Tip your hat to Mark Buehrle

Mark Buehrle will be appearing in the record books once again after his performance tonight. As of right now he has retired the last 45 batters he has faced. That bests the record of 41 set by Bobby Jenks and Jim Barr. The funny thing is right now I just wish Jenks could get three straight batters out in an inning. Once again Mark was reminded what was going on by A.J. between innings. You could see him pointing towards the scoreboard, and I swear I read no-hitter on his lips. I was kidding around tonight while eating dinner that he could get his name alongside Johnny Van de Meer for tossing consecutive no-hitters. Who knew he would get this close? I had better get back to watching the game now. C’Mon Buehrle!

Edit: As soon as I hit send Mark walked a batter, and then immediately gave up a base hit to Denard Span. No matter what he has shown that he is the Ace of this staff, and maybe some people around the country will know Mark Buehrle’s name. He was already one of my all time favorite Sox players dating back to his tarp diving days, but he now is right up there among my favorite. I was not at either no-hitter, but I was present for his last tarp dive. Those events are pretty close aren’t they?

The Brian Anderson Experiment is Ova!

Since 2006 I have been pulling for Brian Anderson to do well. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but has never really reached the potential that we all thought that he would. They have given him several chances, the longest in 2006, but he has never taken hold of the center field job. When he was sent back down to Charlotte last week he demanded a trade. Apparently he no longer wanted to be a member of the Chicago White Sox. Today the White Sox officially ended that phase of his career by trading him to the Boston Red Sox. In return they recieved Mark Kotsay. Kotsay is an outfielder who can play a little first base. They also received cash considerations. Brian brought us a decent player and cash? Good for him. When Mark joins the team you will have to wonder who will be left off the Sox roster? Will Dewayne Wise the hero of the Buehrle perfect game be sent down? He has no options left, and could be taken by another team. Will the unsung hero of the same game Josh Fields be sent down. He seems more likely since Kotsay can spell Pauly at first, and play the outfield. Wise is also a favorite of Ozzie’s to pinch run so that may save him. Tomorrow should be an interesting day. Either way Brian has changed his Sox, and I wish him the best of luck. I hope that he pans out to be the player I have always thought that he could be. I think the change of scenery could be just what he needs. He just better take it easy on us when we play the Red Sox from now on. I wonder what song they will play for him when he steps up to the plate in September?

Back to ORP

After missing a few years I finally made it back to ORP last night. Actually I made it back during the day. We decided to skip the first two practice sessions which were delayed by rain anyway. We got to the track in time to see the cars qualify. It is always fun to see true professionals take on the track. By shear luck we sat in front of former LaPorte resident Tony Raines‘ pit. He was the last car to go through tech inspection before qualifying so we got to see them wrench on his car for a while. As I said in the previous post Tony does not have the car under him to make noise so I was not too upset with his 21st spot after qualifying. He ended up finishing 15th the first car a lap down. He is a good racer that is just not getting his chance. Sadly though his age may prevent him from ever getting that chance. The race was full of carnage, and I included a couple of pics of the end result. Kyle Busch blazed through the pack along with Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth to displace the Nationwide regulars. Busch ended up collecting his 17th top ten of the season, and has a huge points lead. Matt Kensenth had not raced at ORP in ten years, and managed a third place finish. Crazy Carl Edwards won the race which was disappointing to me, but some people will be happy with that. We were sitting near the start finish line in some great seats that we got at the window just before qualifying. The last few laps we moved down to turn four, and stood against the fence. Although I still have not regained my sense of hearing it was a blast. The rest of the night was spent using hand signals. We had so much fun that we decided to start doing this every year. Maybe I will be able to hear by then.

On a sidenote apparently the male enhancement pill Extendze has a car in the Nationwide Series. They have a booth at the track where they will give away pills and t-shirts to anybody. I mean anyone. I saw some kids under ten wearing the shirts and holding the pills in their hands. Do we need this at the track? Parents now will have to explain to their kids what the pills do at an age that maybe they should not have to. With the economy the way that it is though I guess you have to take whatever sponsor will get your team up and racing. You want your team to grow bigger, and you will do whatever it takes to make it so. To the left is another fan who had a great shirt. He was down with us at the end of the race, and made it a little more exciting. This man really loves his NASCAR. He said his kids got him the shirt. Good present kids!

Let’s Go Racing!

