Results tagged ‘ Minor League Baseball ’

25th Opening Day in West Michigan

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

Fifth Third Ballpark-Comstock Park, MI:  Opening Day for the Minor League season also meant the West Michigan Whitecaps were entering their 25th year as a ball club.  With so many games there throughout the years, it seemed only fitting that this is where we should start our 2018 journey as well.  We were lucky there was even a game, as the Michigan weather punished us with harsh snow and wind while visiting for ‘Spring’ Break.  We dressed warm, staying in the sun, and enjoyed Opening Day like so many other fans across the country.

We were able to get free replica jerseys upon entering the ballpark, and then Brian decided he wanted some autographs and to meet some of the players.   The thrill of the day was meeting former World Champion Detroit Tiger, and the current Whitecaps manager, Lance Parrish.  He was more than happy to sign Brian’s ball and get a photo with him.  Brian was still able to meet some of Lance’s players and get his ball signed by them as well.

We can’t forget our favorite mascots, Crash and Frankie!  Brian got both to sign his ball, as well as Roxy, but we couldn’t get a photo with her.

The game was a good one for the home team.  Jordan Pearce lead the way offensively, going 1-3 with three RBI.  Also pitching is was Alexis Garcia and Joey Morgan, each going 2-4 with Garcia adding an RBI.

On the hill, Dane Myers got the start throwing four innings, giving up one run and striking out five.  Burris Warner earned the win, only giving up one hit and one run in his three innings of work.  Final:  Whitecaps 6, Cubs 2.

This was a fun game, and we were actually pretty comfortable until the sun went down.  Then that cold Michigan air came creeping in, but we’re a tough group.  This was a great way to kick off the Minor League season, especially since we weren’t able to make it up for a game last season.  The next few months should be fun, as we have some more games planned and Brian starts Little League.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

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Bats Open House 2018

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  The Minor League season is almost upon us, and to kick things off here in the ‘Ville, the Bats invited their season ticket holders to a little open house to pick up their tickets and view the ballpark.  We picked up our ticket package, then secured some seats to some special games like Jurassic Park Night and the throwback weekend when they’ll play as the Louisville Colonels.  The team then treated us to a free meal of a hot dog, popcorn, and drink, some traditional ballpark eats.

Brian looks game ready! Go Bats!

Brian was then excited to go check out the Bats’ locker room and clubhouse. He liked to pretend he was getting ready for a game, and who knows, he could be a future Bat!  We were also lucky enough to run into Buddy Bat, and then went to check out the dugout.

We ended the day up hanging out in some of the suites and getting some good eats.  I play the Powerball every week, and the first thing I will do after finally winning is rent of these for life!  All of my friends will be welcome to come enjoy the games with us.  Brian really liked the suites, and decided this is the life for him!  He also enjoyed seeing the press box and talking with some of the Louisville staff.  It’s just fun to see every inch of this ballpark.

This was a fun day for us, and it really got me excited for the Bats’ season to start.  We’ll actually be up in Michigan in early April, so here’s hoping the weather is decent and we can catch a game or two up that way.  I’ll leave off with a video of Brian leading you onto the field:

Video and Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

2017 Frontier League Championship

Florence Freedom vs. Schaumburg Boomers (Frontier League)

UC Health Stadium-Florence, KY:  I sat at my desk at work last Friday night, keeping an eye on the score on the computer, hoping the Florence Freedom would pull it off.  Already down two games to none, another loss would mean the series would be over, and the Schaumburg Boomers would be champs of the Frontier League.  Worse for me, it would mean no baseball game to attend the next day.  Lucky for me, and the Freedom, I guess, Florence prevailed in 12 innings to keep the series going. So Saturday night, Brian and I made the trip up to see what could be a championship for the Boomers, or another game for the Freedom.  I was a little shocked to see the game tickets at $20 a piece, even for a championship series.  You’d think the home team would really want the local fan base to fill the park (not a huge crowd for such a big game…).  At least Brian was able to get a photo op with Y’All Star as soon as we entered the stadium.

We sat down the third base side by the Schaumburg dugout, and the Boomers soon became one of Brian’s favorite teams, as I still rooted for the Freedom.   The Boomers took the lead in the second inning, however, on a solo home run. Taylor Oldham tied the game for Florence with an RBI double in the third.  In the fourth inning, Rock Shoulders hit a monster home run to put the Boomers up 2-1, quickly followed by another Schaumburg dinger.  An RBI double put the Boomers up 4-1.  Rock Shoulders is an awesome name.  Like this guy wasn’t destined to be a professional athlete…

About this time we needed a treat, so Brian landed on the Funnel Cake Deluxe.  This was served in a helmet, and consisted of a funnel cake, a crap load of ice cream, whipped cream, sprinkles and Oreo pieces.  It was amazing, and both of us together couldn’t even finish it!

