Results tagged ‘ FUN ’

Trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame

A little over eight years ago, back in June of 2006, I took a trip with my family to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, as part of a two week journey around the Northeast. I wasn’t extremely into baseball back then, but I enjoyed it just enough that I would’ve gotten a decent experience out of the visit. However, it wasn’t meant to be. Due to major flooding in the surrounding area, the Hall of Fame was closed, and we had to settle for a visit to a nearby baseball wax museum — an interesting place, but one that obviously paled in comparison to the main attraction in town.

In the years since, I’ve become one of the biggest baseball fans you’ll ever meet, constantly following the game and studying up on the stars of today and years past. Therefore, it had slowly become a must for me to make it back to Cooperstown at some point during my life. Although I imagined a return trip would take place a couple of decades or more from the time I last made the long trek up to New York from North Carolina, a plan for my dad, grandpa and I to take another trip to the Hall of Fame was quickly orchestrated over the past few months. And thus, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the three of us made our way to New York.

On Saturday, November 29th, we got up early and made the drive from our hotel in Binghamton, NY, over to Cooperstown, arriving at a little bit after 9:00 in the morning:

DSCN7426As you may have noticed, there was snow on both of the trees to each side of the doors, as well as icicles hanging at various lengths from the roof. The cause of the snow and ice is one element of the trip that wasn’t present in June of 2006: cold weather. Far from the warm summer temperatures of our last visit, it was fairly cold (as is to be expected in late November), with the day starting off at around 10 degrees. But, thankfully, the Hall of Fame doesn’t close for cold temperatures, and we were actually able to make it past the front door this time around.

Upon entering the Hall and purchasing our tickets, we walked up the stairs to the second floor, where we caught a brief introduction movie, before beginning the tour of the museum.

One of the first pieces of memorabilia that we saw, and one of the most interesting of the day, was an old baseball that was used to “prove” that Abner Doubleday was the inventor of baseball, back in 1839:

DSCN7427However, contrary to popular belief, Doubleday didn’t invent baseball. As the display discussed, Doubleday was given credit for the sport’s origin, but a version of baseball had been being played for numerous years prior to 1839. Although the exact inventor of baseball isn’t fully known, credit for the rules of today’s version of the game — 90 feet between bases; 9 innings; 9 players per team — was awarded to Alexander Cartwright, the “Father of Modern Baseball”.

But while the invention of baseball wasn’t Abner Doubleday’s, there was an interesting non-baseball item that was in fact his own:

DSCN7436As a lover of history, including the Civil War era, these shoulder epaulets belonging to Doubleday during the war were very cool to see. Though not directly related to baseball, I came to find that the off the wall items such as these — not just baseballs, bats, jerseys, etc. — were some of the most interesting things to see.

But the baseball memorabilia was amazing as well; especially that of baseball’s well known all-time greats, such as Honus Wagner. Playing from 1897 through 1917, mainly for the Pittsburgh Pirates, there was a locker filled with Wagner stuff, such as one of Wagner’s full uniforms (used while he was a manager):

DSCN7442Wagner’s 1909 T206 baseball card holds the record for the most valuable sports card in existence, having sold for a whopping 2.8 million dollars back in 2007. So seeing the rare items tied directly to Wagner was amazing.

But things kept getting better and better as the journey through the museum continued. Next up was an entire section dedicated to the most well known player in baseball history: Babe Ruth. Among the items on display were a baseball estimated to have been hit by Ruth over 500 feet (picture 1); Ruth’s glove from the 1926 World Series (picture 2); a display of various things, such as one of Ruth’s bats (picture 3); and an autographed Babe Ruth baseball (picture 4):

RuthFollowing the Ruth exhibit, there was an exhibit dedicated the Negro Leagues, titled “Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience”. The most well known Negro League player has to be Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier back in 1947, going on to be inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. However, the exhibit focused on more than just Robinson. Also included in the exhibit, that helped tell the story of the Negro Leagues, were uniforms worn by Satchel Paige (left) and James “Cool Papa” Bell (right):

Negro LeaguesPaige is likely the most widely known Negro League pitcher, having pitched three shutout innings against the Boston Red Sox in 1965 at the age of 59, becoming the oldest player ever to play in the majors. Bell, while not as much of a household name as Paige, was just as amazing in his own way. Possessing blazing speed, it was said that Bell could “turn off the light and be under the covers before the room got dark” and that Bell once “hit a ball up the middle of the field and was struck by the ball as he slid into second base”. Though merely stories people liked to tell, it goes to show just how much Bell’s speed stood out to people.