Today I am headed to Indy to watch the Nationwide Series Race at ORP. This will be my first time at ORP, but I was at the track three times when it was called IRP. This is a fun track that does not bankrupt you to see a race. The picture to the left is from my first time at the track in 2000. Tony Raines a local racer from LaPorte is being trailed by Kevin Harvick in practice. The cars will be on the track right now for practice. They will take a 1/2 hour off before entering the track again for their final practice. My brother and I plan on getting there for qualifying, and of course staying for the race. This is a flat track that makes qualifying very important. Tony Raines the local boy has been struggling this year as his team really does not have the horses to compete with the big boys. He is a good driver though, and will usually bring his car home safe. At a short track that can mean a good finish. Maybe he will pull off the upset tonight. Ron Hornaday is stepping in for a race in the Kevin Harvick owned #33, and I would tab him as my favorite. He has the car, and really nothing to lose as far as points are concerned. He also won the Truck race at ORP last night. Kyle Busch can never be counted out as well. Busch finished tenth in last nights truck race, and will have a busy day going from the Brickyard back to ORP all day long.

This Week’s Promotions (7/27-8/2)

Two former Tigers highlight the appearances this week. The jerseys and bobble’s also seem to be reving up. This is the time of year they want you at the park.

Monday July 27th
Peoria Chiefs – Bill Murray night. The club will celebrate the movies of Bill Murray throughout the night.
Kalamazoo Kings – Negro League Legends night

Tuesday July 28th
Memphis Redbirds – Adam Wainwright bobblehead giveaway

Wednesday July 29th
Great Lakes Loons – Milt Wilcox appearance.
South Bend Silverhawks – Wiener winner Wednesday. A prize is given away with every hot dog purchased
Chicago Cubs – Kids batting helmet giveaway

Thursday July 30th
St. Louis Cardinals – 2009 All Star game lapel pin giveaway (25,000)

Friday July 31st
Great Lakes Loons – Jimmy Buffet night with a Buffet impersonator.
West Michigan Whitecaps – Matty Nokes appearance and bobbleheads (1,000)
Pittsburgh Pirates – Floppy fishing hat giveaway

Saturday August 1st
Birmingham Barons – Football jersey night. Wear a football jersey to the baseball game to get a discounted ticket.
Memphis Redbirds – Memphis wrestling night. A ring will be set up and former wrestlers will give it a go once again. Jerry “the King” Lawler among those scheduled to attend.
Toledo Mud Hens – Polish American night and Liberty Monument hat giveaway
West Michigan Whitecaps – Star Wars night and mini bat giveaway
St. Louis Cardinals – 5 card Upper Deck card set giveaway
Cleveland Indians – Indians Hall of Fame induction day. Negro League turn back the clock uniforms and Victor Martinez bobblehead dolls
Pittsburgh Pirates – Jo Dee Messina post game concert

Sunday August 2nd
Pittsburgh Pirates – Kids replica Alternate Ryan Doumit jersey
Cincinnati Reds – Jay Bruce mesh jersey to the first 10,000 kids 14 and younger

Buehrle!!!

Today Mark Buehrle did the unthinkable. He pitched a perfect game. Mark is a great pitcher, but he would be the first to tell you that he does not have overpowering stuff. Apparently it is pretty good stuff though. This is his second no-hitter in three years. The first was broken up when Sammy Sosa got on base. Mark quickly picked off Sammy so he would only face the minimum that day. I have not seen the entire game yet, but I will be watching the replay tonight on Comcast Sports Net. From what I have seen in replays the defense really helped him out. Dewayne Wise came in for his defense, and made a great catch that made that decision look genius. I don’t think that Scotty Pods has the wall presence to make that catch. I am not a huge Wise fan, but I will give him a pass today. Alexei once again made some good plays at short. He really has gotten a bad rap over at short. Hawk may have to sit out tomorrow’s doubleheader and let his vocal chords rest. He has really been getting into the Sox games lately. He feels like most Sox fans do. We know that now is the time. Another Sox fan Barack Obama called to congratulate Buehrle who took it in stride like he does everything else. Mark is fun to watch, and will probably always be one of my favorite Sox players of all time. I think we need to start getting the spot for his monument in the outfield ready.

Mark is the 18th pitcher in Major League history to pitch a perfect game. The perfect game along with a previous no-hitter puts Mark into some great company. Here are the other pitchers to accomplish the same feat: Cy Young, Adie Joss, Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax, and Randy Johnson. That is a pretty good rotation there. Now you can add Mark to the list. Here are some other interesting facts about Mark’s game today. Eric Cooper was behind the plate for both of Mark’s no hitters. As you know all umpires have numbers, and Eric’s is #56. Mark is well known for his quick pitching, but both of his no hitters took the same time to complete. The most important fact about the game is that it put the Sox into a virtual tie for first place with the Detroit Tigers who we face starting tomorrow in a four game three day series. This should be sufficient momentum going into that series.

