Results tagged ‘ Grasshoppers ’
Exactly three years to the day after the last time I attended a major league exhibition game against one of their minor league affiliates, I was back out at the ballpark on Friday (along with my grandpa) for the first time in nearly seven months. This time, however, it wasn’t the home of the Mudcats or Bulls — the ballparks I normally attend — but rather the home of the Grasshoppers. With the Miami Marlins in town, I made the long trek out to the stadium with the sole purpose of grabbing some autographs from the numerous good players their roster possesses.
With that in mind, my grandpa and I arrived to the ballpark an hour before the gates opened, which allowed me to be one of the first people inside when people were first allowed in at 1:00 on the dot. But despite being through the gates first, due to the long walk to the tunnel where the Marlins would be coming in and out of, there were numerous people already surrounding the area. And thus, I had settle with a spot behind a couple of people — a spot I had to squeeze my way into.
The Marlins were already on the field taking batting practice when I first arrived . . . :
. . . so I just stood there with everyone else and waited for the Marlins to return back through the tunnel and into the clubhouse.
But the wait certainly wasn’t a boring one. When Giancarlo Stanton — one of the greatest power sluggers currently in baseball — stepped into the cage, all eyes were placed on him, and he didn’t disappoint. Stanton quite simply put on one the most unbelievable batting practice show I’ve ever seen. I had heard a ton about the displays of power he shows off during BP, but actually seeing it in person was amazing.
A few minutes after Stanton concluded his showing off, the Marlins began to wrap up their on field activities and one by one exited the field. As they did so, a great number of the players stopped to sign autographs — with the exception of Michael Morse, who I didn’t see sign a single autograph all day long — but I had an extremely hard time getting them to sign for me. Everything was going wrong — whether it was people blocking me out, the players signing on the opposite side of the tunnel, or them just skipping over me. It was appearing to be one of those days.
With all that went wrong, I only managed to get an autograph from Brett Butler and Donovan Solano before the game. Giancarlo Stanton signed for a lot of people . . . except me. And even Ichiro signed some autographs . . . on the opposite side of the stadium. (Like I said before — it was one of those days.)
Once it became apparent that I wasn’t going to succeed in getting anyone else’s autograph, I reunited with my grandpa back at our ticketed seats to take in the pregame introductions. For the most part, the Grasshoppers didn’t have any extremely noteworthy players, however, they did have the 2014 number two overall draft pick, Tyler Kolek, as part of their roster (on the right below):
For the Marlins, Ichiro and Stanton by far received the biggest applause when they were announced, but it was equally exciting to see every player on their team in person. (Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton and Michael Morse, all pictured below, were the ones I enjoyed seeing the most):
Starting the game for the Grasshoppers was the Marlins’ A.J. Ramos, who gave up a home run to Giancarlo Stanton on the very first pitch he saw. Coming back from a gruesome injury to end 2014, Stanton crushing one during an actual game setting against a big league caliber pitcher appeared to prove that he will be unaffected during the season as some suggested he may be.
Off to a quick 2-0 lead in the first, thanks to the Stanton blast, the Marlins put out Tom Koehler as their starter on the mound against the Grasshoppers, and he was terrific on the day. It was nice to see the Marlins — both their pitching and lineup — do so well with all of the high expectations placed on them for the 2015 season.
It was also nice to see Ichiro in person once again:
Going one for three on the day, this was more than likely the last time I’ll ever see the future Hall of Famer in person, and I did my best to take it in. There are very few players that I would pay just to see them play, but Ichiro is definitely one of them — as is Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout.
Once all was said and done, the Marlins pulled out the win (not surprisingly), 9-6. However, I wasn’t around to see the final few innings of the game. After getting removed from the game in the fourth and fifth innings for replacement players, Giancarlo Stanton, Ichiro, Michael Morse and Christian Yelich, among others, made their way to the clubhouse during the seventh inning stretch. With me not wanting to miss the possible chance at getting an autograph from any of them, I made my way out of the ballpark gates and down the corner to where the players’ exit/entrance is located.
I was one of the first 50 people down there, but before too long, there were around 200 people, I would estimate, trying for autographs from the players as they left. It took around an hour of standing around for the players to begin emerging from the ballpark, but before long they began coming out in bunches.
Michael Morse and Christian Yelich were the first two out, with both briskly walking past everyone without stopping. Next out was Marcell Ozuna, Adeiny Hechavarria, and Ichiro, who simply waved before making his way onto the bus.
It began to seem as if every player was going to make a nonstop trek to the bus. However, when Giancarlo Stanton came through the doors, he became the first to decide to stop and sign autographs. But before I had the chance to blink, things went from two deep to a cluster of 50 or so people pushing and bumping into each other all surrounding Stanton and making it virtually impossible for me to get within arms distance of him. So with all hope lost for an autograph, I settled for a picture of him instead, which I had to take by raising my camera high above my head:
After Stanton boarded the bus, things settled down again, and I was finally able to get to the front row. By doing so, I succeeded in getting an autograph from Tom Koehler, as well as Steve Cishek, who I got a better picture of than Stanton due to the quieted crowd:
In the end, I didn’t walk away with an autograph from Ichiro or Stanton (I truly didn’t expect to when the day began), but I did walk away with yet another memory of a great time out at the ballpark. Every time I go to a ballgame, I always have a different, but special, experience.
My sights are now set on the 2015 minor league season, which begins on Thursday.
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:
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:
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?
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:
I took another picture of a player in the on deck circle later in that inning. It was of Christian Yelich:
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:
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:
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:
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……
I’m leaving today for Greensboro, NC. More specifically, Newbridge Bank Park.
Last time I was there the date was May 23rd, 2011, and Bryce Harper was in town.
No Bryce Harper this time. In fact, no really BIG superstar prospects. Just me, my grandparents, and a couple of ballgames. (7:00 game tonight. And a 12:30 game tomorrow.)
As far as the blog goes, I’m still going to post a Q and A entry tomorrow, on Mike O’Hara and Ryan Wagner of the MLB Fan Cave. I’ll then post a recap from tonight’s game, on Thursday. And a recap from tomorrow’s game, on Friday. Then another Q and A entry on Saturday, on Jeremy Guthrie.
Wow, that’s a busy blogging schedule. But I can handle it. (I hope.)
In other news:
CONGRATULATIONS JIM THOME!!!!!
As you more than likely already know, Jim Thome hit his 600th home run last night. Becoming the first player EVER to hit home run number 599 and 600 in back to back at bats.
Jim Thome is a great person in addition to being an amazing ballplayer. He deserves to celebrate his incredible accomplishment with pride.
Below are some tweets congratulating Jim Thome on his 600th HR. Be warned. There are a lot of them. (Even if you don’t want to read the tweets, scroll down to the bottom to see the 600th home run ball.)
Here’s the actual 600th home run ball:
Pretty cool stuff.
Congrats again to Jim Thome.