Klein Leads Railcats to Win

Backup catcher Craig Maddux modeling the throwback uniforms

Tonight I went to Gary to see the Railcats take on the Saint Paul Saints. The Railcats were wearing throwback uniforms that were supposed to be from 1919. Well when I say throwback uniforms I mean jerseys. The pants were just a different color white. I was excited to get some pictures of these uniforms, but for some reason they just looked weird. Sometimes throwback uniforms don’t pan out. This may have been one of those times.

Adam Klein hitting his first inning double

Adam Klein gave the Railcats a 2-0 lead after two innings tonight, and the Railcats held on to win 2-1. Klein doubled to lead off the bottom of the first inning. He scored on a SAC fly by Lorenzo Scott to give the ‘Cats a 1-0 lead. In the second inning Klein knocked in Mike Rohde with a single to give Gary a lead that they would not give up. Klein was 2-3 on the night with a walk, a run scored, and the RBI. That is pretty good production out of your lead off spot. Continue reading

What Is To Become of the Northern League?

Thanks to the wonder of Twitter I learned earlier in the week that the Gary Railcats were headed to the American Association to join a group of teams that used to play under the Northern League banner. Three other teams left the Northern League with Gary to go back to the American Association. They are theĀ Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Kansas City T-Bones and Winnipeg Goldeyes. This leaves a cupboard that was already sparse pretty bare. Is the Northern League done? Four of the eight teams have jumped ship. Two teams the Lake County Fielders and the Rockford River Hawks left the Frontier League last season to come to the Northern League. I would think that the Frontier League might just absorb the four remaining teams into their fold. I have yet to see what will happen there. Continue reading

Former Site of Lexington Baseball Park

Lexington Park was located in St. Paul, Minnesota. We came across this historical marker for the stadium while driving to the St. Paul Saints game last Friday. I have always liked the Saints for the way they make baseball fun for everyone. After visiting the monument I have yet another reason to like them. They were the begining of the White Sox franchise. In 1897 Charles Comiskey (yes the same one) had this park built for his team the Saint Paul Saints. Comiskey bought the Sioux City team after his managing contract with the Reds was up, and brought the team to St. Paul. The was part of the Western League at the time. In 1899 the league changed its name to the American League to gain Major League status. Before the club could play its first Major League game Comiskey moved the team to Chicago where it was re-named the White Sox in March of 1900. Comiskey kept leasing the park for about ten years after the move before selling the team. The Saint Paul Saints played in the park until 1956 when the team moved to Midway Stadium. All that remains of the park now is a stone monument and a couple of pictures. The front of the monument can be seen to the left, and the back of the monument can be seen to the right. It can be found in front of the TCF bank branch on Lexington Avenue not far from the current Midway Stadium. We stopped to get a look at some baseball history. What we found was the beginings of our favorite team. Sometimes the little things like this can really make a trip special. If you are in the area take a look at the site. You can see where the Old Roman first put his mark on baseball.

Explorers Exploit the Saints

Last night I made my second trip to Midway Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota. Part two of this roadtrip brought us to the park where “Fun is Good.” The final score was not very fun though as the Saints dropped the game 10-5. The Saints are one of the best Independent League teams at drawing fans. They have all kinds of entertainment before, during, and after the game. They do everything possible to make sure you have a good time at the stadium. Unfortunately the baseball team did not get the message. They had a bad night making three errors. They made numerous other bad plays that could have been scored an error. The center fielder for instance ran to his left to catch a fly ball, only to watch it pop out of his mitt. Another sad story of the game was the pitching of Reed Dickert. He was not helped by the defense, but he gave up five runs on five hits in 2/3 of an inning. Dickert was signed by the Brewers last year and sent to high A ball. He was demoted to low A after just one start when he gave up three runs in two innings. Every pitcher has a bad night, and his bad night was the difference in the game. His inning started with another blunder by a Saints outfielder that left him with a man on second instead of nobody on and one out. Towards the end of the game we also had a couple of instances where the rain really came down. Both times though it quit almost as quick as it started, and the game was never stopped. The rain will not be a factor the next two nights.
Today we will see the sites in the Twin Cities, and then head to the Metodome to see the White Sox take on the Twins. I kept telling everyone that Gavin Floyd was going to throw a no-no, but after getting home in time to watch Jonathan Sanchez throw one last night for the Giants I would say the already slim odds of that happening got even slimmer.

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?