The sixth inning added more runs for Schaumburg.  They hit another home run, and a sacrifice fly scored another to take a commanding 6-1 lead in the game. Florence came back with a two-out run in the bottom of the inning, to cut the lead to 6-2.  Andrew Godbold paced the offence for the Freedom, going 2-3 with a run scored.

Between innings, Brian was supposed to participate in an on-field race, but back out once he learned he would be wearing over-sized underwear… Oh well, at least he did run across the field during the seventh inning stretch.

On the mound for Florence,  Cody Gray got the start and took the loss.  He tossed four innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, while striking out six.  He would be replaced by Tony Vocca, who gave up two runs on two hits in 1.1 innings of work.  Kit Fowler started for the Boomers, pitching three innings and giving up a run.  Michael Wood would earn the win, tossing 4.2 inning, giving up one run  and striking out four.  FINAL:  Freedom 2, Boomers 6.

After the final out, it was time for celebration for the Boomers.  I don’t care what age you are or what level of ball you play, when you win a championship it is a big deal.  Congratulations to Schaumburg, they definitely deserve it.  And congratulations to the Florence Freedom on a great season also.  We’ll be back at UC Health Stadium next season.

And of course they got to pass around the Frontier Cup and hold the Frontier League Championship banner:

As Brian likes to celebrate with winners, I found him out on the field celebrating with the Boomers! A few of the players were nice enough to take a photo with him.

I’ll leave off with a very short video of Brian getting a game ball from his new favorite player Kyle Ruchim of Schaumburg.  This is what makes the sport we love so great…

Video and photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Meeting the Bats

Louisville Bats vs. Rochester Red Wings (International League)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  This was such a bitter-sweet game, as it was the last Bats game for us this season.  It’s hard to believe the season, and summer, has gone by so quickly, but here we are, ready to say goodbye to Louisville Slugger Field for a while.  A good way to send us off, though, is the Bats held their autograph day for their last weekend home series.  Brian was excited to meet the players and get his baseball signed.  Most of the players were good with the kids, coach Jody Davis was great with the fans, while new-comer Scott Van Slyke skipped over some kids to sign a folder full of cards (look them up on eBay!!!).

It was another warm day, so we made sure to get seats out of the sun.  While the weather was warm, the Bats’ bats were hot.  Alex Blandino and Brandon Dixon hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, while Scott Van Slyke hit a RBI single to put Louisville up 3-0.  Dixon had a career game for the Bats, going 4-5 with three home runs, a double, and seven RBI’s in the game. He was a big part of the Bats’ seven run fourth inning, chasing top Twins prospect Stephen Gonsalves.

35893487403_81963cb181_zOn the mound for Louisville,  Rookie Davis earned the win, throwing six innings, giving up five runs on six hits, while striking out four.  Evan Mitchell came in to take care of the last three innings, giving up one run and striking out one.  FINAL:  Bats 13, Red Wings 6.

36679070836_341d3f5479_zAgain, a fun day, but sad that it’s our last Bats game of the season.  Hopefully this isn’t the end of baseball season as a whole for us, though.  Brian starts fall ball this week, the Florence Freedom are in the playoffs, and we hope to catch another Reds game this fall.  The Bats are also hosting a movie night next month which should be fun.  I’ll leave off with a photo of Brian up on the #BatsBoard after the autograph signing.  Remember to add me on SnapChat @minorbaseball to follow the live game action.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Church of Baseball

Louisville Bats vs. Rochester Red Wings (International League)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Last week Trevor and I took in a rare Friday night game, as I usually work nights.  Originally, we had planned on attending the game with other members of our Covenant United Methodist Church, but due to lack of interest, they cancelled the trip.  It’s a shame they cancelled it, as I was looking forward to getting to know some of the congregation better because we haven’t been members ourselves for too long, joining a few months after the move.  This was a good opportunity for Trevor and I to have a good time together, though, so that’s just what we did!  Trevor and I don’t really like to sit still too much at a game, and enjoy checking it out from different vantage points throughout the ballpark. We started out this game in left field, where we sort of had most of the section to ourselves.

Starting to get hungry, we went to hunt down some food.  Landing on a ballpark favorite hot dog, we got some really good ones.  Trevor being a teen-aged boy, had no problem devouring the massive Grand Slam Dog, while I had the more modest, but still filling, Louisville Slugger Dog.

