The 2016 Y’All Star Game

East vs. West (Frontier League)

28277767426_e810d1d057_zUC Health Stadium-Florence, KY:  This week was the annual All-Star Game for the Frontier League, nicely dubbed Y’All-Star Game this season due to it being held down here in Kentucky.  This was our first game in Florence, and in my opinion,  they have a nice little stadium.

27681173034_25483d365b_zWhen we entered, we were met with a barrage of mascots!  We got to meet Big L from the Lexington Legends (South Atlantic League), Wild Thing from Washington (Frontier League), and, of course the lovely Rosie Red from Cincinnati!

Big L-Lexington Legends
Big L-Lexington Legends
Wild Thing-Washington Wild Things
Wild Thing-Washington Wild Things
My dream girl, Rosie Red!
My dream girl, Rosie Red!

We had great seats in the front row, and I’m glad we didn’t sit behind the dugouts.  It’s my pet-peeve, and really the only negative about this ballpark is that the netting wraps all around the ends of each dugout, which doesn’t give a great view of the game.

28277781206_c475fe2255_z28030338370_7618519a31_zThe Y’All-Star Game also had some guests, with Jake the Diamond Dog being the first.  Other than being just a cute dog, he could fetch bats, balls, and brought the umps some water.

28277758106_d023ca61d3_zIt started out as a pretty hot day, but as the game started we got a little cloud cover and a breeze that made it a perfect night for baseball.  I tried to get some better photos while we still had sun-light, though.

28277745306_a993ddbede_z27696168043_694c37384a_z28277724716_cce37fcc22_zAnd here is the second special act of the night, Myron Noodleman, who was absolutely hilarious!

28207783802_8ec3dbff41_zHere is a video of him:

And this is Y’All Star, the Florence Freedom mascot for this season.  I think their mascot is usually an eagle, but he wasn’t present at this game.  Maybe they’ll bring him back next season.  Y’All Star is based on the famous water tower by the Florence Mall:

28311978285_332a4f27ae_zHere is Andrew Godbold, the Frontier League’s home run derby champion from the night before, and a member of the Freedom:

27695596814_3aeb7c7101_zIn the game that was going on, the East was actually winning 3-1 for most of the game, until the West hit their stride in the seventh inning. Here’s a quick video I did before the wheels fell off for the East.

But before I get to that, lets insert a selfie of Trevor and I.  Like I said, we had really good seats:

28263356446_3d18302682_zIt was a huge inning for the West, as they scored seven in the seventh, with help from the Evansville Otter’s Nik Balog who hit a three-run blast to put his team in the lead.

28233196351_d976c1c3b1_z28233192491_a886212260_z28277714336_b1035c1f96_z28263358346_bb6b75df46_zWe also got to see Scott Patterson, from our old team up in Michigan, the Traverse City Beach Bums:

28233173071_1deb9db466_zThe West added on a couple of more runs, and the East just couldn’t get back into it. Sorry I don’t have more names and stats for the game listed, but if you’re interested you can read the full review from the Frontier League’s website HERE.  Below, the West celebrates their Y’All Star Game victory! FINAL: West 11, East 4.

28263359746_e14fc38fb5_zAnd here is Balog receiving his Y’All Star MVP trophy:

28218713531_75a90ce590_zThis was simply a fun night, and I really enjoyed the show the Frontier League put on.  They really didn’t have anything exciting going on before the game, but they did make it into a three-day event.  I could only get this night off work, so we missed out on the softball game vs. the Chicago Bandits and the home run derby the nights before.  We’re definitely planning another trip to Florence for a game.  I’ll leave you with a video of part of the fireworks show that I shot on our way to the car:

Videos and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Back to the Beach (Bums)

Traverse City Beach Bums vs. Joliet Slammers (Frontier League)

27596075531_f4bd37cc5e_zWuerfel Park-Traverse City, MI:  While back visiting family in Michigan, we decided to take in a Beach Bums game, the defending Frontier League champions.  It seemed like we brought some of the southern heat with us, as the temps were pushing the upper 80’s, but the nice cool breeze off of Lake Michigan turned it into a perfect night for baseball.  Brian remembered that the Slammers gave him a baseball last year, so he was actually rooting for the visitors.

