Last night I made the short trip from West Lafayette to Indy to see the Pawtucket Red Sox take on the Indianapolis Indians. I love going to Victory Field, but I just don’t get there as much as I would like to. It is a beautiful field, and they do a great job of giving you the most for your money. I started my night off by having a seat in the Captain Morgan Cove. This little area in left field is a great hangout. I had been reading about how Sun King was premiering their new beers out here all season on the Indians Twitter feed. So I walked out there to try whatever they had on tap. What happened when I got out there surprised me. They gave me free samples! Yes that is right. I went to a professional baseball game and received some free beer. I tried a Popcorn Pilsner that actually has two pounds of popcorn in each keg. I also tried the Sunlight Cream Ale. I took the Cream Ale to my seat to watch the start of the game. Continue reading
Let me just start this off by saying that nobody was seriously hurt during the game on Saturday night. That is not saying that the players did not try though. In the opening at bat on the night Alejandro De Aza hit two balls over the first base dugout striking fans that must not have expected a ball to come at them. De Aza is a lefty, and to pull a ball by that much takes a perfect scenario.
This game was scoreless until the third inning when newly re-aquired first baseman Jeremy Reed led off the inning with a double. Jeremy was once tabbed as the centerfielder of the future, but was traded due to the depth on the team. We all know how that turned out. After being moved over by a sacrifice bunt he scored on a single by De Aza. De Aza is shown above watching his single go into the outfield grass. Things stayed calm until the fifth when De Aza had his second RBI single of the night. This one scored second baseman Rob Hudson. Continue reading
Last night I was in Indy to see the Charlotte Knights play. I have had fun the last couple of years getting an early look at some of the future White Sox players. A lot happened in a short period of time so I will break the game down into two parts. The first of those parts here will cover the events that happened before the game even started. Continue reading
It seems that if you are a Sox fan you have to have an opinion on Gordon Beckham. I was withholding mine until I was able to see him play. In fact I waited an extra day so that I could see him play against Jeremy Bonderman. Bonderman is a pretty good MLB pitcher for the Detroit Tigers making a rehab start in Toledo. What I saw made me optimistic about the young man’s talent. He went 3-4, with his one out being a line drive that was caught while crashing into the outfield fence. The runner at the time tagged up and went to third, but did not score. His three hits were against a pitcher that held the Knights to six hits as a team. He was the teams offense. One game does not make a player, but Beckham has been playing well since he came to Charlotte. In fact right now he has gotten hits in over half of his at bats. He has pretty much had sucess at every level since I first heard about him after he was drafted last year. This kid could be the real deal.
In the field he looked pretty solid. He was charged with one error on the day, but his throw to first made one hop into Daryle Ward’s mitt before it fell out. Ward has a slap style of catching the ball similar to Ivan Calderon of the eighties. It was this sweeping motion of the catch and lack of squeeze at the proper time that led to the error. A decent first baseman catches that ball. This one did not. The ball was on the ground though so he does get an error. He was playing shortstop on the day, but had been playing third most of the series versus Toledo. Josh Field’s bat has come alive for the big club, or we might see Beckham sooner rather than later.
I have included some other pics taken on the day of Beckham because I could not decide on which ones to include in the article. The top picture shows him at second base after just stealing it. He got in pretty easily so maybe he can actually be threat on the bases for the Sox. The second and third pictures show him getting two of his hits on the day. He has a pretty nice swing that seems to be working for him. He hardest hit ball of the day was the one that was caught. You can’t get a hit everytime though. The next picture was hard to figure at first. I could not figure out what he was doing in the on deck circle. Then I figured it out. He had gone 3-3 at that point. He was playing well enough that maybe he was getting a whiff of the big leagues. Yes kid, the big time is close. The final pic is of Gordon holding Marcus Thames on second. Notice the tissue stuffed in his left nostril. Some people apparently are not ready when they get their first big whiff of the big time. I never saw anything that could have caused that nose bleed. He was just standing at second after a double that he did not even cover second on. Cole Armstrong had a malfunction with his glove that stopped play. After Armstrong got a new glove play was just about to begin when Beckham called time. When he trotted back out everyone thought it had something to do with the sun. Getting glasses or anything else. With the naked eye we could not see the tissue. It was only after I was home that I realized that he had a bloody nose. I had what I thought were the best pictures that I have ever taken after the game. I had some great action shots of Gordon Beckham actually walking on water. He is the savior. When I got home to check them out though they were all overexposed to the point that you could not tell what was going on. I guess I will have to wait for another miracle from him. Fishes and loaves night coming to a ball park near you.
