Results tagged ‘ Durham Bulls ’

My Next MiLB Game To Feature Rays’ Evan Longoria

More and more reports continue to come out stating that Tampa Bay Rays’ superstar third basemen, and three-time All-Star, Evan Longoria, will continue his rehab assignment with the Durham Bulls until at least next week. This of course thrills me, as I’m set to attend tomorrow night’s game in Durham.

Up until this point I was hesitant to blog about the possibility of Longoria for fear that it would be all for naught. Now I can say with 99% certainty that I’ll have the pleasure of watching Longoria do his thing tomorrow night versus the Gwinnett Braves. (Longoria will serve as the Bulls’ DH.)

It’s a noteworthy day any time a player as good as Longoria comes to town; even if it’s just for a few days. Guys like him fill the stands and give some pizazz to what might of otherwise been just another ordinary minor league baseball game. It’s a load of fun for fans of all ages.

As with any time a star player comes to the area, my main goal for tomorrow night is to get an autograph from Evan Longoria. He signed for the fans on Thursday night, so I don’t see why he wouldn’t a couple of days later. He seems like a cool guy. I’m sure he will. Or at least, I hope he will.

Whether or not I blog about tomorrow’s game is yet to be decided. I probably won’t. But if something crazy happens, or I’m just in the blogging mood, I might decide to. You’ll just have to wait and see….

May 18th and 20th Durham Bulls Games

I stated in my last blog entry that I was going to attend this past Friday’s Durham Bulls game versus the Pawtucket Red Sox; which I did. I didn’t however announce that I’d be attending yesterday’s game versus the Charlotte Knights as well. There’s a good reason for that. At the time, I didn’t know I’d be going. It was a last minute decision, which turned out to be a great one.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about either game, but I thought I’d give a brief overview of my time spent at the ballpark over the past few days. I normally wouldn’t blog about a MiLB game but considering the fact that the 2009 World Series MVP, Hideki Matsui, is currently playing with the Bulls, I thought I’d type up this little entry.

May 18th: Durham Bulls vs. Pawtucket Red Sox

The moment I heard that Kevin Youkilis was going to be rehabbing with the PawSox I knew I’d be attending this game. But going back even further in time, I knew I’d be attending one of the four games versus the Sox from the day the schedule was first released.

My day at the ballpark started out like every other game of my life: With me standing in line outside of the ballpark, waiting for the gates to open up. It’s one of the things that is a MUST for me. Showing up early to be one of the first inside is something I’ve always enjoyed doing.

Once the gates opened up I made my way past the mobs of the people in Red Sox gear and down to the PawSox dugout. I then proceeded to wait for the players to make their way up the steps from the clubhouse. It seemed to take them longer than usual.

The first player out of the clubhouse was Jose Iglesias, but he flat out ignored my autograph request. Next up was Lars Anderson. I was promptly denied again. I couldn’t help but think that it wasn’t going to be a good day for autograph collecting, and for the most part, I was right. I only got two autographs at this game. One from Kevin Youkilis, and another from Gerald Perry. Not a great day, but at least I got Youk.

Moving on to the game itself.

It was really exciting to say the least. Down 4-3 in the bottom of the 8th, Jesus Feliciano stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and proceeded to clear them on a 3 run triple. The ballpark was electric. You should’ve been there.

After the game I dashed back to the PawSox dugout to ask their manager for the lineup cards, but was told that they never give those out. I know for a fact that’s a lie, but I just let it be. I didn’t want to cause a scene.

All in all it was a great game. The Bulls won. I was successful in getting an auto from Kevin Youkilis. And I got to see Matsui play. I’ll take that kind of game every day of the week.

I know what those of you who aren’t big on reading are thinking: Where are the pictures?! Well, don’t worry, I took some, I just wasn’t sure how I could incorporate them into the entry without giving a pitch-by-pitch recap, which I know would’ve been unnecessary. So here you non-readers go:

Hideki Matsui walking away after signing autograph for a few kids.

Kevin Youkilis getting ready for the game.

Lars Anderson in his first at bat.

Hideki Matsui in his first at bat.

‘Godzilla’ in left field.

And that’s all she (or in this case, *he*) wrote.