27383273360_cd7cac24d9_z27587434541_bb033c89aa_zThe way the game started out, I thought it would be a high scoring affair, but then the pitchers settled in, and the game moved by pretty fast.  At one point, 10 Beach Bum players were retired in a row. Lucky for TC, Jacob Lanning was on the mound, as he pitched a complete nine inning game for the win.  He gave up only one run in the first inning, on seven hits, and he struck out two.

27049932484_90506b26b1_z27058462204_63db11425c_zAlso during the game, Brian was able to catch up with both Beach Bum mascots, Suntan and Sunburn. Be honest…doesn’t it look like the red bear is flipping me off??!!

SUNTAN
SUNTAN
SUNBURN
SUNBURN

Anyway, the Beach Bums scored one run in the first inning on a Will Kengor RBI double that scored Jose Vargas.  Then in the fifth inning, Jeff DeBlieux hit a double of his own, this time scoring two to put TC in the lead for good.  It was good to be back in Michigan, if only for a few days, and I’m sure this isn’t the end of us enjoying some games up here.  We look forward to our next game in Kentucky, though!  FINAL: Beach Bums 3, Slammers 1.

27596070331_7b1f0f0cd4_z27392005080_e26ff14547_z27670574365_22dc107ae1_zPhotos property of Minoring In Baseball

STAR WARS NIGHT-Episode VI: Return of the Bats

Louisville Bats vs Columbus Clippers (International League)

27148537336_b17546d457_zLouisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  It’s that time of the year again, and a change in venue couldn’t keep me from taking my scruffy-looking nerf-herders to Star Wars night.  This year is our first here in Louisville, and they put on a pretty good show for the kids.  Due to an accident on the freeway, we got to the game about a half hour late, so Brian missed out on his free light-saber (not that he doesn’t have an arsenal of them at home..).  But, the weather was perfect, and my friend Darryl visiting from Ohio got us great seats behind the first base dugout.  They had the Star Wars characters on the field before the game, and throwing out some first pitches.

26907083280_060fb54c22_z27113264091_af7ed87b98_zWe watched a few innings of the game, which turned out to be a pitchers duel, sort of… Chad Rogers got the start for the Bats, and he ended up pitching four shut-out innings.  He gave up only five hits on the night, while walking two, and striking out three.

26575884544_3e44d1beb0_z27086431852_1441792830_z26907086520_c0121642d8_zWhen the Star Wars characters started making their way to the concourse, the boys and I decided to join them.  First of all, Brian was really happy just to finally meet the Bat’s mascot, Buddy Bat!

Brian and Buddy Bat
Brian and Buddy Bat

We then were able to see some of the Star Wars guys, with Brian getting in with an Imperial Speeder Bike Trooper, and Trevor and I were happy to see Boba Fett, who is our favorite and we missed him last year.

27066624992_978af23319_z26555799874_e837f906a7_z27093321461_02e75ec866_zBack to the game. A 0-0 tie doesn’t sound all that exciting, but this was a great game to watch.  Both teams had runners in scoring position multiple times without being able to push a run home.  Louisville actually had the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth, and were unable to score.  Pair that with a gorgeous night for baseball, and we didn’t mind at all going into extra innings!  The game finally came to an end in the 11th, when Seth Mejias-Brean smacked a two-run homer to win the game and send the crowd home happy.  Relief pitcher Wandy Peralta picked up his first win of the season, and Kyle Waldrop added a pair of doubles in the game. FINAL: Louisville 2, Clippers 0, 11 innings.

