Florence Mall-Florence, KY: Do to work, I wasn’t able to make to the Red Caravan down in Louisville, so we decided to make the trip to Florence to see the grand finale’ of the event. There was a pretty good crowd already when we got there, but found a place to relax. Brian was able to exert some energy in the kids play area, while Lily and Trevor took time to explore the mall for a bit. The first Reds representatives on hand were the mascots. Of course, it was imperative that Brian got to meet them all and get pictures. He already saw Mr. Redlegs at a game, so here are some of him with Rosie Red and Gapper, and Mr. Red, himself:
About 11:00 a.m. the players arrived. On hand included minor league players: Blake Trahan, Sal Romano, Chris Okey, and Shed Long. Reds alumni: Eric Davis, Tom Browning, Chris Welsh, Jeff Brantley, Corky Miller, and Dmitri Young. Current Reds: Tim Adleman, Tucker Barnhart, Scott Schebler, and Drew Storen. Reds manager Bryan Price was also there, as well as GM Dick Williams, and President & CEO Bob Castellini. The Q&A portion was fun for the adults, but the kids didn’t show much interest. When the players finally came down to interact with the fans, thing got a little more fun.
To be honest, we didn’t even stand in line to meet the major league players. The line was much too long, and not worth it yet for Brian, as he doesn’t really know the players yet, anyway. We’re more of a minor league family, anyway, so we met those guys first. As you would expect, they were all very nice and happy to sign Brian’s Reds baseball. They offered cool photos with them and the alumni against a green screen, and have the Great American Ballpark in the background when printed out. I was more happy to meet the alumni, especially Eric Davis, who I watch play for both the Reds and the Tigers when I was much younger. They wouldn’t let us get autographs from the alumni, but they did do a nice job of moving things along to keep the line moving. This was a fun experience, and as much as I’m looking forward to this upcoming season, I look forward to this event next year.
Promotion courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds
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
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
Cincinnati Reds vs. San Diego Padres (National League)
Great American Ballpark-Cincinnati, OH: What a day for fans of Pete Rose! And what a weekend, for that matter. We were lucky enough to be in attendance when the Reds retired Pete Rose’s #14 on Sunday. It was a hot day, but worth to be in the presence of some of the greatest players in history, including Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, and Barry Larkin. His induction into the Reds Hall of Fame, and his jersey retirement were a long time coming, so the crowd was pretty hot for Pete, also. Rose gave a great speech, and was very humble, and thankful to his teammates, manager Sparky Anderson, and especially to the fans. Here is the video I took of his speech:
Here are some more photos of the ceremony. The Hit King looks calm and cool as always, even in the 95 degree heat! I like the one where he’s about to give Bench a good bro-hug!
After the ceremony, the game got underway. It was a good one for Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. He pitched eight scoreless innings, while scattering only five hits, and struck out five. DeSclafani even knocked in a run to help his own cause! Closer Tony Cingrani came into the game to close the door, and ensure Cincinnati’s first shut-out of the season.
The Reds were led offensively by Jose Peraza, who went 2-4 with a run scored and a stolen base. Catcher Tucker Barnhart pitched in as well, going 2-3 with a walk and an RBI double. Jay Bruce also added a solo home run in the win. FINAL: Reds 3, Padres 0.
Despite the heat, it was a fun day at Great American Ballpark. I’m glad I was there to witness Charlie Hustle’s jersey retirement, and a rare Reds win. I was only able to score tix for the upper level to this game, but made sure my buddy and I were in the first row, so I was able to get some decent photos. On my way home, I went up and down the dial, but just couldn’t find WKRP on the radio…
Louisville Bats vs. Pawtucket Red Sox (International League)
Louisville 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.
It 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.
It 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
Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals (National League)
Great American Ballpark-Cincinnati, OH: I have a new best friend, and it’s name is Seat Geek. It’s nice to live in an area where you don’t have to make plans too far out, as there are many places to catch a ballgame, and some days you have choices. When I woke up early Sunday morning, I checked out my app, and found fourth row tickets to the Cincinnati Reds game for only $9 each. I know the Reds aren’t exactly having the best season, but this was still a good deal in my mind, since it’s a ballpark we’ve never been to before. It was a day game, so God forgive me, we missed church, and drove just over an hour to Newport, KY. Now, Newport is a nice little town right on the Ohio River right across from Cincy, and after lunch were able to take a boat shuttle across the river to the game. It was pretty awesome, and only $5 a person. It’s better than paying and dealing with a parking garage, anyway.
A quick video:
The Great American Ballpark is a beautiful stadium, and it has a great baseball atmosphere. We were able to poke around a bit before the game, as there is lots to see once inside. Brian liked the play area, and especially the little fan ball field that he was able to play on.
We made it to our seats, and I was more than happy with our view! These are the kind of seats I’m used to at the Minor League venues. The boys were pretty much in ‘awe’, as this is the biggest stadium that they have ever been to.
