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.
Right off the bat I knew that I was in for a good time when the Hoosier Lottery gave me a free ticket on the way into the ballpark. If you have not been to Victory Field you do not know what you are missing. This is a beautiful ballpark located in a great section of Indy. You can spend all day taking a segway tour, and then catch a ballgame. The park and the surrounding area is a destination in itself.
I was going to wait in line to get a couple of Indians autographs since it was autograph day, but decided to go down and watch some of the future Sox players warming up. The first one that I saw was Chris Sale who was the #1 draft pick of the Sox just a few weeks ago has been pitching well for Charlotte. I ended up meeting him later on, and he was a great guy. He signed a ball for me, and seemed to really care for the fans. I told him that I will see him in Chicago and he said someday. I said that I had just read how Ozzie wanted to call him up, and showed him the article on my phone. He had a big grin after that. Chris is shown in the above picture warming up. He did not enter the game, but on a hot day like yesterday was who would want to.
Donny Lucy was the next player that I met. He had a good early part of the season while filling in for Ramon Castro. I was actually sad to see him go as he seemed to perform well enough to stay. I don’t know what his future with the team is as Tyler Flowers is the anointed catcher of the future. Donny was also good with the fans, and as you can see above did not mind signing for the kids.
During the course of the next half hour or so I met a few of these guys who have either played for the Sox or will someday. Randy Williams, Lucas Harrell, Jeff Marquez, and Ryan Braun all stopped to chat with the fans. Lucas is shown above signing for a fan. I really became a fan of Randy Williams after seeing him in action during the warm up session. He was having fun with the fans, and with his fellow players. He really was trying to get fans to get Ryan Braun’s autograph. To the novice baseball fan they might have confused him with the Brewers all star outfielder.
Once the pitchers left to go and cool down I watched infield practice. I have heard so much about Brent Morel that I really wanted to see him in action. I took the picture above as he was finishing up his infield drills. They had to charge the ball and throw to first. I really like this picture. Just behind me was a large contingent of Morel supporters. I don’t know if they were family or not, but they were cheering him on the entire game.
Speaking of family John Danks has a brother in the Sox organization, and he was out on the field warming up even though he did not get into the game. Jordan Danks looks just like his older brother. I have heard that he is a great fielder, but did not have much to judge from. He did have a great old time pitching motion though that he was showcasing as he was warming up.
Another big name on the Knights roster is Tyler Flowers. He is supposed to be the next catcher on the Sox when A.J. leaves town. In fact when things were not going so well earlier in the season it looked like that day was quickly approaching. I included two pictures of Tyler. The first was of him getting ready to warm up Carlos Torres. The second one is of him catching one of Torres’ pitches. I loved how I finally got the ball in the mitt. He closes the mitt so fast that it is harder than it would appear to get. I have tried at other parks to capture this, but got it on my second try last night. I have so many good pictures from last night that I might just have a picture post later in the week.
After the Knights were done warming up I went straight up from where I was sitting and saw former Mariner Akinori Iwamura signing autographs. I got into line to get his, and noticed that he had a cameraman that was filming the signing. He was filming each item, and then filming the signing. You can see the camera over his shoulder as he hands a picture over to a fan. The fan actually gave him some copies of the pictures that he had signed. I thought that it was a good gesture, and Akinori seemed to appreciate it as well.
After all the excitement I grabbed a hot dog and the biggest pop that they had, and settled into my seat to watch the game. More on the game later.