The Big Hurt Gets Bronzed

The Thomas statue shortly after its unveiling. I could barely get in to get this picture let alone get the camera settings dialed in. This turned out better than I thought it would.

Yesterday I made it to U.S. Cellular Field to see the second Frank Thomas day in as many years. Last August I saw the team retire his number. Yesterday they gave him a statue in left field. Frank was probably the best hitter I have seen so far in my life. I have seen players hit more home runs and hit for a higher average, but none that could do both while staying clean. Continue reading

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

Classic Scorecards: October 12th, 1986 ALCS Game 5

Dave Henderson celebrating his home run with Bob Boone looking on

I really wanted to feature the Opening Day no-hitter that Bob Feller threw today. I have tried to track down anything that would help me reconstruct the scorecard. I have sent out emails to various museums to see if they have any information. I have found nothing so far, but it is not a total loss. The game that takes its place is a pretty good one too. Game five of the 1986 ALCS will always stick in my mind. I was going to to this one early in the process anyway, but after the strikeout on Feller info and the MLB special I saw this week decided to just do it now. Continue reading

Bobby Jenks Can Close Everything But His Mouth

Bobby Jenks warming up in 2009

This site is normally reserved for my experiences observing sporting events. Every now and then something comes along that gets me fired up. The last time this happened was when Brett Favre was texting pictures of his junk to everybody. Now something else has come along that has me a little riled up.

When he came up in 2005 Bobby Jenks was such a great story. He was a player that was left for dead in the Angels organization. He came up from AA Birmingham and led the club to the World Series title. It takes guts to pitch in the playoffs like he did. He was a great pitcher for some time in Chicago. Continue reading

My 25 Goals For the 2010 Baseball Season

This year marks the 25th year that I have been attending Major League Baseball games. At first my attendance was sparse. I went when my father got free tickets from his company. We all know now that I will go whenever I can get a chance. I love lists. Lists are how you can look at things. So as this season progresses I will have a few lists on here. The first of those will be my goal sheet for this 25th anniversary season. Here are the things that I would like to accomplish during the 2010 season. Some of them have already been checked off. Some of them might take some work to get done. I will have to look at this at the end of the year to see how I fared. Here is the list:

  1. See the Arizona Diamondbacks play (5/1/2010) – Arizona is one of the two Major League teams that I have not seen play coming into 2010.
  2. See the Colorado Rockies play (5/17) – The other team that I have yet to see in person.
  3. Attend the White Sox game against the Orioles on 8/25/2010 – This is the day 25 years later that I attended my first baseball game. The stadium may have changed, but I still get chills when I walk inside.
  4. See the Toronto Blue Jays play – (5/7) The Blue Jays were the first opponent that I saw the Sox play.
  5. See Brian Bannister pitch (5/5/2010) – Brian is the son of former Sox hurler Floyd Bannister who pitched in the first game that I saw.
  6. See a game at U.S. Cellular Field (4/5/2010) – I checked off a few goals on Opening Day. This was one of them.
  7. See a game at Wrigley Field (5/1/2010) – This may be the territory of the enemy, but it is a landmark park in my own backyard. I also have some great memories inside this stadium.
  8. Attend Opening Day (4/5/2010) – This should be a goal every season.
  9. Attend a game on my birthday – I also try to do this every season. This year the Sox are in town, and they are playing the Yankees.
  10. Attend Frank Thomas day at the Cell – The day after my birthday (8/29/2010) they will be honoring the Big Hurt. I guess I will have to make it two in a row at the Cell.
  11. Attend a Red Sox game – I always enjoy games between the two Sox clubs. I would love to make this the first time for Fenway, but I will probably have to settle for the September matchup at the Cell.
  12. Attend a game at Miller Park – This stadium just north of us on 94 is a great one to watch baseball in.
  13. Attend a game at Comerica Park – I was here in 2003, but did not take my camera. Last season I visited all the parks that I did not take pictures at besides this one. We cross it off in 2010.
  14. Visit a new Minor League stadium – While MLB baseball is fun, MiLB baseball can be just as much fun. I need to find a new stadium to enjoy the action in this year.
  15. See Lyle Overbay play (5/7) – While I was in college I attended many South Bend Silverhawk games. Lyle was a star on those teams. He now plays for the Blue Jays.
  16. Attend the Midwest League All Star game – This year it is just down the road in Fort Wayne. What better way to see some of the young talent in the game?
  17. See an Angels game (5/20) – With the World Series year being five years ago I would love to see them play their ALCS opponent.
  18. See an Astros game – After visiting their stadium this season I wanted to see the team play in person. They were also the team we beat in 2005 to win it all.
  19. Attend at least nine games at the Cell this season – If I can accomplish this I will have attended 50 games at the Cell. It took a while for the first 50, but I bet the next 50 comes much easier.
  20. Road trip to a new MLB stadium – I have knocked out most of the stadiums near me. Although my brother does get married this season in Colorado when the Rockies are in town.
  21. See a game on 5/22/2010 – For some reason I seem to see a game every two years on this date. So this being an even numbered year it is time to see a game. I really have a problem huh?
  22. See a game against the Tigers, Royals (5/5/2010), Twins (4/11/2010), and the Indians (4/5/2010) – This one involves seeing all the AL Central teams.
  23. Snag a ball during a game (5/4/2010) – I have plenty of balls that I acquired during batting practice. This year I want to get one during a game. Update: I snagged a foul ball in the 4th inning of a game between Northwestern and Valpo. With less than 100 fans at the game it increased my odds a bit.
  24. Ballhawk at Wrigley Field – I have always wanted to just take the train up to Wrigley with no ticket and ballhawk. I guess this will have to be the year. No ticket required.
  25. Get a ball autographed by both Rich Dotson and Carlton Fisk – I met both of these guys at my first game in 1985. The both autographed my program. I would love to get a ball autographed by both players for my collection.