DSC04860DSC04868 (2)27093319031_af7a5fbbfa_zThis game was as much fun at a ballgame that I’ve had in some time.  It was a great time spent with the boys and my best friend, and it’s always good to be surrounded by other knowledgeable baseball fans.  If the weather could be like this every game, I would be more than happy.  I’m sure we’ll be making another trip to Louisville Slugger Field, too, and to some other teams in the area.  I did remember to take a quick video, too, hoping the Bats would win it in the ninth.

Video and photos property of Minoring in Baseball

 

 

 

Whitecaps SnOwpening Day

West Michigan Whitecaps vs. South Bend Cubs (Midwest League)

26271459721_828e34229b_zFifth Third Ballpark-Comstock Park, MI:  For our last game in Michigan for awhile, mother nature really dumped on us, and it’s hard not to take this personally.  For the Whitecaps home opener, it was a balmy 36 degrees, but honestly at least the sun was out and the game wasn’t cancelled.  We wanted to make sure we were one of the first 1,000 through the gate, so we could claim our replica 2015 Midwest League championship rings.

26245268852_efa26afb62_zUnfortunately, do to the field conditions and cold, they cancelled the on field catch and autograph session.  They never opened the play ground, either, and really cheesed Brian off.  At least we were able to see all three of the ‘Caps mascots one more time, as they entertained the kids until game time.

Brian with Roxy the River Rascal
Brian with Roxy the River Rascal
Brian and I with Frankie the Swimming Pig
Brian and I with Frankie the Swimming Pig
And, finally, Brian with Crash the River Rascal
And, finally, Brian with Crash the River Rascal

The team also had all six of West Michigan’s Midwest League championship trophies on display.  The time finally passed, and while we were basking in the sun, the club had a little presentation of the newest trophy.

26337666795_068f5926a5_z25734786193_8f9e331a28_z26245282022_25139fe837_z26064680710_235428d9eb_zBefore the game, we took a walk over to watch the ‘Caps warm up, and I got a couple of pics of starting pitcher Matt Hall (22) and outfielder Cam Gibson (23), son of Tiger great Kirk Gibson.

26311617146_c777c62c3c_z26311607796_ceace1f58c_zAs you can see, the Whitecaps have added extended netting all the way across the dugout, and this really screws up my world as a baseball fan. Watching and trying to take pictures through this netting simply sucks, in my opinion.  I do understand it’s for safety, but if some fans can’t keep off their iPhones during gameplay, or have small children, they need to pay attention or sit in a less dangerous area.

26064633790_45b3c7d64c_z26271289861_4632a6afc9_zDue to the cold, the game itself seemed to be a little sloppy, although a few of the batters were given an ‘hit’ on a ball that would probably normally be an error.  The Whitecaps could seem to get a big hit with players in scoring position either, with Brett Pirtle scoring their first run on a passed ball.  On the bump, Hall pitched four innings, giving up one run on five hits, while striking out two.  Relief pitcher Toller Boardman gave up three runs for West Michigan to take the loss, however.

25732821424_b908389aa7_z26271281021_8134d034ef_zTrailing 5-1 going into the ninth, the ‘Caps made it a little interesting, score a pair of runs, but it was too little too late. Offensively, Pirtle ended up going 1-3 with a walk and two runs scored.  First baseman Will Allen and left fielder Rashad Brown each went 2-4, with Allen adding an RBI.  I also had to take another walk to find a place for a few more photo not obstructed by the netting.  Final: Whitecaps 3, Cubs 5.

26337529165_9c42ff695a_z26064601490_8e1bbb2ee5_zDespite the cold and the everything, it was still a fun day at the ballpark.  Again, the watching the game through all that netting isn’t as enjoyable, and Brian was bummed all game that they never opened the playground, but still a better time than doing anything anywhere else.  We’ll be pretty busy the next couple of weeks, and can’t wait to be settled and at home in a new ballpark.  I’ll sign off for now with a video of the game:

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Dive in! Loons unveil new logo and uniforms

24728421270_65a8aab510_zDow Diamond-Midland, MI: On Saturday the Great Lakes Loons kicked off their 10th season with an event to unveil their new logo and uniforms.  The concourse at Dow Diamond was able to be enclosed, and we were able to enjoy the presentation, along with all of the other activities, in relative comfort.  The presentation started with a video that showed some of the highlights of the first nine seasons of Loons baseball.  Then the new logos were revealed, all together, and then they went over each one. My favorite is probably the Loon with the fishing hat. In won’t show each one individually, but you can see them all between the top and lower photo of Brian and I.