May 20th: Durham Bulls vs. Charlotte Knights

I hadn’t planned on attending this game, but I REALLY wanted to get an autograph from Hideki Matsui. This was going to be my last Bulls game until June 8th, and who knows if Matsui will still be on the team then. I knew it wasn’t a guarantee that I’d get him to sign for me, but I at least had to try.

The day started out with me making friends with a relatively nice usher down by the Bulls’ dugout. This would turn out to be important. More on that a little later.

My main autograph target for the day, as stated earlier, was Matsui, but there were a few other guys I wanted as well. Leslie Anderson has been tearing it up this year, and Tampa Bay Rays number 3 prospect Chris Archer has been having a good year as well, so I was going for their autos too.

I was all by myself down by the dugout for the first ten or so minutes after the gates opened. After that, however, people showed up in bunches, and before long there were 10 or so fellow autograph seekers, including a young kid who decided it was necessary to continuously kick me in the back of the legs. But I digress.

I completely missed the arrival of Leslie Anderson from the clubhouse. He came out while I was looking at something that was happening on the field, and by the time I noticed him he was heading onto the field to warm up. I made sure not to turn my head after that. I didn’t want to miss Matsui.

Several minutes passed by and still no sign of Matsui. Finally, after 30 minutes of standing there waiting, he appeared. I was the first one to notice him, and proceeded to hollar “Hideki!!” all while holding out my card and sharpie (which apparently isn’t the universal sign for “can I have your autograph”?). Matsui looked up at me and nodded, but an acknowledgement is all I got. He ran up the steps and onto the field. No auto love from Matsui, but I did get Chris Archer just before I went to my seat. So I was glad about that.

This game wasn’t as exciting as Friday’s. It was ALL Bulls the entire game, which lasted a mere two hours. As soon as the last out of the game was made I rushed over to the Bulls dugout but was stopped by an usher who said I couldn’t go down there because the kids were going to run the bases. But my usher friend came to the rescue and told me I could go down their for just a couple of minutes. Haha! Take that mean usher guy. (This particular usher has always been grouchy to me. If you ever make it to a Bulls game, don’t think you’re going to get past him unless you talk to my usher friend. Haha.)

The only other people down by the dugout were people who had nearby seats. They were all after Matsui’s autograph, and to my surprise he actually stopped to sign. He only signed for four people, but I am happy to state that I WAS one of the lucky few. I have my usher buddy to thank for that.

Here’s a random pic of Matsui in the Bulls alternate home uniform:

If you’re ever in the area I highly suggest you make a trip to Durham to see a ball game. It’s an awesome ballpark, and you’ll have the time of your life. Guaranteed.

My Next Minor League Baseball Game

I said awhile back that I wasn’t planning on blogging about any more baseball games until June 23rd–when I head to Cincinnati for the Twins-Reds game–but I may have to make an exception for tomorrow’s game.

I’d been planning on attending a game during the Durham Bulls 4-game series against the Pawtucket Red Sox since the schedule was first realeased. At the time I was just going for the sole purpose of seeing the top Red Sox’ prospects in action, but I never expected things to develop as they have.

In case you haven’t heard, Kevin Youkilis is currently rehabbing with the PawSox. He’s expected to join back up with Boston as early as this weekend, or as late as next week. Either way, he’ll be playing tomorrow when I head out to the ballpark, so I’m pretty excited about that.

Another guy who’s had success in the Majors but is currently down with the Bulls is former World Series MVP Hideki Matsui. He had a hard time finding any team to sign him in the offseason but finally was successful a couple weeks ago; as the Tampa Bay Rays picked him up.

There’s no timetable for Matsui. The Rays are saying it could be next week, or next month (or never at all?) when they call him up to the big leagues. It all depends on how he does. He has to prove that he can still have an impact for his team.

I’m hoping a bunch of guys on the Pawtucket Red Sox sign autographs because I’ll be ready for them. With so many good names currently on the roster this is one of the most star packed teams I’ll see all year. Some of the standouts on the team include Daisuke Matsuzaka, Lars Anderson, Jose Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway and of course, Kevin Youkilis. That’s just a few of the many. Feel free to view the entire roster by CLICKING HERE.

I’m really excited about tomorrow’s game. It’s not that often that there are so many great players in Durham, North Carolina. It’s sure to be a fun time.

