Lookouts

Lookouts
A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Wild Pitches

I had a lot of fun going to games this year. It was, in general, a good baseball year, but I am looking forward to seeing some games again soon!

As the year ends, I have been thinking about some of the parks I visited this past season.

The day we were in August, our game was rained out. Still, the cool staff there stuck around to let us get a look at the park, and they opened the gift shop up for us.

In Asheville, NC we caught a Tourists game an a very good night. Nice crowd and fun staff. The community feel here was very noticeable, as I saw a lot of fans chatting with all of the other fans all over the park. The tourists have one of the funnest vendor personalities in the minors. Tommy Dembinsky is a character and a half. He even took a moment to stop by this blog and comment some.

We saw the Greenville Drive at Fluor Field. The park was perfect. Lots of green. The staff here really impressed me too, as I talked baseball with several of them. The park was upscale yet still very cozy.

We stopped by both of the legendary parks associated with the Durham Bulls. These are must stops on any baseball pilgrimage.

We made it to Knight Stadium to see the Charlotte team play. The park has an outdated feel, but, as newer parks keep getting built, the older ones become more appealing. This park was meant to eventually be transformed into a major league park which really makes it a fun place.

While in Savannah, we swung by the home of the Sand Gnats. VERY cool park with much history. We were given a tour on a non-game day by Chase at the park.

We went to Five County Stadium to see the Carolina Mud Cats. Cool mascot. There was a very small, but enthusiastic crowd there when we visited. The park is covered in netting too. I am not a fan of nets but I understand why parks use them so much.

We saw the indy league Kansas City T-Bones play on a field that can double as a soccer field. GREAT organization with good local support. This is a very fun area too. Kansas City (both of them) are underrated areas.

At the major league level, we saw the Royals and Cardinals at home. We got great seats in Kansas City at a great price. They have a very unusual park, and their Royals Museum is free to visit during games, which is classy! The Cardinals are a great organization in a fun area. With the Arch, the skyline, and a nice downtown area, St. Louis is becoming one of my favorite cities in general.

We visited the Negro League Museum in KC and had fun. I mentioned here that there were a few concerns, curator Raymond Doswell went out of his way to contact me to discuss them. The organization represents a lot of history and they take pride in that. This is another "must see" stop for even the casual baseball fan.

During our Georgia trip, we made it to Royston to see the Ty Cobb Museum. My opinion of Cobb has changed this year. I still think he was a dirty player, who no doubt did some bad things. I do think that his casual attitude in selecting a biographer did some damage to the way he has been viewed in history. After visiting the very nice town of Royston, seeing the hospital that he helped to establish, and reading more material on him than the Al Stump book, I think he was a better person than he gets credit for.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bruce Look 1968 Minnesota Twins


Bruce Look played for the 1968 Twins, but he also played for the Evansville Triplets from 1970-1971.

"Evansville is a great city. I enjoyed playing there very much and the people were nice."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Don Pepper 1966 Detroit Tigers

Don Pepper played for the Tigers, and he spent 1966-1967 playing for the Toledo Mud Hens!

He sent me a note about the Mud Hens.

"I still follow the Toledo Mud Hens and visit usually at least 1x a year."

"We had 2 great years at Toledo winning the Cup 1 year and the pennant the next."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ron Locke- 1964 Mets

Ron sent a great note about his career, and his team that he cheers for these days.

"I like to follow the Boston Red Sox and the Pawtucket Red Sox."

"I like to watch Pedroia for the Red Sox because he gives you 110%."

Ron compares him to Pete Rose.

"In 1966 I played with Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Tug Mcgraw. That was a big thrill for me because they all played in the Big Leagues."

Wild Pitches

Check out the Astros Daily site. My pal Glynn who runs the Colt .45s Collection of baseball cards site sent them an article mentioning my blog!

Here is a link to Glynn's site:

http://colt45scards.info/

and here is a link to Glynn's article at Astros Daily:

http://astrosdaily.com/column/11012161724fan.html

Check it out. Glynn talks about his efforts to make a baseball card of the player Don Bradey, as no card was ever made of him. It is a cool article, and a cool card!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Moe Morhardt 1961-1962 Chicago Cubs

I got a great witty note from Moe Morhardt recently.

"You baseball fans amaze me about things you dig up... you should be working for the C.I.A."

He does some instructional work these days.

"One of the things I ask the kids I instruct now is, 'What is the first thing that enters your mind when you get a hit?" (They say 'run', I say that is third). They sometimes say 'happy' I say that's second. The first thing that goes through every hitters mind is surprise! It never fails. So what that shows is you really don't have any control over getting a hit. If a single is a surprise, what is a home run supposed to feel like?"

He says that he does not follow the minors, though his grand son bought a hat of the Montgomery Biscuits.

Moe lives in New England, and says he follows the Red Sox. He also likes Chase Utley.

I asked Moe about playing for Lancaster Red Roses.

He says, "I remember quite a bit about playing in Lancaster."

"On August 1st we were in 2nd place, by Labor Day, we were in last."

"We had all our valuables stolen at Springfield after a game including mgr. Phil Cavaretta's All-Star and NL Champion rings."

Continuing about Lancaster, "We were losing a game in Binghamton 13-2 in the 6th inning on Phil's birthday. One of our pitchers told him not to worry, we were 'going to get this one for you'.

Moe says they ended up winning 16-15.

"We had a willow tree hanging over the CF fence. We were down 6-3 in the 9th with the bases loaded. One of our catchers pinch hit a ball that clipped the branch of the willow tree, hit their center fielder between the eyes and knocked him out. Our guys circled the bases for a game winning grand slam."

Moe says that center fielder was Joe Pepitone.

Moe tells me he moved around a lot, especially during his first full year in the pros. He spent time playing and training with the Cubs, Houston AAA, San Antonio AA, and Lancaster A. He was in Arizona too. At one point he went to Nova Scotia and got married!

"Baseball makes you a gypsy."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

John Miller- 1966 Yankees and 1969 Dodgers

John Miller played with some great teams, and he spent some time playing with the Harlan Kentucky Smokies in 1962!

"My first year of pro ball I played for Harlan," he says.

He tells me that there is not enough time or paper to describe the town.

I asked him about playing for the legendary Mud Hens.

"I only played in Toledo for a month of the 66 season. I just remember it was cold in April and hot and sticky in August. We did have a big chicken on the front of the ballpark."