If I can do all of this I would have to say that I will have had a great year. We will see what happens over the course of the season

Who To Root For in the Playoffs (2009 Edition)

Last season I tried to find a team to root for in the playoffs once the White Sox were eliminated. This year I can try this from the start. Here are the eight teams that have made the postseason this season.

American League
New York Yankees
Minnesota Twins
Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Angels

National League
St. Louis Cardinals
Philadelphia Phillies
Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers

I will start my process by picking the teams that I have seen play this season in person. This eliminates the Bronx Bombers, the Phillies (who were my 2009 pick), and the Rockies. The other five teams I was able to watch live this season. It is a lot easier to root for a team that you have seen play. Now comes the hard part. How do I get these five teams down to one that I can root for? Well, I root for the White Sox so I can just check the 40 man rosters of each of these teams to find players that once played for the palehose. The team with the most former Sox players wins.

Minnesota Twins (3)
Jon Rauch
Joe Crede
Orlando Cabrera

Los Angeles Angels (0)
None. But I feel as though Chone Figgins is a former player the way his name is batted around each offseason.

St. Louis Cardinals (0)
I still may root for them a little.

Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
Jon Garland
Charlie Haeger
Jim Thome

Boston Red Sox (1)
Brian Anderson

So here is where we stand right now. The Cardinals and Angels have zero former Sox players on their team. What are they thinking? The Red Sox have one, and it is even a member of the White Sox this season in Brian Anderson. The Dodgers have three which ties them for first, and they have a player that was a member of the Sox this season in Jim Thome. They also have one of my favorites in Jon Garland. That just leaves the Twins. They have three former Sox players as well. Orlando Cabrera did not make many friends in Chicago last season, but he is a winner. Joe Crede will always be one of my favorite Sox players of all-time. He was clutch. How do I break this tie for my loyalty? They are in separate leagues so I guess I am rooting for a Twins/Dodgers series. If that does happen I have one way to break the tie. I have seen the Twins three times this season including once in their stadium. I saw the Dodgers a couple of days after that trip in Milwaukee. That is a 3-1 vote for the Twins. Also the Twins have a former Irish pitcher (Jeff Manship), and one of the coolest MLB bloggers out there (Pat Neshek). I think we have a winner. The team that I will root to win it all is the Twins? Can a White Sox fan do this? I guess we will see. It is easy to root for them now as they are facing the Yankees. Nobody wants them to win. Well maybe a few. When it comes down to it though can I be a Twins fan for a couple weeks? Stay tuned.

