Villainy in West Michigan

West Michigan Whitecaps vs. Lansing Lugnuts (Midwest League)

28348988844_ee2ce811af_zFifth Third Ballpark-Comstock Park, MI:  Back in the mitt to visit friends and family before school starts, we were lucky enough to take in a Whitecaps game.  The ‘Caps were hosting another one of our Michigan teams, the Lansing Lugnuts.  It was Super Villain Night at Fifth Third Ballpark, and Brian was able to meet some of these dastardly scoundrels that give our heroes so many fits.  Above, he’s with Harley Quinn, Crossbones, the Winter Soldier (who I really don’t consider a villain, he was brain-washed after all, and Bucky is really a good guy), and Poison Ivy.  Below, he is hanging out with Batman nemesis The Penguin, and Spider-Man foil, The Lizard.

'You don't really think you'll win, do you?'
‘You don’t really think you’ll win, do you?’
Bri with Dr. Curt Connors, AKA The Lizard
Bri with Dr. Curt Connors, AKA The Lizard

We were also able to catch up with Crash the River Rascal, and it was good to see him again!  He also gave Bri a t-shirt.

It was good to see Crash again!
It was good to see Crash again!

We seemed to pick another great day to be at the ballpark, and to see some free baseball.  The Whitecaps and Lugnuts would finish a tied game suspended the night before, with the ‘Nut winning this one 5-3 in the 12th inning.  The scheduled game would go into extras, also.  West Michigan tied the game at one in the second inning, when Will Allen scored on a Jose Azocar double, after hitting one of his own.  Azocar would plate another RBI in the fifth inning, scoring Brett Pirtle on a ground out.  Both team would load the bases in the 11th, but came away with nothing.  The ‘Caps would have better luck in the 12th, however, as Arvicent Perez earned the walk-off RBI with a bases-loaded hit.

28905947762_5240e05ea7_z28393932693_852989bd61_z29011003465_85043e3968_zOn the mound, Trent Szkutnik started the game giving up just the two runs.  The bullpen came through also, with Drew Smith, Zac Houston, and Toller Boardman combining for six no-hit innings and 11 strikeouts.  FINAL in 12:  Whitecaps 3, Lugnuts 2.

28348996564_9a02112eda_z28348998354_9eff642497_z28905904792_751690cc9c_zAnother fun game, and it’s always good to be back home.  Especially seeing a game with Brian and his Papa (and even getting photo bombed by the Whitecaps staff…).  With the minor league season rapidly winding down, we will definitely try to catch at least one more game in Kentucky. Here’s a video for y’all.

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

The San Diego Chicken

Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)

28745350901_2755c1ec51_zLouisville 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.

28784291546_8dee1e982d_z28198549314_a9146c4004_zOk, 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.

28791798736_467ecf5256_z28538867970_7990410cb7_z28746488191_40b010c0a5_z28821990775_66ed90e6e8_zOk, 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.

28718366442_7aeda3a570_z28208686973_f60abe7459_z28746746841_950261ca73_zEven with the Chicken in the house, we still have much love for Buddy Bat!

Brian and Buddy Bat
Brian and Buddy Bat

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.

28784300446_6fe06ef8b2_zHere are a couple of videos of the Famous San Diego Chicken and his antics.  Brian filmed the first part of this one, but he did his best:

Another short one:

Videos and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Bats & Birthdays Vol. 2

Louisville Bats vs. Indianapolis Indians (International League)

27801254214_5992093a01_zLouisville 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??!

27765287083_901f35e03e_z28098563010_2e3e82c07a_zIt was another hot one, in the mid-nineties, as we settled in under the sun.  In all honesty, we only lasted there for a couple of innings before finding some seats in the shade.

28302203421_357a0caf25_z28135372170_9d648cba54_z27801230434_89214594ca_zThe 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.

28385224396_d0b986b162_z27801248374_9d6f84a23f_k28385184626_4c34c41555_zOn 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.

28380964015_0cec6400db_z28385171586_8e5fd8924b_z28385175466_3f9ff0c4d0_zA 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

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