Going back to Harlan, he tells me, "in 1962 we would by our beer from May the bootlegger and the sheriff of Harlan county would get shot about every month."

Thanks for the honest and interesting stories John! I do not know May (but I would love to hear more about the bootlegger selling to the team!)!

I can relate about Toledo. I remember a Toledo game in early April of 06 or 07. We had coats on and all, but we had to find blankets! It was freezing! Only a few hundred fans showed up that night.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wild Pitches

I am glad the Yankees didn't get Cliff Lee.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bob Feller

I am sure most baseball fans know that the legend, Bob Feller, died last night. Click on the link to the Cleveland Indians web site for more info.

I spent a lot of time in Cleveland myself and had the chance to meet Bob a couple of times. If you ever met him, you know how cool he was. He always looked, and acted about 30 year or more younger than he really was. He was tough.

He was also friendly and generous, yet not afraid to let you know his opinion.

I can't think of another player that would take time out of a pro career in baseball l to join the Navy during a war, and he served proudly during WWII.

If you are not familiar with Feller, read up on him. He is a baseball legend and an American hero. Again, unlike many other players, especially today, he spent his entire career with the Cleveland Indians. He was, in many ways, the ambassador of the team and the city.

One thing that I feel gets over looked at times concerning his career is how he was pushing for racial integration of baseball before many others.

Bob Feller did what he felt was right every time. There are no scandalous stories to plague his record. No rumors of drug use, betting, etc. to tarnish his legend. He was a great baseball player who gave it everything, and who always did what he thought was right. His career was never interrupted by a suspension, or by suspicion, only by service to his country.

Bob Feller had 92 years with us, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that we were glad to have him.

http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20101215&content_id=16328458&vkey=pr_cle&fext=.jsp&c_id=cle

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mike Lee- 1960 Indians and 1963 Angels

Mike Lee spent a couple of years at the major league level. He sent a nice little note.

He says that he likes his home town Padres as a team.

I asked him about playing for the legendary Hawaii Islanders.

"Hawaii was a long time ago" he said.

His favorite memory was pitching to Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Al Neiger 1960 Philadelphia Phillies

Al Neiger sent a note answering some questions and telling me a great story involving Louisville!

Al says that his favorite team is his old team, the Phillies. Chase Utley is a current favorite player. Stan Musial is his favorite former player.

I asked Al about playing with the Chattanooga Lookouts.

"1961 we were the league champions. 1963 I had a good year pitching even though we finished next to last place."

Concerning any time in Louisville, Al tells me he, "played for Buffalo in 1960 (International League). We were playing Louisville (at Louisville). Both teams shared the same trainer in those years. I was waiting for the trainer to finish with one of the Louisville pitchers."

Al and the Louisville pitcher introduced themselves to each other and they discovered that their names were spelled similarly, though they were pronounced differently.

Al's Swiss-German name is pronounced "Nigh" ger. The other player had the Polish name "Nee" kro.

Man, I have asked several players if they have a good Kentucky story, and I keep getting stories about Phil Niekro! Phil spent some time with the Louisville Colonels, and it seems he made a lot of friends during that time!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wild Pitches

Just keep thinking to yourself, "pitchers and catchers report in February."

Just a quick note on Bob Feller. I have heard that his health is not the best.....

The guy is a legend, taking time out of an amazing baseball career to contribute to the efforts in WWII.

He has already squeezed in several lifetimes worth of living in his life. Word is he is at the Cleveland Clinic right now dealing with those health concerns.

I am sure all baseball fans are thinking about one of the toughest guys ever in sports right now.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ken MacKenzie- Mets, Braves, Astros and Giants

Ken MacKenzie spent time with several teams in the 60s.

"I'll tell you a little about 1960- and the Louisville Colonels."

"I came north with the Braves in '60- we played the Reds on the way up- Jacksonville, Atlanta, Columbus SC and Louisville. I was still a non-roster player. Charlie Dressen left me in Louisville when the Braves went on to Milwaukee. The Colonels were still in Florida."

He went home for five days.

"The Braves called me up about 3 weeks later- I pitched in 3 games- 1/3, 2/3, and 10 innings. The 10 inning stint we won in the 18th. Dressen asked me about my record as I was signing my first big league contract."

Dressen asked Ken about his record, which was 1-0, with 11 innings pitched and a perfect 0.0 ERA.

"If I'd given up a run in the 10th of the 18 inning game, I'd have pitched 2 innings."

Ken ended up staying 62 days, and was then sent back to Louisville because, management felt, he was a relief pitcher and they needed a starter.

"That was in St. Louis. Nottebart started- gave up 7 runs in 7 innings. His only start. He got sent down and a relief pitcher called up- Chi Chi Olivo."

Ken stayed in Louisville.

"We had a good run. We won the pennant, playoffs and Junior World Series. Of the 12 wins in the playoffs and JWS, I had 8 saves and wins. Never pitched better. Bob Uecker was catching. We beat Toronto in the JWS- 4-2 I believe- Sparky Anderson played second for the Maple Leafs. That was 50 years ago."

Ken's older son, Kenny, will be 50 in October he says. He was born in Toronto when Ken got a job for the winter.

"I had spoken at a Rotary meeting while we were playing in Toronto and mentioned that I'd be looking for a job for the winter. Got one. Kenny was born about 3 1/2 weeks after we went north."

"1960 was a good year. I got to the majors (before expansion), we won the JWS (I was the MVP of the Colonels), Kenny was born- a healthy bonus baby, and we thought I was going to have a big league career."

Thanks for letting me know about your great connection to Louisville Ken!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jeff Long, 1963-1964 Cardinals, and 1964 White Sox

Kentuckian Jeff Long sent me a very nice note about his career, and Kentucky.

He says his, "best Kentucky memory is being signed by a fellow Kentuckian to a contract with the Cardinals."

Mo Mozzalli signed him.

"I loved all the players in my era- I met a lot of wonderful people."

Locally, he says, "I always hit well in Indianapolis and Columbus while at Atlanta in triple A."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wild Pitches

As the end of the year is near, I was thinking about how this year has gone for me relating to baseball.

I took a great road trip through the Carolinas. I visited the great Ty Cobb Museum in Georgia, the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, and went to a ton of ball parks.

I read a bunch of good books too. I thought now might be a great time to mention a couple of great books I read recently (and mentioned before) that I really liked.

I don't know about you, but I don't think I can ever read another baseball scandal type book. I doubt I will ever read another biography of today's top players either.