24714864210_8c7e766061_zWe also got a good look at all of the new Loons uniforms that the team will be wearing when they take the field this season. Here are the road uniforms:

24397080303_ca8278a61f_zHere are the alternate uniforms, and these are my favorite:

24728399220_c1bf41683f_zAnd finally, the new home uniforms, along with the mascots’ new look, also:

24728392130_589b5b0f93_z24397018583_b048aaffdf_zThe mascots, Lou E. Loon and Ral E. Camel, did a nice job of getting around and spending some time with the kids and older fans alike.

24984045476_d49d584793_z24984046986_93f2ad6f3d_kAlso on hand for the event, the Loons hired fire-twirling-guys and some guys-juggling-on-stilts-guys. They were a big hit, and the fire guy even did some sword swallowing. Creepy…

24714934060_61f0a03537_z24905813512_1c6c5ac9d8_zAnd what kid doesn’t like to get his face painted? Especially of the American Flag…that’s my boy! And just for the heck of it, a look at a snowy Dow Diamond.

24984045256_d6b9016bc9_z24642739169_3b25b97357_zWe ended the day both taking some cuts in the batting cages. Brian and I were both able to experience this back when I played the fantasy game here, but it’s always fun to get some swings in, especially in winter when it’s -15 outside!

24984040016_6100fa1bf7_z25023805965_560398c4c1_zAnd for the grand finale, if Brian’s baseball career doesn’t take off, he could always make it as an announcer or color commentary…

Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball

 

 

 

Kelly & Maybin join Whitecaps HOF

This is a switch, we met Don Kelly while with the Tigers, instead of back when he was with the Whitecaps!
This is a switch, we met Don Kelly while with the Tigers, instead of back when he was with the Whitecaps!

Tonight the West Michigan Whitecaps will add two more players to it’s prestigious Hall of Fame, as alumni Don Kelly and Cameron Maybin return to Grand Rapids for the 22nd annual Whitecaps Community Foundation Winter Baseball Banquet. Maybin is returning to the Tigers organization after being traded to the Marlins in the deal that brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. He was a first-round pick of the Tigers in 2005, playing his first full pro season in West Michigan in 2006, hitting .304 with nine home runs, 69 RBI’s, and 27 stolen bases. Maybin also played in the 2006 MLB All-Star Futures Game, and help lead the ‘Caps to the 2006 Midwest League Championship while being named MWL Prospect of the Year.

Kelly played for the Whitecaps way back in 2002, and was an 8th round pick of Detroit in 2001. He went on to hit .286 with 59 RBI’s, and was also the starting shortstop in the Midwest League All-Star Game that season. Kelly is mostly known for being a super-utility player, and has seen action at every position on the field, including pitching an inning or two. Other ‘Caps alumni scheduled to be at tonight’s banquet are Wynton Bernard, Nick Castellanos, Jeff Ferrell, Montreal Robinson off of the Tigers’ Caravan. Other Tiger players, coaches, and personnel that will be there include Al Alvila, Alan Trammell, Matt Boyd, Tyler Collins, Michael Fulmer, Anthony Gose, Shane Greene, Blaine Hardy, Bryan Holaday, Jose Iglasias, Mark Lowe, Drew VerHagen, Alex Wilson, Wally Joyner, and Omar Vizquel. That’s a lot of baseball guys under one roof, and one day when I win the Powerball I’ll be able to get tickets for the kids and I too attend. The Whitecaps Community Foundation does a lot of good in the Grand Rapids area, though, so it’s nice to know the money is being well spent.

Photo property of Minoring In Baseball