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!
Louisville Cardinals vs. Boston College Eagles (NCAA/ACC)
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: We were finally able to make it to another Louisville game, and what a historic game it was! Brian was nice enough to let me watch some of the game from the stands, before heading to the outfield so he could play on the park. I can’t complain too much, though as the best food is grilled in the outfield bleachers. The #1 ranked cards were riding a 17 game winning streak after beating Boston College in the first game of the series 6-0 Friday night. On Saturday, Louisville would put up another six, but the Eagles didn’t go away as quietly.
On the mound, Kade McClure pitched well with nine strikeouts and only giving up one earned run. Louisville native Riley Thompson came in for relief, and got rocked a bit, giving up 3 earned runs and making things interesting the later innings. Adam Wolf and Lincoln Henzman would shut things down for the Cards, though. McClure still picked up the win, also.
Offensively, the Cardinals were lead by second baseman Devin Mann, who went 2-4 with 2 RBI’s. Also contributing was Drew Ellis, 2-5 with one RBI, and Logan Taylor 1-2 with one RBI. Their 18th win in a row is a new school record for wins in a row to start the season. Final: Cardinals 6, Eagles 4.
This was a fun game to be at, and the weather wasn’t all that bad, either. Louisville would also earn a 5-3 on Sunday, getting the sweep and extending the winning streak to 19 games. The Cardinals will be hitting the road for the next couple of weekends, but we’ll be back here the first week in April.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (NCAA)
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: It officially begins, the 2017 baseball season. As it was, Saturday was the coldest day here in Louisville, so obviously, that’s the only game we were able to make. A little cold weather isn’t enough to ruin our baseball fun, however, (even though Brian looks miserable in the photo). With Papa down visiting from Michigan, we were all happy to be at Jim Patterson Stadium for our first ballgame of the year.
On the hill for the Cards, Kade McClure earned the win, pitching six innings while striking out nine. He only gave up one hit and walked only three. In relief, Sam Bordner and Shay Smiddy preserved the shutout for Louisville.
On the offensive side, Louisville was led by Colby Fitch, who went 2-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Also, Brendan McKay was being Brendan McKay, going 2-2 with a run and an RBI, while Drew Ellis went 2-3 with a run and RBI, also. Nebraska-Omaha didn’t do themselves any favors, either, committing four errors. In the end, it was a blowout and a shutout for the Cardinals. Final: Cardinals 10, Mavericks 0.
Despite the cool temperatures, it was a fun day of baseball, and it wasn’t over with the Cards. We had to rush back to the OC, so Brian could take part in his Little League evaluation, as the draft was on Sunday. Here’s a photo below from his eval. Not sure when we’ll see Louisville at home next, but have plans to visit Lexington in a couple of weeks. As for me, I’m just glad the baseball season has begun.
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
Straders’s Raiders vs. Vrable’s Vikings
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: I’m still learning some of the traditions of Cardinal baseball, and a new one I’ve discovered is the Pizza Bowl. The Louisville baseball team splits into two squads for a five game series, with the losers serving pizza to the winners. This years series featured Strader’s Raiders against the Vrable’s Vikings. The Vikings took the first two game of the series, and we were in attendance for game three.
Game three really looked like the Raiders were going to break into the win column, as they carried a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning. They were lead by catcher Zeke Pinkham, who hit a single, walked twice, and scored a run. Outfielder Ryan Summers and infielder Justin Levy each had one hit and one RBI. Freshman outfielder Ethan Stringer hit a solo home run, and Brian was able to snag that ball.
The Vikings made their comeback in the eighth inning on three unearned runs. Outfielder Logan Taylor had an RBI single and scored a run to lead the Vikes offense. Colin Lyman and Danny Oriente each added and an RBI, also, with Oriente hitting and RBI single in the seventh as well.
Starting on the hill for the Raiders, Michael McAvene earned a no-decision although he struck out six, walked one, and pitched six no-hit innings. For the Vikings, Nick Bennett giving up just two runs on two hits while striking out four. FINAL: Raiders 5, Vikings 4.
This was a fun day for the boys and I. We also had a productive day, as Trevor got a foul ball and a stress ball. Brian was able to snag Stinger’s home run ball! This was our last ballgame of the fall, as the team split the last two games of the series, with the Raiders winning four games to one. We look forward to the spring and more Cardinal baseball! Also exciting news I learned from my buddy the Baseball Bloggess, is that Louisville will be hosting the ACC Baseball tourney next season, also, so I’m looking to get some vacation time for that!
Black Cardinals vs. Red Cardinals
Jim Patterson Stadium-Louisville, KY: This past weekend has to be one of the busiest in this town that I have seen since moving down this way, since the Derby weekend, anyway. Since this is a baseball blog, I’ll be moving backwards and start with Sunday. Brian and I decided to check out a little Louisville Cardinal fall ball scrimmage, and it was a lot of fun. Simply a beautiful day and there’s not too many places I’d rather be than a ballpark. Granted, this was just an inter-squad scrimmage, and most may protest that these games don’t mean anything, but I disagree. To the kids trying to either earn a walk-on position, or a spot in the starting lineup, there games can mean plenty. I felt bad for the left fielder, who made a couple of errors, and we were within ear-shot to hear his frustrations loud and clear. Take this for what it is, just something to do, watching something we love, spending time with my little buddy. Final: Black 10, Red 4.