Today I am off once more to Toledo to see a game at Fifth Third Field. I had a great time earlier this season, and I knew that I would be back soon. I never thought that it would be within a month though. The Charlotte Knights are in town though so I thought I would go see my favorite teams Triple A club. I knew some of the players from prior teams, but there was nobody in particular to watch. Then they promoted the savior to Triple A. Gordon Beckham is now a Knight. That sealed the deal, and the car leaves here in about five hours for the game. Jeremy Bonderman is pitching for the Mud Hens so we will see real quick what Beckham can do against Major League pitching. As of this morning he is hitting .364 since being called up. Not too shabby. One game though can make or break that average. Since I first went to Toledo in April the view from the The Roost has been my banner for this site. This is a beautiful park that I am happy to see again. See you in Toledo!
I started these with a good idea, but then turned it into a project so big that it was taking way too long to finish. I will just take a simple look at stadiums that I have been to, and give my opinion on some of the key factors that would make it worth going to. I think the best one to re-launch this feature on would be Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio.
Movie reviews on a sports site? Damn right if that movie is about sports. Today was a rain day so I had some spare time. That should be obvious with the post activity. With a little luck Netflix stopped by the house and brought me “A Player to be Named Later.” This is a great movie that follows the 2001 Indianapolis Indians through their season. More to the point it follows five players. Those players are Marco Scutaro, Kyle Peterson, Micah Franklin, Brad Tyler, and Allan Levrault. The movie starts off at the Brewers minor league camp. You hear from all the players as well as the men in charge of the minors for Milwaukee. That is where I learned the fun stat that only 6% of the players in minor league camp ever make it to the bigs. I would like to know what percentage of players even make minor league camp. From minor league camp the movie shifts to Indy where the players meet Wavin’ Wendell Kim who will be their manager for the year. They are told to play their best, and to interact with the fans. They are told that they are here to get better to move up, but they are also there to entertain the fans. The movie then settles in to show how each of the players handles the season. I don’t want to ruin that ride so I will not go into specifics. Some interesting things I learned from the movie though. A typical Triple A player makes less than $40,000 a year. The typical MLB player makes $75,000 a week. What a difference. They get that kind of money to play 144 games in 150 days taking buses to away games. It can’t be the best life, but when you move concrete for a living it doesn’t sound too bad. If you are a baseball fan, then this movie is for you. Having just been at Victory Field for the first time it was cool to see a movie based there so quickly after being there. Watch the movie, and feel just a little bit worse when you boo your local player for doing something that you think is bad. The movie is worth renting just to see the young girl talking to the pitcher along the railing about how he usually doesn’t get people out. His reaction is priceless.
One thing to look for when you watch the movie is in the bonus features. Apparently Deion Sanders did not want to give an interview one day while playing for the Louisville Bats so they interviewed Kyle Peterson instead. The interviewer just asked Kyle the same questions that he was going to ask Neon Deion, and Kyle’s answers are great. It is a short segment, but well worth it.
Where are they now?
Scutaro: Playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. I actually was able to see him in person in 2006 when he was playing for the Oakland A’s. He went 1-3 playing second base in Frank Thomas’ return to Chicago. Now that I have seen this movie I will follow him a little closer.
Peterson: 2001 was Kyle’s last season in professional ball. He had surgery following the season, and never played again. He is now an announcer for ESPN. His humor is what makes him fun to listen to, and some of that can be seen during the movie.
Franklin: Played until 2004. Signed with the Diamondbacks in 2002, but was released after the playing the season in Tuscon. Signed with the White Sox in 2004 and played with Birmingham until they released him during the season. Finished the year with Tuscon before hanging up his cleats. His last Major League game was in 1997.
Tyler: Played all three outfield positions as well as 1st base for Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League. Ended a long career after that season.
Levrault: He is another pitcher that I have seen in person. I saw him the year before the movie was made. He is the pitcher who pitched the 15th inning in the marathon that I was able to see in County Stadium. He gave up a double to Sammy Sosa that gave the Cubs the win. He appeared in 19 games for the Marlins in 2003 before bouncing around the minors until 2007.
What does that mean exactly? Today I was at the Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers) game against the Louisville Bats (Reds). Homer Bailey was on the mound for Louisville, and boy did he look good. He struck out 15 batters in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out the side in three innings, and just made the Toledo hitters look bad. I heard his name in the off season thrown around as possibly coming to the White Sox, and after seeing him pitch I wish that he would have done just that. The final score was a laugher at 10-3 with Kevin Barker accounting for four of those runs for the Bats. Apparently I am becoming a Bats groupie. Their stadium is just over the border in Louisville so who knows? The way I have been visiting Minor League Stadiums lately it is a possibility.
Fifth Third Field is absolutely amazing. So amazing in fact that I don’t want to get into it this late at night. I will talk a little more about the park in a future write up.