The Original Baseball Hall of Fame Museum of Minnesota

This is another of the destinations from the book Roadside Baseball that I visited while on my recent baseball road trip. This museum is located in the Dome Plus store located across from Gate A of the Metrodome on 3rd street. As you can see from the picture it is not much to look at from the outside. I imagine since the Metrodome will no longer be hosting baseball games next year this museum will take a hit. It will either have to move, or become a relic to the old Metrodome. At first glance from down the road I wondered if it was even still open. Once inside the museum though you can see very easily that Ray Crump the owner is a huge Twins fan. Ray was a batboy for the Washington Senators, and then later was the equipment manager for the Minnesota Twins. Both of these jobs gave him great access to the players of the game. He has bats and balls signed by some of the great players of his day. He also has many objects from the glory days of the Twins. The teams of 1987 and 1991 are also well represented. The jersey of Kirby Puckett that is shown to the right is one of the jerseys shown in the museum. He has a small display of various Twins uniforms from throughout the years. Being the equipment manager that would be an easy task to do. Just think this was the guy who gave Kirby Puckett his first uniform in the pros. Did he suggest the number 34? I don’t know. Ray works in the store, and that would have been a great question to ask him, but I never thought of it. The other side of the store is a huge Twins/Vikings store with some good deals. I got the Twins Metrodome commemorative ball for $6 cheaper than I found it anywhere online. It was way cheaper than it would have been inside the stadium. This is a great stop for the baseball fan on the way to the Metrodome. The museum is free, and you can pick up some cheap souvenirs before you go into the stadium.

Ray is also a huge country music fan who has attended many concerts with backstage passes. He has many of them on display along with many pictures of him with various celebrities. He really has met many famous people in his time. Just looking through all of the pictures could put you in the museum for a while. I included a picture of one of the pictures that I really enjoyed. Ray has met people like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. This picture of Ray with Hank Williams Jr. caught my eye. Apparently the backstage section of Ray’s tour included a visit to watch him nap. This just looks awkward for everyone involved. They must have posed the Crumps in the right spot, then woke up Hank. There is also a great pic of Ray with a young Hulk Hogan. He has met so many famous people that you have to see the pics to believe them. He also has a great Elvis display from his touring days as well as a case for the Beatles visit to Minnesota.

Erin Andrews Video Sets the Online Community on Fire

While looking through my daily reading this morning I have seen tons of posts about an alleged video online taken through a hotel peephole of Erin Andrews naked. I was fortunate enough to meet Erin at a Purdue basketball game this season, and I truly feel sorry for her. She was gracious enough to have herself photographed with anyone who wanted to while getting ready to go on the air. How many people would want to get photographed with 50 complete strangers right before they started work? She was very nice to everyone as far as I could see, and looked like she was having fun doing it. Now someone has invaded her privacy to get a few quick hits. I imagine days like the one I had in February will now be few and far between. Although the way Brent Musberger goes on and on about her during his telecasts I would not be surprised if he was the one doing the filming. This is too bad, but in today’s world I cannot say that I am surprised.

Thome Has a Grand Night

Last night I got to the park and saw the tarp on the field. I arrived early for batting practice, but I didn’t get as upset as usual when they were not hitting. I have been reading a book by Joe Posnanski called “The Soul of Baseball.” The book chronicles the authors journey around the country with Buck O’Neil. It is a great book, and I was happy to have some extra time to read it. If you like baseball this is a great book for you. Anyway I had a seat in section 149 for the Mullet Night festivities. This is a great section to get some good pictures of the Sox team as they warm up for the game. It is kind of interesting to see the different ways that the players get themselves ready for the game. Some players like Pods will warm up forever doing all sorts of exercises. Others get stretched by a trainer or they stretch themselves. Some play catch, and some play catch up with players from the other team. Everyone has their own routine that gets them ready for gametime. This year they had no Mullet parade around the field so most of the Mullet night festivities were confined to between innings. It was a good time, but nothing will compare to that first Mullet night when we walked on the field.