Next in line on the path through the museum was “Diamond Dreams”, which showcased the many roles that women have played throughout the history of baseball, including playing the game themselves. The 1992 movie ‘A League of Their Own’, staring Tom Hanks, Geena David and Madonna, among others, covered this very topic of women playing the baseball. And therefore, the exhibit included costumes from the movie itself:

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After spending some time reading about the history of women in baseball, the three of us then made our way through a collection of items from 1930-1970, including things used by all-time greats, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle, before finding ourselves in a portion of the museum dedicated to Latin American baseball players, entitled ‘Viva Baseball':

DSCN7483Although everything in the exhibit was interesting and fun to learn about, there were some items that interested me more than others. Two of the key items for me were David Ortiz’s 2004 World Series jersey (left), from the year the Red Sox broke their 86-year Championship drought, as well as a jersey worn by Albert Pujols (right) during his 2001 Rookie of the Year winning season:

LatinBoth players are likely on their way to the Hall of Fame for their careers once they retire.

The next section we came upon covered baseball up through the year 2000. Some of the top things around the exhibit were a Tom Seaver display (Seaver holds the record for highest Hall of Fame induction voting percentage, with 98.8 %) that included the red cleats from his 300th career win (picture 1); George Brett’s pine tar bat from 1983 (picture 2); Robin Yount’s batting helmet from his 3,000th hit (picture 3); and Derek Jeter’s 1998 World Series cleats (picture 4):

Today's GameAlthough I enjoyed every portion of the museum, seeing this type of stuff from players that I’ve seen countless hours of video on truly made it all the more impressive.

That’s one of the reasons I most enjoyed the last room of the second floor that had items from the last decade or so of the game. One of the great things about these items was that I could remembered seeing a lot of the unique events they were tied to take place on TV, either live or in a recap of the game. The room was organized into thirty different lockers (one for each team) positioned around the walls, with several items for each team in each locker.

Remember back in 2012 when Orioles’ slugger Chris Davis came on to finish out the marathon 16 inning game on the mound against the Red Sox after beginning the game as the designated hitter? Well, the cap Davis was wearing was there:

DSCN7516Do you recall the unbelievable home-run-robbing catch made by DeWayne Wise in 2009 to preserve Mark Buehrle’s perfect game? They had the glove he used to snag the ball:

DSCN7520In fact, pretty much anything of significance that has happened within the past number of years was included in this exhibit. The cleats Miguel Cabrera was wearing the night he secured baseball’s first Triple Crown since 1967 (picture 1); the cleats Mike Trout wore when he recorded his first career cycle (picture 2); Jim Thome’s 600th career home run (picture 3); and the cap Mariano Rivera wore during his final All-Star outing of his career in 2013 (picture 4):

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It was all there.

Also in the room — in a display case in the very center — was an arrangement of items specifically from the 2014 Major League Baseball season. Although a bat from Jose Abreu’s rookie year was awesome to see, as were the cleats Albert Pujols was wearing when he blasted his 500th career home run, the thing that stood out to me the most was the jersey worn by Mo’ne David during the Little League World Series:

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Having watched Davis pitch on T.V. throughout the series, as well as seeing her on the cover of Sports Illustrated and basically anywhere you looked, it was awesome to see the jersey used by the first girl to earn a win in Little League World Series history.

