A Wild Night in Indy

The victory bell is rung by a member of the Indiana National Guard after the Indians walk off win

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 fieldĀ  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

Charlotte at Indy Recap (Part 2)

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

Charlotte at Indy Recap (Part One)

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

September 15, 2004

Five years ago today was a great day in CSD history. It was my brother’s 21st birthday. I took him to Wrigley to celebrate the occasion. You can find a little more about the game here. It came in #13 on my favorite game countdown from a couple of seasons ago. One of the things that made the game so special was the fact that my brother won an autographed Sammy Sosa baseball. This was when Sammy was still Sammy in Chicago. It was a huge deal. For one of us anyway. He was taken under the bleachers to the main stadium to pick up his ball. I was left in the bleachers pondering my decision to let him go through the gates first. I am the ball collector after all. Why didn’t I get a ball and a quick tour of the stadium? This ball would have been so much cooler had Sammy finished his career strong. At one point he was a shoe in for the Hall. Now we will have to wait and see what his fate will be. Either way it is a cool ball that brings back memories. This continued the trend of everyone but me getting a ball at a stadium. This one was even signed!

When It Rains, It Pours

I don’t hate the Cubs. Let me just say that right off the bat. They are having a tough time right now, and I think that their struggles should put some things into perspective for Sox fans. On paper they might be an even better team than the Sox, and they have just lost eight straight. I was thinking that things couldn’t get much worse for them last night when Mr. T stepped up to the mic to sing the seventh inning stretch. He butchered that song so bad that the Cubs fate was sealed then. The Sox saw the Pirates bats come alive in the 8th inning of Sunday’s game, and they kept going last night. This could be a long season on both sides of town.
The Sox bats finally came alive last night. They scored 17 runs to win 17-3. I just hope that they saved some runs for the rest of the month. Maybe this is the turnaround point. As if to answer my challenge from earlier in the day Jim Thome hit his 549th home run to pass Mike Schmidt for sole possession of 13th place all-time. The downside is that Carlos has injured his foot again. We really need him healthy and swinging the bat to do any damage this year.

Shipwrecked By The Pirates

When I left the house yesterday I was excited about seeing the Sox play. It would be the 72nd Major League game that I have been to. I was going to go Friday or Saturday, but something came up. I was excited to go because I just received my new Fisk jersey that I purchased on e-bay. Everything was lining for a perfect day. Brian Anderson was responsible for all three of the Sox runs on the day. He hit a two run home run, and scored the third run. The home run by Anderson was the first of the season for a player that has played in center field. The Sox have yet to have a player who is actually playing center field hit a home run. Pods may be trying though with his beer league softball shuffle while batting. Mark Buehrle pitched great, and was in line for another win. Octavio Dotel gave up a home run, but we had Bobby coming in to pitch the ninth. He looked good getting the first two outs, and I was standing by the exit waiting for the last out. As the ball went in the air I started thinking about Hawk saying when this ball comes down…then I realized it was going to come down in the stands. Uh-oh. Then in typical optimist fashion I decided that the perfect day would include extra innings. Nyjer Morgan then hit a double. All game long in the bleachers the fans were getting on him. The favorite refrain that I was hearing was a different way to say his name that sounds like a word that rhymes with trigger. When he crossed home plate with what would be the winning run he had to have a huge smile on his face. Revenge would taste sweet. I had already left the bleachers, but I bet the exchange when he came back out for the bottom of the ninth was great. In the bottom of the ninth the Sox sent three batters to the plate against Matt Capps, and all three struck out. One out away from a huge sweep, and they let it get away. Our ship was damaged, and probably going down anyway. It did not take a very good group of Pirates to finish it off. I already hear talk about next season. It is way too early for that. We do have to find some answers quick though. This team is way too talented to be playing like this. Swing the bat Jim Thome!