The game started simple enough. Both teams only sent three batters up to the plate in the first inning. Pauly hit a solo shot in the second that put the Sox up 1-0, and get the crowd going. Thome just missed a home run just before Pauly came up. Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold pulled the ball off the top of the wall. Danks gave up a two run homer to Nick Markakais that gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead in the third. The Sox responded with two of their own in the bottom of the inning to take the lead back. Adam Jones then tied it up with a solo shot in the fourth. Jones looks like a good center fielder. His numers suggest that he can hit, and he seems to know his way around the outfield. It is interesting to watch a team with a good all around center fielder. The game then shifted to Jim Thome. He hit a line drive three run homer down the right field line in the fifth inning that gave the Sox a 6-3 lead. He then came up with the bases loaded in the sixth, and tried to hit the ball out of the park to straightaway center field. The ball looked as though it was headed to the plaque that the team erected for him in center for his bombs last year. The grand slam gave him 7 RBI’s in two innings. This is a great feat. I saw Tadahito Iguchi pull this off in 2006 during a Sunday night game, but Jim made it a little more interesting with the tape measure shot. They said the ball went 448 feet, but I don’t know how it was not longer. Thome had a great night and stole the show, but Scotty Pods had a good night as well. When he was brought back I could not figure out why. He has shown every game since he made it back what he can do when healthy. All he did last night was go 3-3 with two walks, a stolen base, and three runs scored. He reached base all five times he came up to the plate. More importantly he scored three of those times. We need this kind of production from the leadoff spot. Gordon Beckham was also on base four of five times last night. Maybe this offense is coming around.

With all of the good things that the offense brought last night we almost can forget about some of the bad things. One of those is Dewayne Wise who went 0-5 last night, and was the only Sox player not to reach base. He did get one ball out of the infield in the 7th though so maybe he is coming around. In the field he just looked lost last night. He had trouble on a couple of routine plays, and looked terrible on a couple balls that he had to run for. He hit the left center wall so hard on one of those that we watched to see if he would get up. At some point we have to cut ties with this guy. Ozzie likes him for some reason, but what does he really bring to this team? The relief last night also left something to be desired. Danks gave up 3 runs in 5 innings, and left the game with a 6-3 lead. The pen though decided to make it interesting. Linebrink gave up two runs and Thornton gave up three to keep some of the Sox fans in their seats a little while longer. Dotel gave up a leadoff double in the 7th, but fanned two of the next three batters to get out of the inning. From the first pitch it looked as if Octavio was going to have a rough day. In all the Sox pitchers gave up 8 runs on 14 hits. The Sox were actually out hit, but made the most of their 13 hits. Two other negatives were the errors by Getz and Ramirez. If we are going to take the Central and possibly go farther we have to shore up our defense. With the pitchers already struggling you can’t afford to give the other team extra chances.

Enough negatives though. This was an exciting game that helped the Sox gain a game on the Tigers who lost last night to the Yankees. I think that this team is good enough to make things interesting the rest of the year. The only question is how interesting will this get? We will know very soon as we will see some of the best that the AL East has to offer in the Rays and the Yankees in the next couple of weeks. That should be a good measuring stick.

This Week’s Promotions (7/20-7/26)

Another week of promotions. Some nice bobble’s here as well as MLB appearances.

Monday July 20th
Toledo Mud Hens – Happy Meal 30th Anniversary. Ronald himself will be at the park to celebrate.
West Michigan Whitecaps – High School Musical night. Just placed this here so that you can be far away when this goes down.

Tuesday July 21st
Memphis Redbirds – Dyar Miller bobblehead giveaway

Wednesday July 22nd
Clinton Lumberkings – Baseball card strip #4 (1,000)
Columbus Clippers – “Stump” Merrill Hall of Fame induction
Pittsburgh Pirates – Dick Groat, Jim Roooker and Bill Virdon signing autographs from 11 to 12:30

Thursday July 23rd
Quad Cities River Bandits – Hillary Clinton bobblehead giveaway
Chicago White Sox – Rat Pack day

Friday July 24th
Birmingham Barons – Kids jersey giveaway (1,500 kids)
Clinton Lumberkings – Ian Kinsler bobblehead (750 fans)
Milwaukee Brewers – Prince Fielder fathead tradeables giveaway

Saturday July 25th
Indianapolis Indians – The Famous Chicken and team autograph night.
Kane County Cougars – Baseball cap giveaway
Peoria Chiefs – Jimmy Buffet night. The team will also be wearing Hawaiian jerseys which you can buy in an auction.
Quad Cities River Bandits – Hat giveaway
Milwaukee Brewers – Negro Leagues tribute day

Sunday July 26th
Indianapolis Indians – Nate McClouth Dual bobblehead (4,000)
Lexington Legends – Kids replica jersey giveaway