Louisville Colonels vs. Rochester Red Wings (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: What to do when your kids are up in Michigan visiting their mom? Call your best friend down from Ohio to catch a ballgame, that’s what! The Bats, celebrating a throwback weekend, were playing as the Louisville Colonels (who were a founding member of the National League). They also held a ceremony before the game to retire the numbers of Louisville’s own Pee Wee Reese (1) and his Brooklyn teammate, the great Jackie Robinson (42).
We had front row seats, with a good view of the game, even with the sun baking us a bit. Good game for the home team, but Hernan Iribarren and D.J. Peterson leading the way offensively. Both went 2-4 with an RBI.
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.
On 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.
Again, 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.
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.
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.
Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Iowa Wild (American Hockey League)
Van Andel Arena-Grand Rapids, MI: I hope this post finds that everyone had a safe and very Merry Christmas! To celebrate our holiday, we headed downstate to visit family, and to keep busy, took in a hockey game. There are really only two seasons in our eyes, baseball in summer, and hockey in winter, so we spend many nights at the rink when the ballparks are covered in snow. On this night, Brian and I went with Papa to see the Griffins host the Wild at the Van. Our first Griffs game of the season, and it was a good one. They wasted no time, as Andy Meile tickled the twine just 14 seconds into the game. The Wild tied the game shortly after, but not long after that Landon Ferraro re-established the lead for Grand Rapids. Teemu Pulkkinen scored with 43 seconds left in the period to give the Griffins at 3-1 lead going into the first intermission.
The second period was a good one for the home team. Mitch Callahan scored a power-play goal just 2:35 into the period to put the Griffins up by three. Grand Rapids kept pouring it on, as Tomas Nosek scored a highlight-reel goal, and Marek Tvrdon scored his first AHL goal shortly after. The scoring didn’t stop there, as defenseman Nathan Paetch scored on a laser from the left circle, and Nosek tapped in his second of the night to put an end to the second period. Brian and I tried to catch up with the mascots Griff and Finn, but they didn’t get out with the fans during the game or intermissions.
The third period wasn’t as excited, but still held some very good stories. First, with the Wild getting beat up, they decided to finally pull their starting goalie, and replace him with David DeSandler. With the other netminder called back up to Minnesota, the Wild needed a back-up, and signed the west Michigan native to a one-day tryout. DeSandler did a fine job, too, only giving up one goal and making six saves in his one period of work. The only goal he gave up was to former Lake Superior State Laker Colin Campbell at the 5:53 mark. In net for the Griffs, Thomas McCollum, who was sent down from the Detroit Red Wings earlier in the day. He was stellar on the night, stopping 32 out of 34 shots for Grand Rapids.
Fight! Fight! Dropping the gloves!!!
This was a fun night with family, and we hope to make it down to another game this season. As the last post of 2014, it was a great year and we really look forward to the challenges that 2015 will bring us. I’m still hoping to get transferred to a warmer, more baseball friendly environment, so keeping my fingers crossed, and see where the new year takes us! Final: Griffins 9, Wild 2.
All photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball
Baseball and hockey, the two sports loves of my life, going together like chocolate and peanut butter. And with this outdoor hockey thing really catching on, more teams and leagues are taking part in this type of event every year. So whoever decided to build a hockey rink in the middle of a frozen baseball park, is simply brilliant. Although this is not a new concept, this past weekend was the first outdoor game for our own Grand Rapids Griffins. The Griffins took on the Toronto Marlies at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, in American Hockey League action. The game was part of Detroit’s Winter Festival, which featured in-state high school, NCAA, Ontario Hockey League, and the Griffs AHL game. The Comerica Park venue also hosted two alumni games from the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Griffins, the defending Calder Cup Champions, and off to the best start in franchise history, found themselves tied at three all after regulation and overtime against the Marlies, however. It looked like a great experience for all involved, and will hopefully lead to more events like this in the future. I would really like the Griffins to stay close to home, though, and maybe one day play at an outdoor game at Fifth Third Ballpark, home to the West Michigan Whitecaps. This would be another great venue for hockey, with many successful high school, college, and professional teams in the area. You can even look at what the Rochester Red Wings did with their Frozen Frontier this season, as a model of success. From what I’ve read, Frontier Field did a phenomenal job of hosting hockey of all levels last month, and the same could be done at other minor league stadiums in the north. Although a Frozen Fifth Third may be a pipe dream, I guess I’ll have to wait until April to see some action there. Until then, we plan on hitting a Griffins game very soon.