After taking in all the things from this season, and doing my best to photograph it all, we all made our way up to the third floor of the museum. There, in a Hank Aaron exhibit, we saw another unique item not directly related to baseball, like the Abner Doubleday epaulets talked about earlier — bricks from Aaron’s childhood home in Alabama:

DSCN7557But while that was awesome to see, the Hall of Fame also had the full uniform Aaron was wearing the night he passed Babe Ruth for most home runs on the all-time home run list:

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That was pretty remarkable to see after watching him hit that historic blast over and over on T.V.

However, as we all know, Aaron’s career mark of 755 home runs didn’t stand. Barry Bonds went on to pass Aaron, with his 756th home run coming on August 7, 2007. The helmet Bonds was wearing when he hit the homer was on display, as was the ball itself:

DSCN7573You may have noticed that the ball has an asterisk cut out of the cover. The story behind that lies with Marc Ecko — the person who bought the ball online for $752,467. After purchasing the baseball, Ecko held an online contest to determine its fate. Voters had three choices: put an asterisk on the ball; leave it alone; or shoot it to the moon. Around half of the ten million votes said an asterisk should be added before the balls donation. And thus became the ball you see above.

Also in this room, focusing on records and such, were some pretty incredible things. Among them was Derek Jeter’s batting gloves from his 3,000th hit game (picture 1); a cap from each of Nolan Ryan’s record seven career no-hitters (picture 2); first base from Armando Galarraga’s infamous near-perfect game (picture 3); a ball from the 2007 game in which the Rangers defeated the Orioles 30-3 (picture 4); the jersey from Roy Halladay’s postseason no-hitter in 2010 (picture 5); and, my personal favorite item, possibly of the entire museum, the glove Willie Mays used to make “The Catch” in the 1954 World Series (picture 6):

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In all, I took more pictures in this one section of the museum than any other section. It was truly amazing stuff.

Towards the end of items on the third floor was a display with memorabilia solely from the 2014 World Series between the Giants and the Royals. Watching every single inning on T.V. as it happened, is was awesome to see some items from the series in person. But the one thing that stood out the most was rookie pitcher Yordano Ventura’s cap that he wore for his game six start:

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In addition to being a standout item because of the great outing Ventura had, it’s the inscription on the cap that makes it stand out the most. After the tragic death of 22-year-old Cardinals’ prospect, Oscar Taveras, Ventura took to the mound with “RIP O.T # 18″ written on his hat as a tribute to his native Dominican Republic friend. It was touching on T.V., and even more so in person.

Once we had viewed all there was to see on the third floor, my grandpa, dad and I headed down the street to grab a bite of lunch at a nearby restaurant before returning to continue walking around the Hall of Fame. Believe it or not, after over three hours spent at the Hall (and after 35 pictures and 2,000 words in this blog post), there was still more to see and do.

After returning to the Hall of Fame, we headed over to an art exhibit, which normally isn’t my thing but really intrigued me this time around. Following that, we headed through a room dedicated to this year’s Hall of Fame inductees — Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux — before arriving to the Hall of Fame’s main point of interest: The Hall of Fame Gallery:

DSCN7618With the current number of Hall of Famers standing at 306 total people — 211 players, 35 negro leaguers, 28 executives, 22 managers and 10 umpires — there were a lot of plaques to cover, but we made our way around to every single one.

As with every part of the museum, there were a few portions (in this case, people) that stood out the most.

The first of such was the inaugural class of five plaques (located at the far end of the picture above), being of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson, all of which were inducted in 1936 — three years before the Hall of Fame’s opening in 1939:

DSCN7636Standing out as a member of the Hall of Fame that isn’t necessarily as known as the everyday players such as Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Cy Young, etc., was Wesley Branch Rickey (left), accompanied by Jackie Robinson (right):

Robinson

Rickey was the person who brought Jackie Robinson to the Dodgers in 1945, making him the first African American player to break baseball’s color barrier when he made his debut two years later.

Another lesser known member is Effa Manley — the only woman in the baseball Hall of Fame:

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Manley was greatly involved in the Negro Leagues as the only woman owner among an industry of male owners. Her induction came in 2006 as a “reflection of her commitment to baseball and civil rights”.

