Results tagged ‘ Carolina Mudcats ’

My First Game of 2014; Big Autograph Expectations

After nearly seven months, I’m finally attending another baseball game.

Later today, I’m heading out to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP), in Durham, North Carolina, where the visiting Gwinnett Braves are set to take on the defending International League Champion Bulls in game three of a four-game series. With the teams having split the series so far through two games, it’s sure to be an exciting game. Untitled

The thing I’m most excited about, besides the game itself, is seeing the DBAP for the first time since it underwent a multimillion dollar renovation this past offseason, which involved putting in new lights, new seats, a new playing surface, in addition to changing just about everything you can think of. Anything that helps make the fan experience better I always approve of.

Now, if you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know the DBAP is one of the two local minor league ballparks — Five County Stadium, home of the Carolina Mudcats, being the other — that I frequent throughout each baseball season. Though I always enjoy a good baseball game, generally, I only go out to see a game when a good amount of prospects are set to be there, or if an MLB player is playing in a rehab game. Otherwise, I’m content to merely reading the box score each night.

As many of you are aware, within the past couple of seasons, I’ve developed a big passion for going out to games and getting autographs from the games’ most promising young players who are on their way up, and that’s the main reason I’m heading over to the ballpark tonight. Not living near any MLB teams, it’s truly my only chance to get autographs from what will likely be future MLB stars down the road, and Gwinnett certainly has plenty of them, with Christian Bethancourt, Tommy La Stella and Cody Martin, among others.

However, they’re not alone.

The Bulls definitely hold their own when it comes to roster construction. While this year’s roster doesn’t compare to the one they had last season, which saw Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer as part of the Opening Day roster, their lineup and pitching for this year is set to be good yet again. From Enny Romero to Nathan Karns, and many inbetween, the Bulls stand a good chance of repeating as Champions, and as such, there are numerous players I want to snag an autograph from at some point this year.

But the Braves are the team I’m going for tonight. I’m not going to be trying for any autographs from the Bulls players this time around due to the fact that I can always get them in a few weeks, as opposed to a team that may not return with the same players next time. I learned that lesson last year with Wil Myers. In taking three games to finally get Myers, I missed my chance to get the top opposing teams’ players. I won’t let that happen this time around.

The way I’m viewing the schedules right now, it’s likely that I’ll be going out to Durham often this first month, with possibly no trips to see the Mudcats until May.  The Mudcats simply aren’t that great of a team, and the teams that are going to be visiting aren’t that fantastic either. But it’s just the opposite All-Star-Game-Final-2014for the Bulls, as every team they’re playing against throughout April has some really good players on it that I hope to get autos from. Though, it’s likely that I won’t be blogging about any of it, unless things happen to change.

But that’s just the very beginning of what looks to be a great autographing season.

From May through the end of the season, both the Mudcats and Bulls are taking on loaded teams, making it difficult to decide when I want to head out to the ballpark and see certain players in person, though that’s a good problem to have.

More significant than that, however, the DBAP is hosting the 2014 Triple-A Home Run Derby and All-Star game in mid July, which will bring in numerous top prospects from the Pacific Coast League which usually never comes closer than Memphis. I truly can’t wait until then, as it’s a can’t miss experience that I’ll absolutely be blogging about.

From the exciting Bulls games to kick off the season, to the remaining strong schedules between both the Mudcats and the Bulls, and the All-Star events thrown in there as well, everything combined altogether, it’s sure to be an unforgettable season.

Mudcats Vs. Smokies 4/21/11 AA Game

My dad and I arrived at Five County Stadium, home of the Carolina Mudcats, at around 6:30. The gates had been open for 15 minutes, and there were already several dozen cars in the parking lot.

I was worried that batting practice was already going on, and that I had missed a chance at a baseball or two. But I didn’t hear any cracks of the bat. What? I walked inside the stadium only to find that there was indeed NO batting practice going on. I was upset that there was no BP, but at the same time happy to find out that my ears hadn’t failed me.

I could of tried to get a player to throw me a baseball, but there are large nets that go all the way from foul pole to foul pole. So instead, I wandered around with my dad.

Before we took our seats we stopped by a concession stand where my dad bought a BBQ sandwich and drink. NINE DOLLARS! (Is anything cheap any more? I mean with gas soon to be like 20 dollars a gallon, who can afford this kind of stuff?)

I almost forgot to mention that tonights promotion at Five County Stadium was “Thirsty Thursday”. AKA, 12 oz. soda and beers were just a dollar. (Finally affordability!!) Guess what I got to drink on this fine Thirsty Thursday….. (Really……go ahead…….guess.)

(A) Soda

(B) Beer

(C) Neither

If you said (A), sorry……you’re incorrect.

(B)? I’m only 15 years old, so…………

That leaves us with (C). (The correct answer.)

That’s right. After complaining about everything being SO expensive, I passed up on a dollar soda. Sue me!

