Results tagged ‘ Tennessee Smokies ’

6/22/14 Tennessee Smokies Vs. Chattanooga Lookouts

When the plan to visit the Tennessee Smokies (Double-A affiliate of the Cubs) was originally being put into place back in early April, I was really looking forward to seeing what was sure to be an extremely talented team. With names such as Kris Bryant, Pierce Johnson, Jorge Soler, C.J. Edwards, and many other top prospects and above average players, I just knew that this game was going to be an exciting one.

That was, however, until everything went wrong.

Pierce Johnson, Jorge Soler, and C.J. Edwards all hit the disable list earlier in the year, keeping them from being at the game, and my optimism that Kris Bryant would still be a part of the team after blasting over 20 home runs in the first half of the season fell just short, as he was called up to Triple-A mere days before my arrival. And thus, Bryant joined the long list of great players who I wouldn’t have a chance of getting an autograph from.

But despite all the bad luck, my dad, grandpa and I made our way out to Kodak, Tennessee yesterday afternoon to take in the early two p.m. game against the Chattanooga Lookouts (Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate, which also didn’t have too many good players). After a quick stop for lunch, we made our way over to the Smokies’ ballpark, bought tickets, and headed inside the stadium:

Smokies 002All I could think about upon first glance of the field was that Kris Bryant had been playing on that very surface not all that long ago  (a number of great players have played there in recent years, including Starlin Castro, Javier Baez, Chris Archer, etc.) but I tried not to dwell on it for too long. To help get my mind off of Bryant’s absence, I swung by the gift shop for a few minutes, where I browsed the wide variety of items before heading down to field level (in the extremely hot sun) with the hopes of snagging a few autographs:

Smokies 003As I stated earlier, the Smokies aren’t all that fantastic of a team at the moment, with so many star players hurt, but I still wanted an auto from Dustin Geiger, Christian Villanueva, Corey Black, and former big league pitcher, Storm Davis. While I was successful in getting Geiger to sign my ticket, I didn’t snag an auto from Villanueva, and never actually spotted Davis or Black.

But regardless of the subpar pregame autographing, the game itself was much more exciting. Though not ranked very highly, the one player that really stood out to me was the Lookouts’ Darnell Sweeney:

Smokies 005Sweeney isn’t ever going to hit for much power according to a lot of people, but he was impressive on the day, picking up a couple of hits, making some great defensive plays, and showing off his speed (he stole nearly 50 bases last season). And therefore, Sweeney is a player I’ll be keeping an eye on.

As far as the game goes, heading into the day, both starting pitchers had an ERA above six for the season, which would lead you to believe it was likely going to be a high scoring game. But things started out rather slowly, with neither team scoring through five innings played, and the most entertaining moment being the traditional chicken run that takes place every home game:

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(Everyone loves a good chicken run.)

However, as the temperature began to heat up, reaching a high of 91 degrees, the game quickly heated up as well. With two out and a man on in the sixth, Christian Villanueva blasted a home run out onto the outfield grass berm, putting the Smokies up 2-0. Then, in the very next inning, Dustin Geiger copied Villanueva with a two-run dinger of his own . . . . :

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. . . . moving the score up to 4-0, which is where things would end.

Upon the final out, I went back down around the dugout to try once more for an autograph, but my main target — the only other key player I had seen before the game — ,Villanueva, bolted down the dugout tunnel. Thankfully, although I never saw him prior to the first pitch, Corey Black popped out of the dugout and began to sign autos for the many people who wanted him. I was the last one he signed for, and was able to leave the game with two autographs.

Though two autographs isn’t very many, the time spent out at the game more than made up for it. Any time I can combine baseball, traveling and time spent with family, it’s sure to be a fantastic time all around.

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:
MLB Fred.jpg
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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