Frontier Field–Rochester, NY: I really like Frontier Field, so I’m glad we were able to see two games here. And as this is the third time we’ve seen the Red Wings on this trip, I was starting to become a fan. Add the fact that there are five former Whitecaps on the Rochester roster (Clete Thomas, Wilkin Ramirez, Casey Fien, Luke French, and Mike Hollimon), and I’m a Red Wings supporter! There seemed to be a more festive atmosphere for the Red Wings than the E-Yanks, and they even had an autograph booth going, where I took the opportunity to have pitcher Matt Maloney sign a game ball for Brian (a future pitcher himself). As with the other ballparks we’ve doubled up on, we got seats a little higher up than last game to get a different perspective of things. Still great seats as always. The mascots Spikes and Mittsy were very active with the crowd, especially kids like myself. We even had a chance to chat with the Red Wings GM Dan Mason, who was extremely friendly. It’s nice to see these guys down interacting with the fans, and he was very interested in our trip and how his club and stadium compared to the others we’ve been to. The game itself was a lot of fun, and we were even treated to some extra innings, as Louisville bested the Wings 4-2 in 11. I was thrown another game ball, and made another amazing catch, so still went home happy! It was a long night, but well worth everything. Had to get a good nights sleep, as we had two games in Buffalo on tap for the next day. Final: Bats 4, Red Wings 2 in 11 innings.
Alliance Bank Stadium-Syracuse, NY: I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love being at the ballpark early in the day. The grass still smells so fresh, and it just seems like the day was made for baseball, and nothing else. We were also blessed with another beautiful spring day to make us even more comfortable. Because of the noon start, eating lunch at the ballpark was essential. If you like hamburgers, this is the ballpark for you, as they have many different varieties, though they are pricey at $8 a piece. They offered good hot dogs, also, and a cold beer helped kick the day off. Since we sat in the front row for yesterday’s game, we decided to gain a little altitude and get a different perspective. One thing that I like about Bank Alliance Stadium, is that is does have a second deck to it, which is rare, even for Triple-A stadiums. The view of the game was fantastic, and in all honesty, if I had season tickets here, this is where they would be. I do like seeing at least a couple of games in the same ballpark, and getting a different feel for the crowds and seats. Syracuse cruised to another win, too. Final: Chiefs 6, Red Wings 4.
Syracuse University: While in the area, I always make time to visit the local colleges, especially when they have the prestige of the Orange of Syracuse. It is a very beautiful campus, and we also visited the gift shop/book store there as well. I didn’t realize how old the school was, but has some really stellar architecture.Photos property of Minoring In Baseball
Alliance Bank Stadium–Syracuse, NY: After almost nine straight hours on the road, we were finally ready to sit down and watch some baseball. Well, we weren’t thrilled with just sitting again, but being at a ballpark we’ve never been to before gave us a chance to walk around, explore, and mingle with the local fans. Alliance Bank Stadium is a decent venue, and the weather was perfect for a Mother’s Day at the ballgame. Don’t worry, I did call my mom and wish her a very happy Mother’s Day, and got her some souvenirs from our trip. Back to the game, it wasn’t a huge crowd, and the diehards can’t understand why people don’t come out and support the local team. I tend to agree, and think some people take it for granted. Living four hours from my ‘home team’ makes me appreciate the games that I am able to make it to. We had great seats in the front row down the third base line, just past the Chiefs dugout. The early game gave us a chance to get a good nights’ sleep, and be back at the ballpark the next morning…Final Score: Chiefs 4, Red Wings 2.