Timber Rattlers Sneak By the Silverhawks

Game two of the doubleheader was eerily similar to the first game. The Timber Rattlers were ahead by two after the second inning. A home run by Chris Dennis and Cutter Dykstra scoring put them up 2-0. The Hawks scored one in the 4th when Matt Davidson hit a sac fly to score game one hero David Nick. The Hawks should have had more though with runners on second and third with nobody out. Bobby Borchering never made it past second that inning. They did score again in the fifth to tie the game up. A leadoff double by Matt Helm followed by an error by the pitcher plated the run with no outs. Tyson Van Winkle was standing on third with nobody out, and the Hawks could not get him in. Bradin Hagens came in for the Silverhawks in the ninth and gave up a leadoff hit. He then retired the next two batters before giving up back to back doubles that put Wisconsin up 4-2 with three outs left. The Hawks managed one run in the bottom of the seventh before bowing out. Continue reading

Silverhawks Are Not Rattled By Errors

Once again I have too much to talk about in one post so I will break it up into two. Part of the trouble with being the sports junkie is that I receive messages from ball clubs. One of those told me that their was going to be a doubleheader last night on dollar Monday. Two games for one dollar! Of course I was going. The problem with dollar Monday is that the crowd is usually their for everything but the game. Take this kid above. I think he may have had some brewskis earlier in the day. He had this popcorn hat on for most of the day. He did provide some entertainment to us though, and he was having a blast. That is what going to the park is all about. Continue reading

Roll Out the Barrel: Ten Years Later

Ten years ago today I was lucky enough to be at a great game between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers. I happened to be in Milwaukee ten years ago to visit, and was already having a good day when I arrived at the old County Stadium. I had already been to the Miller Brewing Company and the Milwaukee Speedway during the day. We got free tickets to the Cubs game that night so why not go? Our original plan was to watch a little of the game, and catch a little of Summerfest. The only reason we were able to see County Stadium at all was the crane accident the year before that set the Miller Park construction back a year. 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

Prince Fielder is the Derby Champion

Yesterday we saw Prince Fielder at his home park in Milwaukee. Tonight he was in St. Louis winning the home run derby. He really put on a show hitting most of the top home runs of the night. Yesterday during the game we were commenting on how he does not get cheated when he is swinging. We were amazed at how someone who swings so violently can hit for average like he does. He is a really special player that really puts the crowd on the edge of their seats. Hopefully he can carry this momentum into the second half and get the Brewers some wins. He hit a 503 foot bomb to send him to the finals that I thought had a chance at the scoreboard. This is what the home run derby is all about. We want to see power. Tonight we got that chance.

Manny, Dodgers Beat the Brewers to Continue the Streak

The away team has won every game this roadtrip. I don’t know if this trend will continue tomorrow when I am technically at home, but going to another game. I really need to take a break from baseball games after this. The main reason that I wanted to see this game was to see if Manny could pass Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run list. I saw Sammy do this in 2003, and thought it could be a possibility. Manny hit a drive in the first that had a chance. Corey Hart must have had his sunglasses on at night because he missed what seemed like an easy play on the ball. He just let it hit the ground, and Manny was on base. The picture to the left is Manny following through on the double. The next picture in the series (which is not shown) shows Manny watching his shot. Typical Manny, watching the ball instead of running. I saw many young kids in the stands wearing Ramirez jerseys. Is this the guy we want our youth looking up to? When your kid does something wrong will you just say “That is Johnny being Johnny”? He had a good game going 3 for 3 before being replaced by Juan Pierre in the 7th as part of a double switch.

During the game I was talking to the guys about how the Sox were rumored to be in on Orlando Hudson in the off season. I couldn’t figure out why. As if to show me he hit two home runs in the game. Apparently he is a good ball player. He made a couple nice catches in the field, and Ryan Braun loves hitting him the ball. Clayton Kershaw pitched six solid innings only giving up one run on two hits. His main downfall was the five walks he gave up. Yovani Gallardo on the other hand gave up 5 runs in 5 innings. The Brewers had a chance in the ninth to tie the game, but Braun popped out once again. That was too bad because if they had tied the game Trevor Hoffman was warming up in the bullpen, and may have come in the game. It would have been nice to see the all time saves leader in action. The road trip ended with a game at a beautiful park. We did not have much invested in either team so we could just enjoy the baseball game. Manny did not hit his milestone homer, and we did not see Trevor but we still had a good time. We spent the last couple innings in the upper deck behind the plate. From that view you can take everything in. This park is much nicer than I remember it. Maybe that had something to do with the roof being open. Tomorrow night the madness continues at the Railcats game where I will hopefully get to meet Fergie Jenkins.