One last person who is more known for what he did than who he was is Bill Veeck:

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Mostly known for his stunt of bringing the shortest player in MLB history to the plate in 1951 — 3 foot 7 inch tall Eddie Gaedel — Veeck made a major impact on the game, stating, “I try not to break the rules but merely to test their elasticity”.

Upon completion of viewing all of the plaques, we made a brief stop by the gift shop, where I picked up a T-shirt and a magnet to commemorate my second trip and first successful visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Following that, after half a dozen hours or so spent at the Hall of Fame, my dad, grandpa and I swung by historic Doubleday Field, which was covered in snow . . . :

DSCN7686. . . before making our way out of town and back to our hotel.

I didn’t fully know what to expect from the Baseball Hall of Fame. Sometimes you can get your hopes up so high that the actual experience fails to meet those lofty expectations. But I can honestly say that the Hall of Fame completely blew away all my expectations. It was so well set up and so greatly stocked with some incredible pieces of baseball history that there was no way I could document it all — both with my camera or in this blog post.

So, if you haven’t, go see the Hall of Fame for yourself. It’s truly something that every single baseball fan should do at least once in their lifetime. You’ll never forget it.

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.

Opening Day: Official Start of the Regular Season

We’ve had the Opening Series, held down in Australia on March 22nd and 23rd; we’ve had Opening Night, held down in San Diego last night; and now, after so much anticipation leading up to the year, we’re set for Opening Day — an unofficial holiday for millions of baseball fans around the country. This is the day we’ve all been waiting for, ever since the final out of the World Series was recorded in October of last year.mlb-opening-day-logo_2014_hero

Thirteen total games are on tab for today, with the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers and Padres being the only teams not in action. The games will take place all throughout the day, from 1:05 Eastern, with the Pirates taking on the Cubs, to the Mariners going up against the Angels, at 10:05, making the entire day exciting.

Not only is Opening Day fun because of the official start of the 162-game baseball regular season, but it also stands out as one of the few times you ever see every single teams pitching ace on the mound around the country. Every team starts from zero, with hopes of making the postseason (some with better odds than others) and putting your best pitcher on the mound is a great way to kick off the year on a high note; knowing that things may not look too good towards the end of the year.

With so many changes this past offseason, this could be one of the most intriguing Opening Days in years. While teams and players have had over a month of Spring Training games to show off their potential, those games are basically meaningless. You never know how individual players, and teams as a whole, will fare for the entire length of a season. That’s what makes a given season so entertaining — the unknown factor.

So, make it a point today — if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably planning to anyhow — to sit back and watch a least a little baseball at some point. With every game played from here on out taking teams closer and closer to the World Series in October, there’s nothing quite like Opening Day baseball.

3/8/14: NC State Vs. Notre Dame

Normally, I don’t blog about college baseball games that I attend. They simply don’t have the same talent level that comes with a Major League Baseball game — or even a minor league game, for that matter — and it’s not usually worth writing about. But the NC State versus Notre Dame game that my dad and I went to on Saturday was a bit different.

First of all, the projected number one overall 2014 draft pick, Carlos Rodon, was scheduled to make the start for State, and with his previous track record — going 10-3 with a 2.99 ERA last season — Rodon certainly goes a long way in making this year’s NC State team something special. But Rodon isn’t the only standout on the team.

In addition, Trea Turner, who’s predicted to be a top ten pick in the upcoming draft, adds excitement to each and every game, none more so than with his above average speed. With both Rodon and Turner, this year’s State team is a must see.

Which is why I found myself out at the ballpark on Saturday afternoon. I wanted to witness it all for myself before they both leave following this season.

While Carlos Rodon is usually NC State’s Friday starter, as most college aces are, a rainout on Friday forced the game to be made up as part of a double header with visiting Notre Dame on Saturday, with Rodon pitching game one:

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Although he hadn’t started off the year too well, going 1-2, I was optimistic that Rodon would turn things around in his first warm start of the season.