I love books about underdogs, the guys in the minors, and books about guys who had a baseball career, but went on to live productive lives in other areas.

I really enjoyed Dave Baldwin's "Snake Jazz." Dave wrote a great book about his days in baseball, and his life after ball. Dave is witty and just fun to read. I might almost say his writing could be compared to Bill Lee's, but Dave's is a bit more family friendly, and more focused.

Norm Bass III put together an amazing volume (the book is the size of an encyclopedia) about his dad, Norm Bass Jr. This is a great read on many levels. Top musicians, a legendary boxer, and other athletes make appearances in this book. "Color Him Father" is a vivid book about Norm Bass Jr. and his career, while also painting a great picture of race relations, and baseball and football during this time.

Nellie King wrote a GREAT book about his brief playing days in Pittsburgh and his radio career after that. He has very humble beginnings in the Hershey PA area. He talks about his wife, and his family, and he even talks about his health later in life. I was VERY sad to hear about the passing of Nellie just a couple of months ago. I am VERY happy that he wrote "Happiness is like a Cur Dog" before his passing. His blog is still maintained by his family, and a scholarship fund has been set up!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Frank Johnson- 1966-1971 San Francisco Giants

Frank sent me a brief note about Kentucky, and his memories.

"Kentucky is a good state. Memories you don't want to know."

Frank, with a response like that, I must admit that I DO want to know!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dave Barnett- Texas Rangers broadcaster

Dave Barnett, who just had a great year working with the Rangers, took a moment to send me a not after the season ended! Congrats to Dave and the rest of the Rangers organization, as they had about the best year in the team's history!

"This was a year worth waiting for, although I would not want to wait another 39 seasons."

I asked Dave about Cliff Lee and Josh Hamilton. I also asked him about favorite former players.

"Cliff Lee is up there among current players. He and Josh Hamilton do things I've never seen before. Among former players, broadcasting Nolan Ryan games was always a treat, as were Fergie Jenkins games."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Garry Jestadt- 1969 Expos

Garry Jestadt played for the 1969 Expos, the 71 Cubs, and he played for the Padres in 1971 and 1972.

He says that these days, he follows his local team, the Diamondbacks. Concerning Kentucky, he says that he never played in my state.

"I loved baseball growing up in Chicago. Loved the Cubs, and my hero was Ernie Banks. Great thrill to be drafted by the Cubs and eventually playing with Ernie in Chicago. The 1969-1971 Cubs were possibly the greatest Cubs teams ever. Even without a World Series victory they are a memorable group of players."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wild Pitches

Not a lot going on in baseball at the moment. I did notice a great note on Ryne Sandberg recently.

I know the rumors were he would be the next manager of the Cubs, but that rumor died. Interestingly, he was just named to manage the PHILLIES AAA team, the Iron Pigs.

Anyone who has followed Ryno knows that there is some irony to his finding his way to the Phillies. He came up in the Phillies system, and briefly played for them before being traded to Chicago in one of those all time questionable trades.

Sandberg is one of my childhood favorites and I am excited to see him with the Pigs.

More locally, the Florence Freedom have a new manager too. Fran Riordan, the winningest manager in Frontier League history is taking over.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Steve Jones 1969 Royals


Steve Jones spent some time with the 1967 White Sox, the 1968 Senators, and the very first Royals team in 1969!

Steve very generously sent a great note, and some photos from his playing days!

These days Steve lives in the Knoxville area, and he mentions the UT game against Kentucky. He also talks a lot about baseball.

"Baseball has always been a part of my life... My brother Gary was also a left handed pitcher with some time with the New York Yankees."

"I have 9 grandchildren and most play baseball or softball." He goes on, "I continue to coach youth teams and since retiring 4 years ago have helped with the high school team."
He says that he follows the Atlanta Braves and this year he followed the Reds who had a great year.

Steve and I share a favorite player right now, Cliff Lee!
"Today I enjoy watching Cliff Lee, the Texas left-hander, he has really pitched well."

"In 1967 I enjoyed pitching the first half of the year in Indianapolis before joining the Chicago White Sox. 'Cotton' Nash, a Kentucky All American basketball player was a teammate. About every time I pitched that season in Indianapolis, Cotton would hit a home run."

Continuing with his Kentucky connections, Steve shares a great Louisville story.
"Later in my career in the American Association I pitched several good games at the fairgrounds in Louisville."

I asked Steve about his time in Evansville Indiana.
"I don't remember a lot about Evansville... I did throw a seven inning no hitter against the Yankees Columbus Georgia team which got me promoted to Indianapolis."

He says that the winter after that, he played winter ball, and that helped him to improve and play in the majors the next 3 years.

He mentions that his White Sox team was just short of making it to the World Series in 1967 and he is proud of being a part of that 1969 first Royals team.

I asked Steve about his local AA team the Smokies.

"I too enjoy our AA Tennessee Smokies team located near Knoxville in Sevierville. Its a great stadium and the team is a Chicago Cubs farm team."

I really appreciated the note Steve sent. He talks a lot about baseball, the region, and his family. He talks about his wife Anne, and seeing the Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville.

Any southpaw with a connection to this great region, who loves baseball, his family, and Cliff Lee is A1 in my books!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pat House- 1967-1968 Astros



Pat House spent some time with the Houston Astros in the 60s. He took the time to send a great note about his playing days!

"It is always good to hear from baseball fans from all sections of our country."

"It was a good time to play in the pros. It was the love of the game and certainly not the money although we thought it was pretty good. There was a lot of competition getting to the next level."

The major league team that I keep track of the most is the Astros. I am still a good baseball fan but only get to see major league games on TV and an occasional trip to Seattle to see the Mariners which is 500 miles away and the closest major league team to Boise. I don't have a favorite minor league team although I do go to our local minor league team (Boise Hawks in the short season Class A Northwest League."

Pat says that he really doesn't have a favorite player, though he is very proud of three native Idahoans that did well in the majors- Vernon Law, Harmon Killebrew, and Larry Jackson.

I asked Pat about his playing time in one of my favorite sports towns, Indianapolis, and about playing anywhere else near Kentucky.

"My memory of Indianapolis is that of the ballpark and tornado warnings. I think the park had a brick wall outfield with ivy like Wrigley Field. I do remember that as a reliever in 1969 I lead the American Association in saves that year with the Indians."