Another Set of Reasons for Why I Am the Sports Junkie

Over the next few days the Sports Junkie will be busy. We are leaving tonight to go on a baseball roadtrip. Stops will include Midway Stadium (home of the St. Paul Saints), the Metrodome (for a Sox/Twins game), and on the way home a game at Miller Park (Brewers/Dodgers). The following is just my little way of getting pumped up for the trip. I have been to all three stadiums, but with regrets each time of things that I did not see. This time I will take care of all of those.

In 2005 I knew that I was leaving Iowa soon, and that I needed to hit some of the stadiums in striking distance before they became farther away. One of those stadiums was Midway stadium. With all of the publicity surrounding the Saints, this was on my wishlist anyway. As you can see by the picture they had a seat with my name on it waiting for me (Remember they say the camera adds ten pounds). The Saints are known for their gimmicks during the game. Owner Mike Veeck is the son of former Sox owner Bill Veeck (as in Wreck). He has brought his fathers sense of showmanship to St. Paul. They have everything that you could ask for at the game. A pig even brings the balls out to the umpire between innings. They are now training a young pig “Slumhog Millionaire” to do just that task. “Boarack Ohama” the last ball pig must have met an untimely end. Besides Veeck another one of the owners of the team is actor Bill Murray. He has been an owner since the team resurfaced as part of the Northern League in 1993. On opening night in St. Paul he was selling programs out front of the stadium, throwing out the first pitch, and even coaching first and third base. The man is a phenomenon. We are going to the game on German night. I don’t know what that will mean for our group. Hopefully they do not find out that I am Polish.

I made my first trip to the Metrodome in 2004. I saw two games in two days in a great environment. I wrote about the games in a previous article on here. Follow the link if you missed it the first time. In the first game Brad Radke was on the mound. On Saturday night he will be on the field again to be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. For some reason I have always admired Radke. He came to work every 5th day, and gave it everything that he had. I was able to see him pitch several times in his career. It always seemed like he came up in the rotation when I was going to be at the game. That night in the dome he was matched up against Neil Cotts. The result should be obvious.
This will more than likely be my last time in the Metrodome. They are going to tear it down at the end of the season. Part of me will miss it. It was so different than the other stadiums that I grew up with. The part of me that is a Sox fan though will be glad to see it go. No more running the air system to help your own team. The pitching matchup will be Gavin Floyd going against Nick Blackburn. The last time I saw Blackburn pitch was at the one game playoff last September. He was tough that night only allowing one run, and has been pitching decent of late. Floyd could either pitch a no-hitter, or get bombed. He has great stuff, and when he is on he is one of the best out there. Hopefully he has it on Saturday. My goal is to get a ball from the field with the commemorative logo on it. With my track record that could be hard to do.

In 2003 I was bored on a rain day so I drove up to Milwaukee to catch a Brewers/Red Sox game. It was pouring down rain so I did not get to really tour the outside of the stadium. I have always regretted that. I was able to see the game though thanks to a retractable roof. This is a great stadium, but it is missing the charm of old County Stadium. The game that I saw had the obligitory stadium packed with Red Sox fans. I had a group that came from Boston to Milwaukee for the game, and a bachelor party. Those fans went crazy when Manny Ramirez hit a solo shot to tie the game in the 6th inning. Those same fans took a beating when the Brewers answered with five in the bottom of the same inning. One of those runs was a shot off the top of the center field scoreboard by Richie Sexson. That may be the longest home run that I have ever seen in person. I have seen Sammy crank some out of Wrigley, but this was a bomb. The game also marked the first time that I would see Scott Podsednik play the game of baseball. He went 1-4 with a single and a run scored in the game. He was still a couple years away from fame in Chicago. I had a great time at the game, and can only hope this game against the Dodgers will match up to that. Another reason to get excited about the game is the fact that the fans entering the ball park get a Brewers key chain. Not really. The real reason that I am excited is that my terrible streak of not getting a ball at the park might be ending. I have a strategy. There is a fellow blogger out there who ball hawks at Brewers games among others. His name is the Happy Youngster, and he gained some noteriety at a Brewers/Marlins game earlier this year. I will let you read about that on his blog. Anyway he pulls many balls every game he goes to. Maybe if I can find him this streak will end. It would be about time. The pitching matchup here is scheduled to be Clayton Kershaw against Yovani Gallardo. This is a matchup of the Brewers ace of the first half against one of the Dodgers up and coming arms. It was not too long ago that Kershaw was pitching up in Michigan for the Great Lakes Loons in the Midwest League. This should be a great game to watch. Could it be the game of the weekend?