And for the most part, I was right.

Rodon appeared to be locked in out of the gate, as he gave up just one hit, and struck out two (one of which was Craig Biggio’s son, Cavan Biggio) through the first two innings. In the third, however, Rodon lost a bit of his composure, allowing three hits, but impressed me with his ability to keep things from getting too out of hand, allowing only one run.

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But while Rodon had a great start to the game, he didn’t receive any run support, as State failed to get a man across the plate through the first four innings, due to the equally strong start from Notre Dame’s Sean Fitzgerald. But Fitzgerald finally struggled enough in the fifth to allow a single run, bringing the score to 1-1.

At that point in time, I made my way around from the third base side to the first base side, which is where I spent the rest of the game, just so I could get a glimpse from a different angle of Carlos Rodon . . . . :

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. . . . and Trea Turner:

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When I first found my way over to that side of the ballpark, I heard of a rumor that Craig Biggio was actually in attendance to watch his son play. But since I never actually saw him, I can’t say for sure that it was true. But I digress. Back to the game.

Both pitchers continued to do well until the sixth, when each allowed two runs to the opposing squad, raising the score to 3 runs apiece. Fitzgerald was replaced after the sixth, but Rodon was left in, which would turn out to be huge for State.

Recording what would be the game winning hit in the eighth, State’s Jake Armstrong proved to be the difference maker, as he singled in Bubby Riley and Trea Turner, whose speed likely aided in his ability to score, making it 5-3, State.

Rodon finished out the game a bit shaky, allowing two hits in the ninth, but promptly got a game ending double play to lock up the fifth complete game of his career:

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Rodon received the win, bringing his win-loss record up to 2-2, to go along with a 2.40 ERA on the season, striking out seven and allowing 10 scattered hits on 121 pitches. My overall impression was that Rodon was good, but not overly fantastic in this particular game, but that’s not meant to take anything away from Rodon. He’s a great pitcher, and will undoubtedly be a star in the majors at some point down the road (as will Trea Turner, who went 1-4 on the day).

As you may have inferred, I didn’t try for any autographs at this game as I usually do every time I go to a baseball game, but that’s simply because I’m going to be seeing NC State again next month, when they take on UNC at the newly renovated Durham Bulls Athletic Park on April 15th. Rodon isn’t scheduled to pitch, so I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get him to sign for me, along with Trea Turner. But either way, it’s sure to be a fun time, as always.

NewBridge Bank Park–August 17, 2011

The day at the ballpark started out exactly as it had the night before. With me down by the railing in hopes of getting some more autographs:

 I had done okay with autographs the day before, but I was hoping to get tons of autographs today.

While I was standing there attempting to get some autographs, a player for the Greenjackets named Edward Concepcion, came out wearing a pink Hello Kitty backpack:

It turns out it was his punishment for giving up a home run the night before. (I bet he won’t give up a home run next time.)

As far as my wish of getting more autographs today, it would come true, as the players seemed to be in an autograph giving mood. (The eleven run win last night must of cheered them up, I guess.) Whatever the reason, my first autograph of the day came from Rett Varner. Here he is signing for a kid before he came over to sign my program:

When all was said and done I had gotten 10 autographs BEFORE the game, including another autograph from Noah Perio:

I was thrilled with the number of players that signed.

I almost forgot to mention that today was bingo day at the ballpark. Here’s my bingo card:

How it worked is that for every play that was made when a Grasshopper player was at bat, it corresponded to a space in bingo. For example, if the first baseman singled, it would be I-23. If he doubled, it would be G-57. You get the idea.

In case you didn’t notice in the photo above of my bingo card, I wasn’t sitting in the same spot as the previous night’s game. That was because it was SO hot. The seats my grandparent’s and I sat in for this game were at the top, in the shade.

Here’s the view from those seats, of the first pitch of the ballgame:

It was a great view from these seats, of the entire field.