Buehrle Finally Gets Another Win

Mark Buehrle has been winless since he pitched his perfect game in July. I have been to a couple of his games, and he has pitched good enough to win a few, but without any support. Today he got that support from his teammates. I got to the stadium early in case they were having batting practice only to find out that they were not. I used that time to look around the stadium a bit. As soon as I walked into the stadium I noticed a crowd watching Dice K getting some work in on the right field grass. I stopped and watched him pitch for a while before moving on. I used my trick to get into the lower deck to see the new Thome plaque in center. I have been to a couple of games since they put it in, but I always forget to check it out. While I was out there I noticed that nothing was going on in the center field deck. I grabbed a couple hot dogs (they were only $1 today) and sat up there for most of the pre game. I figured since Boston was in town that it would be a sell out so I decided to get to my seat behind the plate. I tried to go up through the fundamentals deck, but I was told that if you do not have a kid you can’t go up. The guy asked me in a weird tone why any adult would want up there anyway? I told him that I just wanted to get to my upper deck seat, and he said to use the ramp like everyone else. I got to my seat seven rows up right behind the plate excited for the game. That is until I realized that right in front of me is where everyone stops while they are trying to find their seats. This will not work for a guy who takes pictures. I watched the last part of the top of the first from the tunnel before sprinting back downstairs. I finally settled in near the right field foul pole with a great view of the bullpen.

As far as the game was concerned the Red Sox got a run in the first thanks to the speed of Jacoby Ellsbury. He led off with a hit, stole second, moved to third on a Victor Martinez groundout, and then scored on a Kevin Youkilis hit. He really adds a unique dimension to this Red Sox team. The good news for the White Sox was that the run scored in the first would be the last for the Red Sox. The White Sox stranded leadoff runners in the first two innings before scoring three in the third. Mark Kotsay had the big hit of the inning scoring two with a base hit to center. He was thrown out at home to end the inning trying to go from first to home on a Carlos Quentin hit. The Sox added two more runs in the eighth on a Carlos Quentin home run. That ball rocketed into the stands. Quentin has now homered in the last three games that I attended. Maybe Brian Anderson’s mojo moved over to Carlos when he was traded. Scotty Pods had another good day at the plate. He was on base three of the four times he came up scoring a run. He really has done alright in the games I have attended this season. The bullpen pitched two innings today without giving up a hit. That is what we need if we are going to pull this miracle off. We still have six games left with Detroit so I have not thrown in the towel yet.

One of the cool things about my acquired seats at the park was the fact that I was able to watch the bullpen as well. I saw Pena and Thornton warming up before coming into the game. I was also able to get my first look at Daniel Hudson pitching as he was throwing in the pen at one point. Hudson is shown to the left. He threw with Johnny Nunez while the Sox were batting in the seventh. Thornton and Pena were warming up, but quit for that half inning. They kicked the young kids off the mound once the Red Sox came back up to the plate. I was also able to see Bobby Jenks and D.J. Carrasco warm up in the bottom of the eighth. Bobby watched Quentin’s shot land in the bullpen, and then walked back into his spot in the bullpen. He knew he was no longer needed. I may have to sit here again tomorrow. These were great seats that almost netted me a foul ball.

Senator Curt Schilling?

I was just going to write about heading to the Cell today to see the final game between the two Sox clubs when I saw this tidbit about Curt Schilling online. He apparently thinks that he has a shot to win a Senate race. I would normally wonder why, but this country has been known to do stranger things. I have a picture to the left that I took the last time I saw the Red Sox play the White Sox. The date was July 9th, 2006. We all know what happened that day. The Sox teams battled for 19 innings before Tadahito Iguchi ended the game. I would normally root for a similar game, but I have to work tomorrow. Wait a minute….I wouldn’t mind it so much. Bring it on! Just give me a White Sox winner at the end.

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?