This Day In CSD History: 6/6/2003 Red Sox at Brewers

Six years ago today I made my first journey to Miller Park. I would be going next weekend to see the Sox play there, but it was added to this year’s roadtrip in July. That day in 2003 was memorable. It was for one reason because I was listening to Roger Clemens pitch against the Cubs at Wrigley the entire way up to Milwaukee. Another reason that it was memorable was that it was raining cats and dogs most of the trip. One great thing about Miller Park though is that they can close the roof, and you still have a game to see. The one regret that I have about my visit to Miller Park was the fact that it was raining so hard that I really did not tour the outside very much. I basically parked, and then ran inside. This year’s trip will let me see the stadium like I should have seen it a few years ago.

The game itself was a great one to watch. Tim Wakefield got the start for the Red Sox. He only pitched two innings, striking out four before leaving the game due to injury. The Brewers went ahead 3-0 in the second on homers by Wes Helms and Royce Clayton. In the fifth the Red Sox scored two runs, and then tied the game in the sixth on a Manny Ramirez home run. The Brewers put the game away in the bottom of the inning scoring five runs. The highlight of that inning was Richie Sexson hitting a bomb off of the centerfield scoreboard to provide what would be the game winning run. That may be the longest home run I have ever seen in person. The next inning Scott Podsednik (yes, the very same one) reached on a single (his only time on base all day), and then scored on a Geoff Jenkins double. The Brewers won the game, and sent the many Red Sox fans who made the trip home unhappy.

My Favorite Games: #4

Today’s game was played on June 30th, 2000. I had just come back from Purdue and did not have much money to throw around on sporting events. My friend Joe called me up and asked if I wanted to go to Milwaukee with him. his uncle lived up there and had free tickets to the Cubs game that night. We went up to Milwaukee, watched NASCAR truck qualifying at their track, toured the Miller Brewery, and then went to the Cubs game at County Stadium. I had always wanted to go to the stadium before they tore it down, and thanks to construction delays I was able to. I am not happy that a crane killed someone don’t get me wrong, but I am thankful that I was able to see the stadium. It was a great stadium that I will remember fondly. It was old, and I have been to Miller Park which has many more amenities. There is something about the old stadiums that you have to love. It must be the history involved with them. The large beer barrel in center field. The old school scoreboard. The fact it looks so small from the road. And also the Green Bay Packers played in that stadium at one time. What more could you ask for? Anyway on to the game.
The Cubs were down three going in to the eight inning. They got one back on a homer in the eighth, and then scored two in the ninth. What I remember most about those runs were the way that they were scored. For the seventh inning stretch in Milwaukee they play ‘Roll Out the Barrel.” I was singing along with the song, and because of the long day I kept singing it. I was singing it when Reed hit the solo shot in the eighth. I was also singing it when a run was walked in, and then another scored on an error in the ninth. I just knew that my singing caused extra innings. As the game went on I just knew that I would get to sing the song again in the middle of the 14th inning. I was all keyed up to do so and even went dancing up and down the mostly deserted aisle. I am sure someone put me on WGN acting like a fool. I was also singing the song when Sammy Sosa doubled in Girardi and Leiber to win the game in the 15th. A great day at a new stadium, and what at the time was my longest game ever made for a memorable occasion. Until 2006 this game was by far my favorite ever. They next three games come from that year. Only three days left on this countdown. Hard to believe. The season is almost here.