Like all ball teams, the Grasshoppers had a set of bat boys that would retrieve the bats and balls throughout the game. But, during one inning of the game, they were allowed to take a break, as a dog brought baseballs to the umpire:

And retrieved the bats:

I have to say that the dog did almost as good a job as the bat boys. The bat boys better pick it up, or they might lose their jobs to the dog.

This game, unlike last night’s, was a close one. The seventh inning had the Grasshoppers losing 5-3. But the Grasshoppers weren’t the only ones losing, as the last bingo number was called, and I wasn’t even close:

B-I-N-G-NO.

Things got a little heated when a Greenjacket hit a called home run that appeared to be foul. Take a look:

Andy Haines, the manager, is the person wearing number 19.

To cool things off, there was a water ballon toss inbetween the eighth and ninth innings:

By the time the bottom of the ninth rolled around the Grasshoppers were down 3 runs, as the score was 8 to 5.

The hoppers began to rally back however as they got a few good hits, including a double:

The bases soon became loaded.

Later in the inning one player for the Grasshoppers became so frustrated, after flying out in foul territory, that he slammed his bat down causing it to break in half:

The Grasshoppers would score no more runs, as the final score was 8 to 5.

Upset by the loss, hardly any of the Grasshoppers signed. The ones that did, didn’t sign for me.

I did however get an autograph from Mr. Hello Kitty backpack guy, Edward Concepcion:

Before leaving the ballpark, I witnessed the player that broke his bat, give it away to a little kid. The kid was extremely thrilled.

I had a great time at the ballpark both games, and got 15 autographs total. What more could you ask for?

NewBridge Bank Park–August 16, 2011

My grandparent’s and I arrived to the ballpark at around 6:00. The gates where just being opened, and I wanted to be one of the first people inside so that I would have the best chance of getting some autographs.

So imediately after my ticket was scanned, I headed down to the railing next to the tunnel in which every player, from both teams, has to walk through, to get to the dugouts from the locker room.

There were three players that I wanted to get autographs from the most. They were: Christian Yelich (top ten prospect for the Florida Marlins), Marcell Ozuma (top ten prospect for the Florida Marlins), and Brett Bochy (son of San Fransisco Giant’s manager, Bruce Bochy).

I saw all three of them as they came through the tunnel, but was only successful in getting one of their autographs. It came from Christian Yelich:

One out of three isn’t bad. And besides, I’d have another chance after the game as the players went to the locker rooms.

Below is the first picture that I took at the game:It shows Marcell Ozuma in the on deck circle.

I took another picture of a player in the on deck circle later in that inning. It was of Christian Yelich:

Here’s the zoomed out view, I had from my seat:

Notice the railing directly next to me. I picked to sit in this spot due to the fact that it was next to the tunnel in which the players enter and exit. This way, I wouldn’t have to run down to the tunnel after the game.

Out in right field foul ground, there is a hill, in which anyone that has a ticket to the game can go and sit/stand on:Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to leave my seat for a few minutes to go watch the game from the hill. This was my view:

Not bad.

I was a little nervous during the time I spent on the hill. It’s very easy for lefties to pull a ball and send it zipping towards the hill. I wasn’t wearing a glove, and didn’t want to end up with a sore hand, so I stood towards the back of the hill.

I took this time at the back of the hill to photograph the outfield wall. Take a look:

Pretty cool area.

It’s hard to tell, but behind the right field wall there is a gap where fans can stand. If a home run is hit to that area it is fairly easy to get the ball. Keep that in mind, as it will come into play later.

After around 10 minutes on the hill I headed back to my assigned seat. To my surprise there was a large cockroach in the tunnel next to me. No, not a real one. But a man in a cockroach outfit:

Did you notice the blue boxing gloves he had on? (They’re kind of blurred because he was moving his hands all around.) The kid in the tunnel, as you can see, also had boxing gloves. It turns out the cockroach and the kid where going to fight it out on the field inbetween innings:

The kid won.

As for the game, it wasn’t even close:Yeah, you read that right. 13 to 2.

That photo was taken in the bottom of the eigth inning, and that’s how things ended.

A complete blowout by the Grasshoppers.