UPDATE

I was able to get autographs from Kevin Youkilis and PawSox’ Hitting Coach (former Brave) Gerald Perry. I’m heading out to the ballpark again today, so I’m planning on posting a recap of Friday’s game and tonight’s game in the same entry. So check back for that on Monday.

Durham Bulls Vs. Charlotte Knights

This was my first Durham Bulls game in almost four years, and I was pretty excited. Here’s the view of the ballpark I had when I rounded the corner from the parking lot:

It was good to be back.

I had originally planned to go straight to my seat when the gates opened but I HAD to stop and take a picture of one of the coolest T.V. dogs of all time:

Yeah, that’s Scooby Doo. I wish my dog was that cool.

After I climbed the steps to the concourse I walked all the way to the outfield and got my first view of the field:

SO awesome. I love baseball, but I think I love baseball fields just as much. They’re so cool.

Anyway, there are also a lot of unique design features to the ballpark. One of which being the Blue Monster:

If the Red Sox can have the Green Monster, I suppose the Bull’s can have the Blue Monster.

Did you notice the bull atop the wall? Here’s a closer look:

Everytime a home run is hit the tail waves and smoke comes out of the bull’s nose. Pretty cool stuff.

After taking my seat in the stands, I noticed some action around the field tarp. Moments later, this happened:

I couldn’t figure it out. It was still a little sunny. But they covered the field anyway.

A few minutes passed, then ten minutes, then a half hour. What the heck did they see on the radar? It didn’t make sense.

Two of the Bull’s players took advantage of the “rain” delay by signing autographs:

I could of easily gotten at least one, if not both, of them to sign for me, but I chose not to.

I only cared to get an autograph from one of three players: Dirk Hayhurst (Author of ‘The Bullpen Gospels’), Matt Moore (No. 15 pospect), or Reid Brignac (recently optioned from the Rays.) None of them signed. In fact, I never saw Dirk or Matt at all. I did however see Reid Brignac when he came out to warm up during the “rain” delay, by playing a little catch:

Moments after Reid came out to throw, the tarp was pulled off the field:

It never rained at all. Go figure.

With the tarp off the field, some more Bull’s players came out to stretch and warm up:

Then some players from the visiting teams dugout emerged to warm up and stretch.

Some stretched more than others:

Things were looking like they were about to get going. But they didn’t. The tarp was rolled out once again, but this time it did rain. Not only did it rain, it POURED. Check it out:

All of the people that were sitting in the lower sections, moved up underneath the shelter to keep dry:

My seat was already under the shelter, so I didn’t have to move at all.

Then something that I didn’t think was possible happened. The rain got heavier:

The thunder and lightning was also terrible. But hey, at least we were entertained during the storm:

In case you can’t tell, that’s a Bugs Bunny cartoon in which he played baseball. Pretty fun to watch. Yes. Fun. (I was bored.)

The rain lasted what seemed like forever. Check out the puddles that formed behind home plate:

They also occured towards the outfield:

About thirty minutes later, the rain let up, and the tarp was removed. The grounds crew then worked hard on sweeping the water asside:

Now that’s a lot of water.

Despite their efforts, it wasn’t meant to be, as moments later it began to rain again. An announcement was made soon after stating that the game had been posponed. (Sigh.)

I took this photo on the way out:

Although there was no game played, I still enjoyed the four hours spent at the ballpark. Anytime I can go to a ballpark, game or not, I still have a great time.

Next Few Blog Entries

I wanted to post this short entry just to let you know what to expect in the coming days. (In terms of future blog entries.)

I’m going to a Minor League ballgame Saturday night featuring the Durham Bulls taking on the Charlotte Knights. I’ll post the entry from the game on Sunday. Should be interesting. Stars on the team include Matt Moore, Dirk Hayhurst, recently added Reid Brignac, etc. I’ve been talking to Dirk recently on twitter, trying to plan out where I should go to get him to autograph my copy of his book “The Bullpen Gospels.” (A great book by the way. Pick up a copy.) I’m also going to call out to other players to see if they will sign, so come back to see if I succeeded.

I’ve sent off questions to A’s prospect, Sonny Gray, and hope to recieve the answers back within the next day or so. So come back around Tuesday, to read my Q and A entry on him.

Other than that, I’m not sure. I’ll blog about whatever seems important in baseball at the moment.

If you have any thoughts on what you think I should blog about, leave a comment and let me know.

 

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