The day was not a total loss though. I had a blast in the bleachers. Most of the people around me were excited to be there, and watching the game. Very unlike a couple of weeks ago at Wrigley. Between innings though we were getting Blackhawk updates on our phones. They had a rough day too, but that is another story. I was glad to be part of the patriotic day the Sox had planned, but I did have one question. Where were those ugly camo jerseys that Buehrle wanted so bad? That must have been a one time deal. Well camo jerseys or not, the Sox offense is in hiding. This was also my first chance to see Scott Podsednik back in a Sox uniform. It was nice from a nostalgia point of view, but he is not the answer in center. He got some bad jumps on a couple of balls, but one baserunning gaff by the Pirates helped bail him out. His throw to third did not have a lot of heat on it, but he gets an assist anyway. I hope that I will see him next weekend in Toledo when I see the Knights play there.

Too many negatives. The Sox had some positives on Sunday. Mark Buehrle pitched out of a lot of trouble to be in position to win. He gave up 12 hits, but only gave up the one run in the first. Alexei Ramirez made a couple very nice plays in the field. He made a nice stop and throw to second to start a double play in the 5th. He also made a nice cut off throw to first to catch Moss in the sixth. He went 1-3 on the day with a SAC bunt. Hopefully he is coming around. Chris Getz had another rough day at the plate, but made a nice catch on a line drive, then threw to second to get a double play to end the 3rd. I have already mentioned Anderson’s big day. Josh Fields also drove in a run, going 1-3. The best thing that I can take from the game is that Carlos Quentin was playing again. He hit a double and scored. He is the key to this team. He is the young cog that could keep the power going for many years to come. We want him in left as much as possible.

Movie Review: A Player to Be Named Later

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.

All player data obtained from baseball-reference.com and retrosheet.com

Victory for the Bats at Victory Field

After threatening to go for years I finally made it to Victory Field tonight. A Triple A club that is 2.5 hours away, and I have never gone. I have been waiting for a weekend series with the Charlotte Knights, but it has not come or I was busy when it did. I decided to go to this game between the Louisville Bats (Reds) and the Indians (Pirates). A future NL Central showdown.

Louisville struck for four runs in the first two innings, then were silent the rest of the game. Two errors in the first inning really set the table up for the Bats, and they did not dissapoint. The difference in the game tough was a 2nd inning Matt Maloney home run. What makes that special is the fact that Maloney was the pitcher. In my only other Triple A game Glendon Rusch was pitching for the Iowa Cubs and hit two home runs. I guess minor league pitchers can hit. Former Sox player Danny Richar was 2-4, but I would rather have Getz right now.
Victory Field is great. I am glad that I finally was able to get here, and now that I know what I am in for I will be back sooner rather than later.

My Favorite Games: #13

Today’s game occurred on September 15th, 2004. It was my brothers 21st birthday so I bought tickets to the Cubs game vs. the Pirates at Wrigley field. We were in the bleachers so we got up to Wrigleyville early. My brothers first bar was the Cubby Bear. We went in there before the game to get warmed up a little. We then decided to get in line to get a good seat in the bleachers. When we went in we received scratch off cards for a free Sammy Sosa baseball. You have to remember that he was still huge at this time. My brother won a ball so he was taken down under the bleachers to the main part of the stadium. They took him past places that I will probably never get to see. He got his ball, and we were able to see a good game. The Cubs just pasted the Pirates. The Cubs won the game 13 to 5. Sammy celebrated his day by going 3 for 4 with two home runs and 5 RBI’s. Mark Prior was the starting pitcher for the Cubs. He gave up 5 runs in 5 innings. A typical Prior day. Well he didn’t get hurt so I guess he was off a little. One of the best parts of the day was talking to Craig Wilson in right field for the Pirates. He has a sweet mullet, and it was fun talking to him about it. As you can see below Sammy likes the rock and roll as well.
We had a good time, and celebrated the day by stopping at BW3′s in Michigan City on the way home to meet with some of my friends.