Now, on Saturday, there was some kind of college football going on, and I guess this could be considered the busiest day of the weekend. That’s probably why we stayed away from town. I think the whole ESPN College Gameday crew was in town, also. Although not a big football fan, I did watch some of the Louisville vs. Florida State game on TV, and was happy for a big Louisville win (63-20). It’s always good for the town and the school, and I’ve never cared much for the Seminoles much in any sport, anyway.
KFC Yum! Center-Louisville, KY: Friday was a fun day for the boys and I, also. This was both Trevor and Brian’s first WWE (I still call it WWF) show. Brian was happy to see his two favorites Bayley and Roman Reigns fight. It was a pretty good show, as the U.S. Championship, Tag-Team Championship, and Universal Championship belts were all defended. I’d much rather attend a ‘house show’ than a TV event, as all they do is talk and you don’t see as much action. We all had a great time, and will probably come again when the WWE is in town. As well as baseball, Louisville is a decent place for a wrestling fan to live, also. We have the local Ohio Valley Wrestling which is a lot of fun, and some other indy promotions in southern Indiana.
Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Bats vs. Indianapolis Indians (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Where did the summer go? It’s definitely a sad sort of day, the last day of the Minor League regular season, which means the end of 2016 baseball for the Bats. We were blessed with a beautiful day, however, so Trevor and I decided to take a walk down by the river before the game started. To our surprise, WLKY was doing a live broadcast down that way covering some Labor Day events, and we ‘just happened’ to walk behind the reporter and got on the news! Here’s the footage courtesy of Channel 32 WLKY’s YouTube (look for us at the 1:21 and 1:22 mark):
When Trevor and I were done being TV stars, we made our way into the ballpark for the last time in 2016. We had great seats, as we settled in with our $1 hot dogs and drinks on another 90 degree day.
On the mound was Keury Mella who was making his Triple-A debut with the Bats. He pitched a solid seven innings, only giving up three hits, one earned run, while giving up one walk, and striking out six to earn the win. Relief pitcher Kevin Shackelford came in to get the save.
Louisville was lead offensively by Seth Mejias-Brean, who got the Bats on the board in the 4th with an RBI base hit. He also added and RBI on the eighth inning with a triple. The go-ahead run came in the seventh, off of a Tony Renda base hit. FINAL: Bats 4, Indians 1.
Again, it’s sad that this was our last Bats game of the season, but we will still have some baseball in our future. Brian is still playing Fall Ball, and the Louisville Cardinals will probably play some exhibition games in the coming month or so, also. We might even make it back up to the Reds, but that’s still up in the air. This was a fun day with my son, and feel blessed and lucky for it!
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:
Videos and photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Bats vs. Indianapolis Indians (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: The second part of our birthday adventure took us to the Bats game, as they hosted the rival Indians. Hey, if it’s my birthday, then why is Brian the one who gets to meet Buddy Bat and ride the merry-go-round??!
The Bats have been playing good ball lately, and this was another solid game for the home team. Louisville was lead offensively by Hernan Iribarren, who went 2-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Also having a good day at the dish was Donald Lutz, who contributed and RBI going 2-4. Jermaine Curtis and Jesse Winkler each went 1-3 with an RBI and run scored, respectively.
On the bump, Robert Stephenson each the victory for the Bats. He pitched six innings, only giving up two hits, while striking out four and walking five. J.J. Hoover ended up earning the save. FINAL: Bats 6, Indians 4.
A fun game, despite the heat, and an all around good birthday. I always feel very blessed and lucky to be able to have these experiences with my kids. It was a long day for all of us, especially in the sun, but we all had a great time. We hope to be back at Louisville Slugger Field next month when the famous Chicken will be here entertaining the crowd! Until then, here’s a little game video:
Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory-Louisville, KY: While the Louisville Slugger Museum was celebrating its 20th birthday, I was celebrating one of my own. It seemed like a perfect fit for both of us to celebrate together, so the boys and I made a trip to the city for a day of baseball fun.
We arrived, and got into the factory tour right away. They don’t allow any photography during the factory portion, but it was interesting seeing how the bats were made. Trevor and I had been here before way back in 2009, but it was still fun for him to see it all again, and understand it now that he’s a bit older. And of course Brian ate it all up, and loved seeing the whole bat-making process.
After the tour, we checked out the permanent exhibits at the museum. There are many relics and bats from the all-time greats of this sport! Below, Brian looks good with Hank Aaron’s bat, and he’s grown up with stories of ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson, so he was a little in ‘awe’ of ‘Black Betsy’.
As a Tiger fan, I don’t think the Justin Upton signing was a great deal, but I do love his flame-tempered bat! And below that, the third bat down was used by the greatest Tiger of them all, one of the best hitters in history, Ty Cobb.
Next we checked out the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Oddball exhibit, which is here in Louisville temporarily. It contains some cool stuff, but not everything in it pertains to baseball. The photos are of Yankee Stadium made of toothpicks, and a real ‘double-header’, a two-headed calf. I highly recommend this factory tour and museum for any baseball fan in the area. It’s definitely worth going out of your way for, also, as it’s one of the best baseball places I’ve been to, second only maybe to the actual Hall of Fame. The history of the company is so rich, especially all of the great players who have swung Louisville lumber. I’m glad the museum and I could celebrate our birthdays together!