Speaking of dogs, Jake the Diamond Dog was in the house again for the game, hanging out on the concourse before hitting the field for his duties.

We took our regular seats to enjoy our food and more of the game, but the Red Wings really did a number on our home town boys.  The Bats did all of their scoring in the second inning, scoring two of their four runs off of a Darnell Sweeney (2-5) home run.  Chad Wallach went 4-4 on the night, and he and Sweeney had six of the Bats nine hits.

On the mound for Louisville, Luke Farrell only lasted three innings of the game.  He allowed six runs on three hits and four walks, while striking out three.  The biggest blow was giving up a grand slam in the third.  The Bats gave three more runs in each the eighth and ninth inning, to basically get routed.  FINAL:  Bats 4, Red Wings 10.

Trevor and I ended the game way up in the cheap seats in right field, and it was a decent vantage point to see the field and the city.  Despite the loss, it was a fun time and good to see a game with Trevor as the Minor League season is quickly coming to an end.  As for my church brothers and sisters, we’ll be back there on Sunday and hope to attend other events.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

Lone Wolf

Louisville Bats vs. Buffalo Bisons (International League)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Last weekend was another first, as this was the inaugural game that I attended alone.  Brian was tied up with a friend, Trevor wasn’t feeling well, and Lily was, well, out being Lily.  Since there was no one there to entertain me other than the ballplayers, we can get right to the action, or in-action, in the Bats case.

Starting on the mound for Louisville was Cody Reed.  He took the loss, going six innings while giving up four runs and striking out five.  Leading the way offensively for the Bats was Jesse Winker.  He went 2/5 with and RBI.  Also helping out were Eric Jagielo and Brandon Dixon, who went 2/4 and 2/3 respectively in the loss.  FINAL:  Bats 2, Bisons 5.

This was a short entry, but, again, the game wasn’t as much fun without any of my little buddies there.  It’s still always great to be at the ballpark, but better when enjoying it with someone!

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Lego Land

Louisville Bats vs. Charlotte Knights (International League)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Another gorgeous day here in the ‘Ville, and another Bats game for Brian and I to enjoy.  Last weekend the Legos Play Ball Tour was in town for some fun.  Brian was able to make some cool Lego vehicles and the kids had the chance to race them, also!

It was a fun way to spend the pre-game, and it kept us out of the heat.  The kids were even able to make a baseball player out of Legos and take it home with them, which is cool.  I’m sure soon, though, all the parts will just get thrown in his Lego bin.

On to the game, as we settled in our seats with our new free hats courtesy of the Bats.

Starting on the mound for the Louisville was Amir Garrett.  He threw six and 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits.  He only walked two batters while striking out four.  In the ninth inning, the Knights tagged relief pitcher Kevin Shackelford for a pair of runs to take the lead 4-2, but the Bats’ offense wasn’t done yet.

The Bats opened the scoring in the second inning, when Adrian Nieto’s double scored Eric Jagielo.  Then in the sixth inning, a Hernan Iribarren double, wild pitch, and error allowed him to scored the tying run.  Going into the bottom of the ninth down by two runs, the Bats battled back to load the bases.  Four two-out singles scored three runs, including Phillip Ervin’s walk-off winner.

We had a lot of fun at this one, with a good combination of the Legos and the walk-off win.  Brian had a good time, and was really into the game at the end, which makes it more fun for me, also. An added bonus was seeing former Louisville Cardinal Zach Burdi on the mound for the Knights, although he did leave the game after facing only a couple of batters for undisclosed reasons.  Our next game will be in Cincinnati for my birthday, so that should be a good one!

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Bat Boys & Indians

Louisville Bats vs. Indianapolis Indians (International League)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  We were back at it last weekend for another Bats game.  I really wanted to hit 80’s night the day before, but just couldn’t make it happen.  That promotion is simply tailor made for me, but Bri and I still had a great time on Sunday.  And the weather was perfect for baseball, as it’s been lately.  Also, coming in the gate Brian got a free mini-bat from the Louisville Slugger Museum.  We already have a few of these, but you can never have too many mini-bats.  We’ll be making it back to the museum soon to check out their Lego exhibit, anyway!

On to the game, starting on the mound for Louisville was Cody Reed, who only lasted through the first two innings.  He held Indy off the board, though, waling two, striking out three, and giving up one hit.  Asher Wojciechowski pitched three innings, giving up one Indian run on four hits while striking out five.  Kyle McMyne gave up the only other Indy run, but still earned the win.  He pitched two innings and struck out one batter.  Earning the save was Kevin Shackelford, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Also during the game, Brian got a game ball thrown to him by Indians manager Andy Barkett.   He managed for a few years in the Detroit organization, and must have sensed we were Tiger fans!