Remember earlier in the entry when I told you to keep in mind that if a home run was hit over the right field wall it was fairly easy to catch? Well, a player for the Grasshoppers name Noah Perio, hit two home runs over the right field fence during the game. One of the home run balls ended up in the possesion of a guy, who after the game came over to try to get Noah to sign the ball. Here’s the conversation that went down between the guy and Noah:

Random guy: “Noah, this is one of the two home runs balls that you hit tonight. Will you sign it for me?”

Noah: “Hold on a second, and I’ll go get you another ball and sign that one.”

Random guy: “I’d rather you sign the home run ball.”

Noah: “Are you sure?”

Random guy: “Yes.”

So the guy handed the ball to Noah to sign. But there was a slight problem. The guy didn’t have anything for Noah to sign it with. So the guy glanced over at me and said, “Hey. Could I borrow your sharpie?”

I wanted to tell him that if he was stupid enough to not bring anything for a player to sign with, that he didn’t deserve the autograph at all. But being the kind, generous person I am, I smiled and said, “Sure.”

The guy was happy, and after seeing that it was MY sharpie that the man borrowed, Noah gladly signed my program. So I was happy too.

I later got the manager of the grasshoppers, Andy Haines, to sign my program. Here’s Andy’s and Noah’s augtographs on the cover:

Andy’s is the one that you can read, and Noah’s, well, I’m not really sure what his says. Looks like a bunch of random lines to me. But hey, getting an autograph from a guy on THE night he hits two home runs is pretty cool. So I can’t complain.

After getting the autographs from Noah and Andy, my grandparents and I made our way towards the exit.

We would be back at 11:30 the next morning……

American Idol At A Baseball Game

The day started out with my Dad, Grandpa, and I heading toward downtown Raleigh, NC:

Our destination…….Doak Field. Home of the North Carolina State College baseball team.

I realize that College baseball can seem like little league compared to Major League baseball, but the game wasn’t the real reason over 2,500 people were planned to attend today. The real reason was that Garner, NC’s own Scotty McCreery was going to be there throwing out the first pitch as part of his hometown visit video for American Idol. (If you watch American Idol, you know who and what I’m talking about.) But more on that a little later. First there had to be a game. And well. It wasn’t looking too promising. Take a look below:

In case you couldn’t tell, that’s rain on the windshield. (And that’s my dad’s arm, in case you were wondering.) The rain quickly stopped, however, by the time we found a place to park. But then the sky got dark and it started to pour:

And pour. And pour. And pour some more. The rain was so heavy it caused a rain delay:

By the time it was all said and done we had been sitting in the car for an hour and a half. Once the rain let up at around 6:30 we decided to get out and go take our seats in the ballpark. 

But just down from the gate we were going to enter there was a HUGE limo. So with time to kill we decided to go down to see what was going on. We knew the limo was for Scotty McCreery. And the American Idol symbol on the side was a giveaway:

But if Scotty was still set to throw out the first pitch, then why were there so many people outside waiting for him? Hmmm.

It turns out the game was canceled and Scotty was in the process of changing clothes and was then going to come out and greet his fans. I hated that the game was canceled, but I’ll take the chance to be on T.V. over seeing a COLLEGE baseball game any day. Sure enough about ten minutes later Scotty came out with a camera crew. Watch my video below to see how it all went down:

Sorry about the lady’s hair half way through the video. People were bumping into me. But anyway, it was cool to see Scotty McCreery up close. Watch American Idol tomorrow night(May 18th) to see Scotty McCreery. Even if you’ve never watched Idol before, watch it tomorrow so you can see him.

I’ll leave you with two final pictures of Scotty/Limo pictures:

I told you a lot of people showed up to see Scotty.

In other news, I’m still planning on posting a two week long version of my top 5 player updates. WordPress is VERY different than Movable type pro, and I’m just now starting to understand how it works. So bare with me if the blog looks messed up right now. I’m going to rearrange things and add things, so hopefully it will ALL be back to normal soon…….

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