"My closest area to Kentucky that I played ball in was probably old Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The freeway was very close to the left field fence. There was some pretty good history in that old park."

"I don't have many stand-out memories of the majors since my time there was limited. My debut in the majors was at Candlestick Park and my first hitter was Willie McCovey (he hit a weak grounder back to me). The other was a save I got by striking out Billy Williams of the Cubs in Wrigley Field for my first and only save."

After baseball, Pat went home to Idaho and owned an engineering firm for 37 years. His son owns it now. In 1967 he married a "Texas gal" he met in Austin in 1964. They are still married and have four sons!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wild Pitches

Not a lot going on right now.

I do know that the Asheville Tourists have a new look and logo that is pretty cool. I am a huge fan of the moon, and I am glad to see a team using it in their logo!

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp?sid=t573

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

George Kernek- 1965-1966 Cardinals

"My favorite Major League team is the Cardinals. I was in that organization for 7 years. I don't really have any favorite players, but I pull for the hard workers."

I asked George if he keeps up with baseball there days.

"I have not been to very many games in recent years, but keep up with it through the newspaper and TV."

I asked George if he ever played baseball in Kentucky.

he says he never played in Kentucky, but his wife is a horse trainer (Barrel Racing) and instructor. Because of his wife's work, he has been to Kentucky and has visited many of the farms, Chuchill Downs, and the Horse Park!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Postcard: The New Downtown St. Louis

Check out this great St. Louis postcard! I believe it is postmarked 1964. There is a great and too long description of the new downtown area of St. Louis for that time.

Check out the ballpark!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wild Pitches

I am sure all baseball fans know that Sparky Anderson died yesterday. This is very sad news, as Sparky was one of the greatest assets to the game. Many players, especially now, seem to try to get all they can out of the game. Sparky tried to give all he could to the game and the fans. More on Sparky later.

Congrats to the Giants this year! I was pulling for Texas, but both teams are worthy.

I know some talk radio shows were a bit hard on Cliff Lee (and I swear I will stop going on and on about how great Cliff Lee is after this post). He didn't do as well as he usually does, but he still did a lot better than most. Some run support would have helped too.

Yes, 1st was open, and a walk would have been a good idea (in hindsight, it was obviously the better choice to make) but he is Cliff Lee! He knows that, on most nights, he is getting the hitter. Unfortunately, this was the last game of the World Series. he is still my favorite.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Arte Moreno- Angels Owner!

The Angels are proving to be a great organization this year. I have received some very kind notes from several people associated with the team!

I was very excited to hear back from team owner, Arte Moreno. I personally admire Arte because he is a dedicated family man, a smart business person, and he is a Vietnam War vet.

I felt honored that he responded to a note from me.

He was kind enough to send a note, and he signed my stadium photo.

I asked him about his favorite player.

"In response to your questions, my favorite player was Roberto Clemente... He was a great man on and off the field."

Thanks for getting back to me Arte! Any reader of my blog knows that Clemente is my favorite too.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nick Hagen- River City Rascals Number 1/8th!

I mentioned Nick in a post several weeks ago.

The River City Rascals signed little person Nick Hagen in a tribute to Bill Veeck night. Veeck put little person Eddie Gaedel in a Browns game in 1951. Most baseball fans (and many non-baseball fans) know the story.

As far as I know, no little person has been used in professional baseball since Gaedel's appearance, until the Rascals signed Hagen!

I sent Nick a letter asking him about his place in baseball history!

Nick sent a great note back, mentioning that mine was the first letter of its kind he had received!

"I was very excited to sign with a Minor League" Nick says. He also mentions that he did not know anything about Eddie Gaedel, being only 16.

He does say that his Godmother seemed to know, and she called all of her friends about his signing!

Nick tells me about going to his first baseball game when he was 4. He won tickets from a summer reading program through the library. He remembers it well. a gentleman in a cart helped him and his family find the ticket booth, and get to their seats! He even stopped to get Nick a bat bag, some baseball cards, and a team poster! He had a very exciting time, though he remembers his seats being in the nosebleed section.

Nick talks about August 19th of this year, the day he was added to the Rascals roster.. He says it was a big day, starting around 5AM and lasting until 11:30 that night! He did practice hitting that day, and he notes that he was able to hit some balls.

"I will never forget that day."

Nick talks at length about how great the Rascals are and how nice the team was to him! We was also excited, as the Rascals won the championship!

Nick mentions that he loves the Cardinals, the Red Sox, and his favorite team is the River City Rascals!

Nick, thanks for the great note!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wild Pitches

Yes, I know, Cliff Lee did not have his best night. That was his first off season night ever in the post season.

Man, the Giants are doing great right now and looking good.

I was watching Freddy Sanchez the other night. I saw him play a lot in Pittsburgh. I started thinking about the Pirates. Just a few years ago, they had Sanchez, Jason Bay, Jack Wilson, and some a couple of promising pitchers, not to mention some real prospects coming up.

What happened? Why couldn't they do better? You can speculate all day on this one.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Roy Gleason 1963 Dodgers

Roy Gleason spent about 8 years in the Dodgers system, and even made it to the show in 1963! Roy let me know some info about his baseball and his military career.

"Sorry, but I never played any pro-ball in Kentucky, so I don't have any stories. I did have a contract with Louisville Slugger and went to Fort Mitchell in 2005 for a reunion with my 'Vietnam Brothers.' It is a beautiful state and the people were very friendly."

Thanks for the note Roy, and thanks for your service! My dad is also a Vietnam vet, and I love and admire all of the great, brave Americans who have served!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Joe Castiglione- Red Sox Broadcaster

Joe has been calling games for the Sox for 25 years! Before that, he did some work with the Brewers and the Indians.

I asked him about his favorite players, and his time in Cleveland.

"I loved my time in Cleveland even though my teams never won pennants."

He mentions that his other favorite towns are NY, St. Pete, Baltimore and Seattle.

Concerning his favorite players, Joe mentions Pedro Martinez and Mike Lowell.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wild Pitches

Congrats to former Tribe manager Eric Wedge! Looks like he is with the Mariners now! I bumped in to him a couple of times in Cleveland, and thought he was a very nice guy, and I liked his style too. I am so glad he is working again. I didn't feel like he got a fair shot at continuing with the Indians. I was hoping he might end up with the Pirates, but the Mariners should be a nice fit too.

How about the way my boy Cliff Lee handled the Yankees? I enjoyed watching that. Cliff has had a ton of success against New York.

