap. It was a pitchers duel for sure, but we did see some great defensive plays throughout the game, also. The Bats took a 1-0 lead in the third, when Jose Peraza base hit scored Juan Perez. Unfortunately in the eighth inning, Peraza’s throwing error allowed the Clippers to tie the game. On the hill for Louisville, right-hander Tim Adleman pitched seven innings, allowing six hits and striking out a season high eight batters. Into the 10th inning, Kyle Waldrop made one of those amazing defensive plays when he slammed himself into the wall making an amazing catch with two-outs to save the game. Also in the 10th, Peraza would find himself up to bat once again, and he atoned for his error with an infield base hit to score Perez for the walk-off win. J.J. Hoover earned the victory only giving up one hit and striking out two. FINAL in 10: Bats 2, Clippers 1.
And the Chicken was awesome, he met with his fans and signed autographs for free! I got Brian a photo to have signed, and the Chicken even signed his plushie. As most mascots seem to be mute, the Chicken was more than happy to chat with his fans. I told him that I was a big fan, as I used to watch The Baseball Bunch every Saturday morning as a kid. He was great with Brian, and we got a couple of nice photos with him. A great day, a great ballgame, and another reason to feel blessed and lucky.
Another short one:
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