Brian has a new best friend, too, and his name is Eugenio Suarez. When he was in the Detroit system, we saw him play as a member of the Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps, and Brian just happened to be wearing a ‘Caps shirt. Suarez noticed it (I’m guessing, really, don’t know for sure, but..) he looked at Brian and threw him a game ball. Not bad, kid, a ball at your first MLB game!
Oh, yeah, and all this time, there was a ballgame going on, too. The Reds actually jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the 2nd inning. Pitcher Jon Moscot couldn’t hold the lead for his team, however, as the Nationals got all over him in the fourth inning scoring five, then the Nats scored five more over the next two innings. Moscot got the hook, but Daniel Wright didn’t do much better, giving up three runs in 1.1 innings and he ended up taking the loss.
The Reds really made a comeback, however, scoring three runs in the seventh and one in the ninth to cut the lead to one. Tyler Holt lead the way offensively, going 3-5 with two RBI’s. Jay Bruce chipping in, going 1-3 with two RBI’s and two runs scored, while Brandon Phillips added three hits and an RBI. FINAL: Reds 9, Nationals 10.
Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Bats vs Durham Bulls (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Well, it only took us a few days in town to hit our first Bats game. Trevor has been here before, back in 2009, but this was Brian’s first experience here. Due to the weather, though, the pre-game kids clinic was postponed, so I’ll have to wait until June to see Brian take the field here. He had fun playing on the playground, however, and the
caro carous caris merry-go-round. Trevor and I took a selfie with the MiLB app, and reminisced about our game here seven years ago.
We sat over by the Durham Bulls bullpen, or Bull-pen, and had a great view of the game. Brian was hoping to meet mascot Buddy Bat, but he was busy on field pretty much the whole game, and never made it into the crowd. One of the ballpark staff members mentioned that he’s more active in the crowd during weekday games.
We did get to see Jake the Diamond Dog, however, as his doghouse was right in front of us. He brought flowers to a fan in the front row, brought some water to the umpires, and served as a batboy, er, batdog, for an inning.
As for the game, I don’t think we were much luck for the home team, as they had a six game winning streak snapped. Right-handed pitcher A.J. Morris started the game for the Bats, throwing three scoreless innings, striking out one batter and allowing only two hits. Relief pitcher Tim Melville took the loss, giving up two runs on two hits, including a home run.
At the plate, DH Jesse Winkler lead Louisville’s limited offense going 1-4 with an RBI. No Bats player had more than one hit in the game, but Hernan Iribbaren was 1-2 with two walks. FINAL: Bats 1, Bulls 3.
The started a little about the fifth or sixth inning, but nothing that could ruin our evening at the ballpark. It was a fun game with the boys, and I look forward to so many more here as they keeping growing. We’ll try to drag Lily to a game or two if we can also! With the rain, I forgot to take a quick video, but I will for next game.
Fifth-Third Ballpark–Comstock Park, MI: I’m not talking about the doomsday prophecy, but last weekend was the second-to-last game for the Whitecaps, and most likely our very last game of the 2012 season. It’s always bitter-sweet to see a season come to an end, but we have a lot of great memories to look back on. This was another memorable game for the kids and I, as we were able to get onto the field again and see some of the players and coaches. Brian really wanted to see Crash the river rascal one last time, so that was our priority! We didn’t have much of a chance after that for playing catch or getting many other pics with the players, but I did get one with the kids in front of the dugout. Brian was able to play on the playground and jump around on the ‘bouncy house’, which burns up some of his energy (Lily and Trevor are too big for the playground…where does the time go???). The kids Papa and Nana were able to join us, too, so it was a great day spent with family at the ballpark. I’m really going to miss the sunshine and the green grass, as fall, and soon winter, will be blasting us with the reality that we live up north. I was really glad we were able to make this trip, though, with school starting and two birthdays within ten days of each other, this was definitely a ‘no frills’ trip. Don’t worry…I still fed them and even got them their ice cream!
The game itself was a fun one, as the ‘Caps built and early 5-run lead on the Dragons. That was no easy task, either, considering that Robert Stephenson was on the mound for Dayton, who was the Cincinnati Reds first round draft pick last year and the organizations top pitching prospect. For West Michigan, Zach Maggard hit a two-run double in the second inning, to put the ‘Caps up 3-0. In the third inning, Jason King and Patrick Leyland each had RBI singles to put them up 5-0. Eugenio Suarez gave West Michigan some insurance, with an RBI triple in the sixth inning. The Dragons came back to score a few runs off starter Jeff Ferrell, but he held on for the win. Ferrell is now 4-1 in his last six games. Michael Torrealba pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save. In all, the Whitecaps ended up with 15 hits in the game, with five doubles and one triple. It’s good to see them playing hard, even though they won’t be making the playoffs. I still can’t believe that it will be another six months at least until another baseball game. This was an end to and extremely busy week for us, that saw Trevor turning 10, his first football game, and a couple of trips to the county fair. The kids last hurrah before school starting up. Final: Whitecaps 6, Dragons 4.
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.