One last thing. Did you watch the Giants/Phillies game last night??? Seeing Phil and Bobby from the Grateful Dead was a true treat! I had the opportunity to see the last few Grateful Dead shows in Louisville and I miss them! I have been to several Rat Dog shows too. It was really nice to see those guys!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ernie Fazzio- 1962-1963 Houston, 1966 KC Athletics


"I hit my first major league home run off Warren Spahn- So did Willie Mays- I will never forget."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jay Hankins 1961 and 1963 Kansas City A's

Jay responded to some questions for this site recently!

He let me know that his son is scouting for the Tigers at the moment.

He says that his favorite teams are St. Louis, Detroit, the Yankees, and Minnesota.

He played for teams near Kentucky, including Nashville, Chattanooga, and Memphis!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Derrell Griffith- 1963-1966 Dodgers

"Sorry no stories about the state of Kentucky- Baseball has changed so much, I haven't kept up with it in the last 20 years or so."

I understand Derrell. Thanks for getting back to me!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Frank Funk 1960-1962 Indians, 1963 Braves


Frank let me know about his playing time in Kentucky as a pro.
"My very first year in pro ball was spent in Mayfield, Ky. The league was called the Kitty League; at the time, one of the oldest pro leagues in baseball. That was in 1954."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wild Pitches

I know a lot of people get excited about the post season. I personally feel more joy when I read about pitchers and catchers reporting to Arizona and Florida in February. To me, that is the best!

Plus, since I follow the lower levels of baseball much more closely than the upper levels, I kind of feel like my season is over.

Also, my team is out (AND they were beaten mercilessly out of the post season). Now, I find myself in weird situations concerning who I should cheer for. I am in those situations during the entire season, the post season is nothing new.

For example- the Rays and the Rangers. I like both teams but the Rays are such great underdogs. How can you not love what they have done? How can you not love Joe Maddon? He is so cool.

But I like the Rangers too. Not as much as the Rays, but I like them. They have Cliff Lee! Cliff is my guy and I always want him to win. I simply cannot watch the Rays vs. Rangers with Cliff pitching. I get confused and conflicted.

I am proud of the Reds. Even though they get beat hard by the Phillies, they had a good season.

All things considered, right now I am more excited about February.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bill Hepler 1966 New York Mets

Bill Hepler went 3-3 with the Mets in 1966. He took the time to send me a note recently about his playing days.

"I enjoyed playing in Memphis for the Blues"

He mentions that his time in Memphis was right after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

"I loved playing in the Major Leagues and against such greats as Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Pete Rose and with Nolan Ryan."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dave Sims- Mariners announcer

Dave Sims has his hand in call NFL, NCAA and MLB games!

I DID mention to Dave that I am a UK basketball fan, and, even though he has a very close association with Duke, he still answered some questions for me!

He says that his current favorite players include Adam Moore, Jason Vargas, and Josh Wilson. His favorite former players include Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Sweeney.

He mentions Chicago as his favorite sports town.

"Here's to a winning 2011 for the M's" he adds.

Thanks Dave!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Wild Pitches

I heard a comedian on Bob and Tom this morning say that cheering for the Yankees is like going to a casino and cheering for the house to win.

Man, have you ever been watching a game, and your team is getting beat up like a bongo drum, and you just can't watch it anymore? I love cool baseball accomplishments and records. I just hate to see my team take a humiliating loss. What happened Reds?

Both of my Ohio teams have taken some beatings this year.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Elmore Leonard- Author and Detroit Tigers fan!!

Author Elmore Leonard is a very interesting character himself AND he has a strong connection to baseball and to Kentucky! The FX series "Justified" is based on a character from Leonard's writings- and it is set in Kentucky!

I sent Mr. Leonard a short note recently asking him about his home town team, the Tigers and about the very exciting series set in the best state ever!

Elmore took the time to send me a great note answering my questions!

"I think the actor playing Raylan is perfect; he delivers his lines the way I hear them when I'm writing his dialog. The pilot was from a long short story, FIRE IN THE HOLE, but he's in two of my books, PRONTO and RIDING THE RAP.
I'm not writing scripts, but a three-part story where Raylan will have three different situations to face that will add up to a book. But I'm fairly sure they'll use some of my situations on JUSTIFIED.
I've only seen the Tigers at Comerica twice this year. I watch them on the TV all the time.
I'm waiting to hear when the new shows will come on."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Amaury Pi-Gonzalez- A's Spanish language Broadcaster

Amaury sent a VERY nice letter about his time in baseball!

He mentions that he is in his 33rd season doing Major League Baseball broadcasts in the Spanish language! He has also done regular broadcasts for Fox Sports during the Caribbean World Series of Baseball from Latin America.

Amaury was recently inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame! He mentions that his friend and Voice of the Giants, Jon Miller, is being inducted wit him too!

www.bayarearadio.org/hof/ has more info on this event.

"I am back with the A's, where I got my start back in 1977 with the controversial and colorful Charlie O. Finley."

Amaury mentions that he is the only Spanish broadcaster to work for four different teams as their Spanish play by play guy. He has worked for the A's, Giants, Mariners, and Angels.

He tells me a very funny story about when he first got his start in 1977. He wrote to then A's owner, Charlie O. Finley asking him for permission/rights to broadcast in Spanish Charlie's response was, "Yes Amaury you can broadcast in Mexican."

Obviously, Amaury notes, Mexican is not a language, it is a nationality.

"I have been watching baseball since I was a 5 year old kid in Cuba, where I was born, but left after Castro declared the government there a communist country and freedoms were taken away."

Check out Amaury's website:
amaurypigonzalez.com

Thank you so much for your note Amaury. There is something so real, so "baseball" about a guy from Cuba approaching the A's and asking about broadcasting the games in Spanish. You love the game and you have brought it to a larger audience. You are still a great ambassador for the sport, taking the time to write a blogger like me such a nice note!

Your career is begging for a book to tell your story!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Marty McLeary- Nashville Sounds

As the baseball season winds down, I thought now would be a good time to mention some of the players that I like to follow.

I did see the Nashville Sounds play towards the end of the season. Their starting pitcher was Marty McLeary.

Marty is one of those guys that has been up and down the system. He had some impressive moments with one of my favorite teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates in 06 and 07. He also spent a short amount of time making the show with the Padres.

He has dotted the map with all of the significant minor league teams, showing stuff worthy of a try out but not hanging around too long.