The Bats scored one run in the first, and went on to take the lead with three in the seventh.  Leading the offense for the Bats, was catcher Rob Brantly, who went 2/4 with an RBI.  Helping out was Sebastian Elizalde who went 1/3 with an RBI and run scored.  Alex Blandino started the scoring for Louisville in the first, and was 1/2 with an RBI and run scored in the game.  FINAL:  Bats 4, Indians 2.

Another fun day for us, and the Bats had BBoy McCoy, the break dancing bat boy, in attendance to entertain the fans between innings.  I still think that break dancing is very cool, and the movie Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo still holds up, today.  Unfortunately, the times he was out, we were either at the playground, or I couldn’t get my camera or phone focused in in time to catch a photo or video.  I did find a nice video of him on YouTube, though, that I’ll share.  I highly recommend seeing him if he’s at a ballpark near you!

Video courtesy of the Skillville Group

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Swashbuckling at Slugger

Louisville Bats vs. Toledo Mud Hens (International League)

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Another beautiful day at the ballpark, and this time we had Pirates and Princesses on hand to entertain the kids.  Lily went through a Disney princess stage when she was younger, so I’m familiar with Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, but I don’t know the name of the newer one, the Frozen one.  As far as the pirates go, Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Hook were there for some looting and pillaging.

The Bats were hosting the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate, Toledo Mud Hens, so my allegiance was a little torn.  The Mud Hens, however, jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first inning, and really never looked back.  Tyler Collins hit a three run blast to help the Hens out in that first inning, as Toledo sent all nine hitters to the plate.  For the Bats, Dilson Herrera answered with a two-run homer of his own to cut into the lead in the second inning.  In the fourth inning, and Matt den Dekker triple, a JaCoby Jones double, and a Bats’ error restored the five run lead for the Mud Hens.  That was about it for the offence in the game, so Brian and I went to meet the pirates.  Lucky for us, the line was a lot shorter than the one for the princesses.

On the mound for the Bats,  Sal Romano took the loss, throwing five innings and allowing seven runs on 10 hits.  Matthew Boyd got the win for Toledo, pitching six innings and giving up two runs on five hits while striking out five.  FINAL:  Bats 2, Mud Hens 7.

Another fun day for Brian and I at the ballpark.  There were tons of kids at this game, especially girls, for the princesses, which made the line to run the bases really long.  Brian opted not to run, and really, he was just playing on the field the day before.  Rough loss for the Bats, but this one I didn’t mind as much…

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

Brian learns from Bats

Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY:  Last weekend the Bats hosted a youth camp sponsored by the local Chevy dealerships.  Members of the Division III Spalding University baseball team were also on hand to help teach the kids.  After warm-ups, Brian’s group went to play a game of wiffle ball with some Golden Eagles to start things off.

After the wiffle ball game, his next station was in the outfield catching fly balls.  The players were hitting the baseballs much higher than the kids were used to seeing, but most did a good job of catching them, anyway.

After working on the pop-fly’s, the groups worked on fielding the ball off of the wall.  This is something the kids haven’t dealt with much at their age.  They had some good drills, and made a game of it.  After that, their next station was catching.  One of the Bats coaches was running this one, and you could tell he was an old-school baseball guy.  He didn’t put up with much from any of the kids (and Brian did have a few smart-asses in his group), and expected them to hustle and work hard.  Nothing wrong with that.  I didn’t get any good pics of the last two stations, so we’ll move onto base-running.  The boys worked on running through the base, and making that hard turn toward second.

I wasn’t able to follow him down to the indoor batting cages, but he said he hit the ball pretty well.  No surprise, as that’s probably the strongest aspect of his game.  I did snap a shot of him in the dugout, though!

Then it was time to gather at the short-stop position for some ground balls.  Brian has gotten a lot better at fielding over the last couple of seasons.   I was having fun just seeing him out there on the field.  They had a little problem with some bullying in their group, but the Bats official put a stop to that asap.  Sometimes you get some kids from the same team in these groups, and think they can push kids around and run the show.

The last station was pitching.  Brian will be entering the kid-pitch division for the first time this fall, so this was good instruction he was getting.  He needs some help with his throwing mechanics, any, so this station was good for him.

Brian getting some pitching instruction

In all, this was a fun experience for him.  They move the kids around pretty quick, but I’m hoping he picked up a thing or two to get ready for fall ball.

 

Brian with members of the Louisville Bats

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

 

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