Last night I was at the Cell to see the White Sox take on the Royals. I have been to Minor League games on the Fourth of July before, but never a Major League game. For once I really did not have much going on on the holiday so I found a very cheap ticket on StubHub that would allow me to see the Sox on the Fourth. I got to the game a little early to watch batting practice. Last season while on a bus trip I watched the fun that Bruce Chen and Joakim Soria had in the outfield. I usually stand by the Podsednik seat, but I stood a little to the left of that in order to watch them again. They really do seem to enjoy what they do, and it makes you like them as players even if they play for a division rival. Chen even took the time to sign some autographs for some younger Sox fans in the Royals bullpen. While taking some pictures of this duo I noticed that Mike Moustakas was at bat. He is a lefty with some pop so I quit taking pictures long enough to watch his at bat in the cage. He hit a ball that off the bat looked like it was right at me. I hurried up and set my camera down, and got my hands up just in time to snag the ball. I was sitting about seven rows up in the bleachers, and the ball was hit right at me. This was about the same spot that my brother snagged the ball hit by Jeter last August. I was not even trying to get a ball, and of course one is hit right at me! Luckily I caught it with all the people watching. Continue reading
The internet is a wonderful thing. A couple of weeks ago I found a very cool site called Eephus League. Through that site I found another one called The Baseball Enthusiast. One of the first posts that I saw on there was one where he took a look at the second game of the 1985 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals. His site is all about going to ball games and keeping score. That got me thing about the first games that I scored. They were during that same series, and I still keep score to this day. I find that the longer I attend ballgames the more I notice how crazy people think I am for keeping score. They ask me why I bother? My explanation is simple. I always have. Continue reading
Yesterday I made the trip to the Cell with a busload of White Sox fans to see the Sox take on the Royals. What made this trip special is the fact that it was my 100th Major League game. If you have been reading this blog for a while you know very well now that my first game was in 1985 so this is my 25th anniversary season of watching Major League Baseball live. Maybe it was just my imagination, but a lot of things made this game very cool for me. The first of those is the fact that the pitchers on the hill were Gavin Floyd and Brian Bannister. Put their last names together, and you get Floyd Bannister who was on the hill for the Sox for my first three games. He pitched the first two for the Sox, and the third for the Royals in 1988. Brian of course is Floyd’s kid so it makes it very cool. The picture above I thought was pretty cool because it showed both names on the scoreboard. It reminded me a little of the old Fleer card with Carlton-Steve and Steve-Carlton on it.
This is the second post in the famous lineage series. The first was on Valparaiso pitcher/outfielder Kyle Gaedele and his link to Eddie Gaedel. One thing that I like when I go to a sporting event is to trace players back to their famous relatives. It is even cooler when I saw their relative play. This is especially true in the case of Brian Bannister. His father Floyd pitched for the White Sox and Royals among other team. Floyd pitched the first three White Sox games that I attended. The first two as a member of the White Sox, and the third as a member of the Kansas City Royals. Floyd was a overall #1 pick in the MLB draft in 1976 a year before future teammate Harold Baines would take that honor. He would not come onto my radar unto he signed a free agent contract with the White Sox in 1983. He would help that team to the Western Division title in 1983, and give them solid starts through 1987. In 1988 he signed with the Royals and pitched well again. He hurt his arm in 1989, and was never the same pitcher again. Continue reading
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:
- 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.
- See the Colorado Rockies play (5/17) – The other team that I have yet to see in person.
- 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.
- See the Toronto Blue Jays play – (5/7) The Blue Jays were the first opponent that I saw the Sox play.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Attend Opening Day (4/5/2010) – This should be a goal every season.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Attend a game at Miller Park – This stadium just north of us on 94 is a great one to watch baseball in.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
After last night the White Sox had twelve wins on the season. I have attended three of those in person. I think that the fact that they are four games under .500 and I am 3-0 speaks for itself. The White Sox need to give me season tickets. That way I can make sure that they get at least 81 wins. All the Sox would then need to do is to win a few on the road to make the playoffs. Then of course I travel with the team during the playoffs and we win World Series after World Series. Then again maybe I have nothing to do with wins when I attend games. It sure feels good when you attend a win though.
Last night I got to the game early, and only had to wait a few minutes to get into the park. I always walk in the right field corner to catch some batting practice. As I walked into the stadium I heard a clink, and walked over and picked up a baseball. The night before I got one while sitting behind the plate so this made it two nights in a row that I came home with a souvenir. The rest of batting practice was bad though since Rick Ankiel seemed to be the only player that could hit one out of the park. As I left batting practice I noticed a small crowd in centerfield. The Comcast crew was filming the pre game show so I stopped to watch for a while. The boys really seemed to have fun out there, and it was fun to watch the pre game show. Big Frank certainly looks like he could still be out there knocking the ball around. It will be cool to see him get his jersey retired in August. I left the boys to get a slice of Connie’s Pizza and went over to my $20 StubHub seats in row 8 of section 119 to watch the game.
The game started with a bang. Andruw Jones hit a shot that left the park in a hurry to put the Sox up 2-0 in the first. They kept it going to end the first inning up 4-0. They really seemed to be clicking on offense last night. It may be no surprise that it started at the top of the lineup. When Pierre gets on Beckham seems to hit better, and that gives the rest of the lineup more chances to drive in some runs.
Part of the reason that I went to the game was to see Brian Bannister pitch for the Royals. Twenty five years ago I attended my first baseball game, and his dad Floyd was the pitcher. In fact Floyd pitched the first three Sox games that I saw over a four year span. The first two were with the White Sox, and in 1988 I saw him beat the Sox while pitching for the Royals. Brian got knocked around a bit, and only pitched three innings, but I could check one more thing off my to do list this summer. I will have more on that list in a couple of days.
On Cinco de Mayo with about half the stadium full Sweaty Freddy Garcia pitched a good game. He did give up ten hits, but he did not walk a batter. In fact the entire White Sox staff did not walk a batter the entire game. Freddy gave up two runs, and pitched seven strong innings. That is what we need from him. Linebrink, Putz, and Jenks all came in and only allowed two hits in three innings to seal the game for the Sox. It was nice to see Linebrink have a solid outing. That is something to build on. Jenks also seemed to be in control.
My next Sox game will probably be sometime this weekend. I would like to get a game in against the Blue Jays.
The most beautiful day of the year is here…Opening Day. Every team is even in the standings (almost I guess since games have been played the two previous days). I love Opening Day, and I have been lucky enough to be at the Sox home opener the last two years. Billy Pierce (not Barack Obama) threw out the first pitch, and Mark Buehrle took the mound for the Sox. They were in trouble until the 8th when Jim Thome played small ball and hit his 542nd home run to put the Sox up 4-2. Big bad Bobby Jenks came in to seal the deal for the Sox. Great games like this only mean that I will be going to more this year. Bring them on I say!