He is the kind of player that is fun to watch and support. You want him to make it and to stick.

Plus, he is a real life character mentioned in one of my all time favorite books about Max McLeary, the Frontier League umpire with a glass eye.

I am still hoping that Marty makes it. Sure, he doesn't have the best ERA, but I like his attitude, and his ability to hold on. I think he is a cool player out of a small Ohio town. I'm still in his corner.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wild Pitches

How about the Reds? Did you see Jay Bruce the other night? WOW!

Are you watching the Ken Burns Baseball programs? I was flipping between the Reds and the documentary the other night. Thank goodness for DVR though, that helped!

I heard on Bob and Tom this morning that 5 fans called to report the Reds for smoking in their clubhouse! After clinching the division, during their celebration, some of the players enjoyed cigars.

Personally, I am totally against smoking. I will avoid an establishment that allows it, BUT- even I could make an exception for this!

One more item this week. I heard that Indians legend Bob Feller went to the hospital recently and is getting a pacemaker. I spent a good chunk of time in Cleveland, I love the Tribe ,and I love Bob. Every young baseball fan needs to read up on him. The guy is a hero. I know some have bashed him for his outspokenness about certain topics, but the man has more than earned his right to say whatever he wants. He paused his career with the Indians to serve his country in WWII. He also did what he could do to help break the color barrier in baseball. Rapid Robert defines integrity.

Good luck to Mr. Feller. He is tough as nails though, so I am sure all is going to be OK with him!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reds Mascots





The Reds are doing great this year!! Oh, and I love mascots!

Monday, September 27, 2010

John Gordon- Twins broadcaster

John Gordon who started out calling games for the Spartanburg Phillies in 1965 sent a great note recently. He has been with the Twins since 1987 and has spent time with the Yankees and with a favorite of mine, the Clippers!

John answered some questions for me. He says his favorite players were the great Kirby Puckett, and Carl Willis.

A favorite sports town in Kansas City.

I also asked about Spartanburg and he said, "I have fond memories of Spartanburg (I met my wife there). No more professional baseball there."

Thanks John! I became a fan of Carl Willis during our time in Cleveland, as he worked with CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, and Fausto Carmona. Great guy! Oh, and check out some of my recent entries here. KC is quickly becoming a favorite town of mine too!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wild Pitches

Yeah, this is the point in the year when I find myself in a personal slump. The minor league season is over. What do I do now? Seriously, what do I do now?

I will try to attend some of the independent league basketball games that will be going on around the state of Kentucky in a couple of months but I will miss baseball!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Review: Cobb by Al Stump

I think I have read enough books on Ty Cobb now!

After reading a handful of books on the legend, I think I have concluded that he is the most fascinating athlete in the history of ever!

I have to say, there is a real difference in the way Cobb is presented in this book compared to the Ty Cobb in other books.

Author Al Stump does mention that Cobb helped support some old timer fellow baseball players who needed some financial help. He does give credit for the medical center and scholarship he set up.

Otherwise, he paints a villainous picture of Cobb.

I guess, after my personal visit to Royston Georgia and the Ty Cobb Museum, I want to like the guy. I want to believe that he was a great player, and a good guy.

I wasn't around during Cobb's time, and I did not know him. Al Stump did.

I guess, if you are going to read up on Ty Cobb, this book and some of the others would be needed.

Stories about his love and hate with teammates is covered thoroughly here. Also, Cobb is linked to gambling, even admitting that he was OK (under certain conditions) with throwing a game if needed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Herschel Greer Stadium- Nashville, TN.






Here are some pictures I took at a recent trip to Greer Stadium in Nashville.

I have read about the park feeling outdated and all. Well... that is accurate. The park is outdated, which is a great reason to get down and experience the Sounds at Herschel Greer Stadium before they move on.

The guitar scoreboard is amazing and one of a kind. I do love a nice urban skyline, but the guitar just looks great.
On our way to the park, we looked to our right and saw the back of the scoreboard right next to us! Driving to an unfamiliar park and recognizing a part of it- knowing you are close is a great feeling.

Then again, it would be cool to have that Nashville skyline peaking over the outfield wall!

Surely in the near future, the Sounds will be playing in a more modern park. Indianapolis, Louisville, and Memphis come to mind when I think about great parks in downtown areas. Both the city and the team benefit from the relationship. I am certain Nashville will do the same at some point, and it will be exciting.
Still, cool older parks, a little bit out of the main city areas are becoming harder to find. Getting to and parking at Greer is no problem. The place is filled with friendly staff that seem to enjoy their job.
Herschel Greer Stadium is still nice, attractive and full of baseball life, though it is one of a dying species of parks.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kris Atteberry- Twins Broadcaster

Kris Atteberry has been with the Twins since 2007. Before that he called games for the independent St. Paul Saints baseball team.

Kris sent me a note recently about his work and his career.

He says that he feels blessed with a great group of guys, mentioning Cuddyer, Kebel, and Redmond.

I asked about his favorite players growing up.

"Always loved Jim Abbott, George Brett, and I loved the Giants and Will Clark as a kid.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wild Pitches

Its funny, sometimes you get a situation in baseball where a conflict happens, and there is really no right or wrong, but still, you have 2 conflicting sides.

I love Joe Maddon. The guy defines cool. Plus, he is classy.

There was the situation this week where he got tossed for arguing about a Jeter at bat.

A ball looked to hit Jeter (later, it was shown that the ball actually did not hit Jeter, but he played it off like it did). The ump gave Jeter the base. Maddon argued that jeter was not hit, and Maddon was ejected.

Its just one of those odd situations. I am not a fan of cheating, thought Jeter really did not cheat. He did what he could to get on base. He did what he should have done.

Maddon did too.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Corky Withrow- Kentucky Explorer Magazine, Sept. 2010

I have mentioned "Kentucky Explorer" magazine before and it once again needs a mention.

There is a nice note about Corky Withrow, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals. The article deals more with his Central City basketball career, but still, a nice Kentucky/baseball related article.