After a 15 minute walk around the stadium we finally took our seats in the FRONT row. (Section 106-Row A-Seats 4 and 5, to be exact.) After the national anthem (which included a few bombs bursting in mid air–AKA fireworks) it was finally my favorite time of any ballgame. GAME TIME!!!

The Smokies half of the first wasn’t much to write home about. As they went down 1, 2, 3. The Mudcats however scored 2 runs on 3 hits. (Two of which were doubles.)

The Smokies finally got on the board in the top of the third inning by scoring 2 runs. The mudcats didn’t answer in the bottom half, but scored a run in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

The Smokies then made things interesting by getting within 2 runs in the seventh. The score was 5-3, with the Mudcats on top, going into the eighth inning.

And that is were things stayed. As the final score was 5-3. THE MUDCATS WON!!

I tried for a baseball from the bat boy after the game, but failed in doing so. (No baseballs for me.) But hey…..I got a souvenier cup. (Cue a sarcastic, “OH BOY!”)

HIGHLIGHTS AND PHOTOS

So, I promised photos in my last entry, and here they are…….

(Sorry about the netting.)

Remember in my last entry when I said that a lot of past and present MLB players have come from the Carolina Mudcats? (Tim Wakefield, Miguel Cabrera, etc.) Well anyway, here’s an example:
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Who’s that you ask. That’s Fred Lewis. A player for the Cincinnati Reds, who is down in the minors for rehab. (I think.) Did you notice his red batting helmet? Everyone else on the team had a black helmet, but he had a Cincinnati Reds batting helmet with the number 15 on it. See Fred Lewis in the majors below:
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Here’s a better perspective of the view from our seats:
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Not bad, eh?

I’m going to let you guess what the next picture is:
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Give up? It’s the Carolina Mudcats mascot, a mudcat. (How original.) Muddy the Mudcat to be exact. In the photo above he’s about to race the kid around the bases. Guess who won. Yep. The kid. (I personaly think the whole race was rigged.)

That wasn’t the only action that took place inbetween innings. There was a T-shirt toss. (No I didn’t get a shirt.) A sack race. And of course the Seventh inning stretch. (That’s always a crowd favorite.) Now for more pics.

Five County Stadium has many unique design features to it. Here are two of them:
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The first picture is of the General Admission seats. (Notice that they’re green.) The second picture is of the right field wall. It is dramatically short, and very close. This makes it VERY easy for a lefty to hit a homer. Oddly enough, no lefty even came close. Hmmm.

There’s also a restaurant:

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I guess that’s for the people who want to eat in warmth (yes it was freezing cold) and enjoy a ballgame at the same time.

The most action packed thing that happened all night was in the bottom of the seventh inning. After striking out, Mudcats right fielder, Denis Phipps, was ejected from the game for throwing his bat to the ground in fustration. I think the home plate umpire jumped the gun. I mean, give the guy a warning. Don’t just give him a “YOU’RE OUTTA HERE!” (That umpire had problems all night with making good decisions on calls. And the crowd let him know it. It was quite hilarious actually.)

Here’s Denis after the ejection was made:
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He was a bit mad at the call. (I don’t blame him.)

And here’s the “necessary” discussion between the home plate ump. and a Mudcats coach over the call:
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All in all it was a GREAT game. And I had a GREAT time. This was my first Mudcats game in over 5 years. It was good to be back. I might have to go back very soon. Hmmmm……

Going To My First “Game” of The Year

I am going to be attending my first game of the year tomorrow. Notice I put game in quotes, in the title. That’s because although it’s an actual baseball game, with real players and real baseballs, it’s only a minor league game. (A Double-A game, to be exact.)

The game is at 7:15, and has the Carolina Mudcats taking on the Tennessee Smokies. The gates open an hour before game time, and I’m going to be the FIRST one in line. I’m going to try my hand at snagging baseballs. (Although it’s just a Minor league game, it’ll give me practice for a Major League game.)

I’m attending this game with my dad. And we’re sitting in the best seats in the house. (House=Five County Stadium) Section 106-Row A-Seats 4 and 5. AKA, first row behind home plate. Oh yeeeaaaahh!!! (Okay. Okay. Maybe that would be more impressive of seats if it were a Yankee game and it cost around 8.3 million dollars per seat.(These tickets are just 11 dollars.) But hey. Major or Minor…..it’s still FIRST row.)

The home team, of the Carolina Mudcats, are the Double-A affiliates of the Cincinnati Reds. So who knows…. I might be seeing a FUTURE hall of famer in action.

Several players have played for the Mudcats and gone on to succeed in the Majors. (Tim Wakefield, Miguel Cabrera, etc.)

My first Major League game is on June 21st, with the Reds taking on the Yankees for the first time in 8 years. (Only 62 days away!!)

My second and third Major League games are in Tampa on August 5th and 6th, with the Rays taking on the A’s. (Only 107 and 108 days away!!)

I’ll do a recap of if I get any baseballs during BP and a basic recap of the game sometime next week with pictures. (Next week because my computer won’t let me upload pictures.)

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