Corky is living in Owensboro now!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MMA Fighting at Applebee's Park in Lexington

Hey, if you are near Lexington, you might want to go to Applebee's Park tomorrow night (September 16). They are again hosting an MMA event. Looks like the action starts at 7!

http://lexington.legends.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t495

A Strong Right Arm- The Story of Peanut Johnson


I picked this book up at our recent visit to the Negro League Baseball Museum.
That cool artwork on the cover is worth the $6 price tag alone.
The story is a very easy read, I think the book is written for grade school or middle school readers (a teacher actually wrote it, and she did a great job). But it is still the story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, one of the few female players ever to play pro. She played with the Indianapolis Clowns, and was one of 3 women to play in the Negro leagues.
It is great that that there are so many of the players from these leagues still with us. I have said it before- EVERY pro team needs to have a Negro Leagues tribute night at least once a year.
I really like this book about Mamie making it to the pro level. I felt a bit disappointment about the way she and a friend were treated when they tried out for the All American Girls professional Baseball League.
Still, she made it, and she holds a very unique place in the baseball history books.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kansas City Royals



After visiting St. Louis and the Cardinals, we drove about another 5 hours and visited the Kansas City area. I enjoyed my time in this entire area very much! In addition to having a great baseball tradition in the area, Kansas City has a lot of other things going on for it.

Kansas City is simply a great area. I thought it was easy getting around, pretty calm and just an easy area to deal with. We loved the hallmark visitor center, and just driving around the area. They have a great mall area, and lots of good food!


We had tickets to catch the Royals doing battle with the Tigers.


I have heard others say that the Royals play in a very unique venue. Kauffman Sadium is truly unique.


Sitting right next to the KC Chief's Arrowhead Stadium (the two making up the Truman Sports Complex) Kauffman Stadium is a sight. It is right off of the interstate.


Having the venue pretty much surrounded by parking spaces and huge parking lots does take away from the game day experience in my books. Unlike our other game in St. Louis, you can't get a room walking distance from the game and just go there. You have to deal with traffic and parking.


I did see a lot of tailgating going on. There were still many people showing up and having a good pre game experience.

I guess the pregame experience comes down to a personal choice. I like walking past local shops and other places on my way to a game. Others enjoy the hanging out by your vehicle for hours before the game.

At first I wanted to compare Kauffman to PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Not because of appearance or anything, but because it is casual, and has a very relaxed vibe. AND it is easy to get good tickets at a very good price.

I did not see ushers hassling people, and the crowd was good. The experience was comparable to a AAA game.

I mean that in a good way. Sometimes major league parks are too big and chaotic. Most AAA parks are eventful and exciting, bit calm enough that you can relax.

The fountains are as spectacular as I had heard, and the club has done a great job with their Hall of Fame. EVERY team (major and minor) needs a Hall of Fame at their park!

To be honest, I thought I would have a good time in Kansas City, and seeing the Royals, but I was shocked at how nice the area, and the team is.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

J.R. Towles- Astros and Lexington Legends









On September 2nd, the Lexington legends inducted JR Towles into their Hall of Fame.

This was very cool because JR has spent a good amount of time playing with the Astros at the highest level.

Those of us that have followed the Legends for some time, remember seeing him at games and chatting with him.

I remember him coming off as a humble, scrappy player who packed a punch. I remember thinking that he had "it." Each year you look for those players that pack a punch, and seem motivated to make it. JR was at the top of my list of players likely to get to the show.

The Legends had a night devoted to him. He came out and made a nice short speech. I thought it was very cool that his wife got to throw out a first pitch, with JR again behind the Lexington home plate to catch it.

It was very cool of JR to make it back to Lexington for the night. All Legends fans can claim JR as one of our own!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wild Pitches

If you happen to be in the Jackson, Tennessee area this weekend, go to a Diamond Jaxx game!!! They are letting people in for FREE to Saturdays playoff game! I really wish I could be there.

I think they are in a really cool area and I like their park.

Check out their web site too, they are going through a name change next year. Next year they will be known as the Jackson Generals!

http://westtenn.diamondjaxx.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t104

Well, the minor league season is pretty much over. Don't expect another blog entry from me until April of 2011!

Just kidding! I would like to reassure all three of my followers that I still plan to post something every 2-3 days on average. Not sure what I will be posting, but I will put something up.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Droid panoramic photo- Lexington Legends


I mentioned that my buddy Rick just got a new Droid phone. I love cameras and I love taking pictures- especially at a game.

I have had a good time splicing photos together and making panoramic pictures.

Rick took this photo the other night using his Droid. The gadget directs you to move your camera to a certain point, then it takes the photos- 6 in a row back to back. It takes about a minute to take the series of 6 pictures and then the Droid puts them all together, almost perfectly.

Click on the photo he took the other night at Applebee's Park in Lexington. I reduced its size to 1/4th. Other than that, it is totally unedited. You might notice a few small flaws, but I am very happy with the results.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Al Pawlowski- Cleveland Indians Broadcaster

Al Pawlowski who does some play-by-play work for the Cleveland Indians sent a nice note recently.

I mentioned that I followed the Tribe for a very long period of time, after spending a decade in the area.

"I grew up following the Tribe like you."

Al has done a lot of other work for the Indians, including acting as their park host/announcer from 1999-2006 and worked broadcasting for other pro and college sports teams in the area.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eric Collins- Dodgers Broadcaster

Eric Collins, who is currently doing some great broadcast work for the Dodgers and may be better known for his work with just about every major sports team in Chicago, sent a nice note recently.

"I'm getting a chance to live out a dream watching the greatest organization in pro sports play on a nightly basis."

"I hope you're enjoying the broadcasts as much as I enjoy bringing them to you!"

Thanks Eric!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wild Pitches

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/jeff_pearlman/09/01/cricket.scandal.mlb.doping/index.html

Check out the above article about the recent cricket scandal. Jeff Pearlman makes a great point about maintaining a sports integrity. Thanks Jeff!

Most of the local teams are finishing up their home games. In fact, I will probably attend my last minor league game of the season within the next few days. What now?

I was at the Lexington Legends game last night and had a lot of fun. There was a "flash mob" that was very entertaining. It started out with 2 couples jumping up on each dugout and doing a dance, them others joined in. Before it was over, both dugouts had a bunch of dancers, and there were some in the isles. It was pretty cool, and appreciated by the fans. We did snap a couple of photos that I might get up later. I would like to get more info on this, as it looked cool, it was enjoyable, and rehearsing for something like that is a great way for kids to spend their time! Kind of random, like a prank, but not destructive... and artsy! Very cool. Maybe one of the coolest things I have watched at a game recently (other than the action on the field)!

My buddy Rick has one of those new Droid phones. Generally, I am pretty resistant to technology. This thing is too cool. The Droid has a feature that just might sell me on it. Generally, I like phones for making phone calls, and cameras for taking pictures. This gadget, however, has a GREAT panoramic feature. It takes 6 photos in a row, and then pretty much stitches them all together instantly. I love taking panoramic photos at ball parks. Stitching can be a hassle though. This phone pretty much takes care of it all. I will get some examples up soon. I know there is the Sony camera that Taylor Swift is endorsing (and I always get my expensive gear based on celebrity endorsements) but I really like this Droid. Oh, and you can take regular pictures, use the internet, and make phone calls with it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Crosley Field Book


This book has been out for several years, but I just very recently picked up my copy.

Its funny, this park was finished with baseball way before I came along. An older friend noticed me reading the book, and he mentioned that he had been to some games there as a kid. He was very excited to flip through the book.

There are a lot of pictures and history in this one. The players had to walk through the crowd to get to the diamond. Traffic was a huge issue in the area. A young Pete Rose used to try to bum tickets years before he would play at the park.

I thought this book would be a very quick read, but it was not. You read about the park and the players, then you gaze at the photos for some time, thinking about the place.

The authors do a great job of discussing the parks very early history, its evolution, upgrades, etc. You read about the park's early days, its significant moments, and finally, there is info about what is in the area now where the park once stood.

One of the saddest pictures I have ever seen relating to baseball is in this book. There is a photo of the park being used to as a scrap yard.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rich Herrera- Tampa Bay Rays Director of Radio Operations

Rich Herrera is one of those few radio guys that has done everything, and he has done it for several teams in several sports! In baseball he has worked for the Giants, the A's and now the Rays. He worked for the Fox Sports Radio Network hosting his own show!

Rich sent me a very kind note answering some questions.

"It is hard to pick one favorite player."

He says that he loved working in San Francisco as it is a great sports town but he is really enjoying his current situation in the Tampa Bay area!

Rich asks me if I am a UK Wildcats fan! Thanks for asking Rich, and yes I am!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wild Pitches

The weather is better in my area, and I am still trying to squeeze in a few more games before the season is over!

Just a couple of random thoughts/opinions......

I hate to see Lou Piniella step out, but I understand his need to leave. I think he will always be around baseball in some way.

I am still thinking about seeing the San Diego Chicken in Indianapolis! In fact, here is a link to the Chicken's page, and a blog post he had about how much he enjoys performing at Victory Field in that town. I especially like what he has to say about naming rights, and the actual name, "Victory Field"! Take a moment to read his post:

http://www.famouschicken.com/victoryfield.html

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

San Diego Chicken in Indianapolis


Indianapolis is one of my all time favorite places to go outside of the great state of Kentucky. I am always looking for an excuse to go there.

Well, I had a great excuse to go there a little while ago- The San Diego Chicken was making an appearance!

I have watched a lot of the current minor league characters make the rounds. I love them all. And, as I have mentioned before, I love mascots. Unfortunately, the Chicken was about the only one I had not been able to catch.

There is something so exciting about the Famous Chicken. He has been around since 1974 and he is full of integrity. Ted Giannoulas has always been the San Diego Chicken, even going to court over it.

I don't think anyone would have held it against him if, at some point, he decided to pass down the costume. Really he could have franchised the gimmick at some point, but he has not. He is the Chicken, and his relentless touring during baseball season gives him more cred than just about anyone in the sports world that I can think of.

He gives 100% too. Items at his merchandise table at the game were more than affordable. Hand signed photos were sold for $2. Plus, he always sticks around after the game to sign autographs for everyone.

Seeing the Chicken at Victory Field is ideal. In my opinion, downtown Indianapolis is very easy to drive through, parking is never much of a problem, and there is plenty to do within a short walk. Plus, the Indianapolis Indians have a great staff.

The San Diego Chicken did not come out until at least the 3rd inning, but after he came out, he was visible for most of the game, coaching 1st base at one point, and taunting the visiting team. He held up posters of girls in bikinis to distract the pitcher. He actually got into a play fight with the other team twice, once coming out to Rocky theme music, and wearing boxing gloves.

My favorite moments involved the Chicken posing for photos with small children, putting his beak over the tops of their heads. Bringing out the "little chicks" and taunting the umpire was great too. Oh, and he had a dance off with the Indians mascot, Rowdy.

The combination of Indianapolis Indians baseball, the great town of Indianapolis, and the Famous San Diego Chicken made for a great night at a ball game. I really hope that the San Diego Chicken continues doing what he does, as it is classic and totally unforgettable.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Manuel Rivera Strikes out 4 in 1 inning- Lexington


I don't know if anyone noticed this, but there was a 4 strike out half inning during the Lexington Legends game against the Greenville Drive on Friday night.

Lexington's Jiovanni Mier struck out swinging. A wild pitch went past the catcher, and Mier ran safely to 1st. Interestingly, Jiovanni would end up scoring after stealing second. He looked to be picked off easily in a steal attempt to third. Another off throw pitch convinced Mier to go on home, and he scored.

Jacob Goebbert, Ben Heath, and Jonathan Meyer also struck out in the inning. Heath's strike out was similar to Mier's, but the catcher threw him out at first.

It was fun watching this 4 strike out inning. Credit Drive pitcher Manuel Rivera with 4Ks in the inning! Here are some photos I took.

St. Louis Cardinals

When I was much younger, I drove through St. Louis with some friends a couple of times. The place seemed so big and intimidating.
Maybe its that I am older, or maybe living in a big city like Cleveland for a decade has changed my perspective. Or, maybe it was the fact that any city bigger than Evansville Indiana seemed huge to me back then.

This time around, however, the place seemed just right.

We drove in to town early on a Friday and St. Louis appeared just right to me. You see the Arch from a ways off. You are pulled to it. We looked around feeling the need to park, and go right to it.

We resisted that initial urge, and went to our hotel. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that our hotel was situated right between the Arch and the Busch Stadium. We parked at our hotel, and walked to the points we wanted to see.

The Arch is just amazing. We were able to spend some quality time here while in town. We took the egg shaped pod to the top and looked out the windows. There was a bit of a line, and you are in a closed in space, but this is with out a doubt a "must do" at some point in a lifetime.

We walked down to the park and had a meal at Joe Buck's (look for a review elsewhere on this blog). We had a nice time there, and continued to walk around town before the start of our game.

St. Louis has a very unique vibe going on before games. We passed a number of bars and nice restaurants that felt very open. For blocks, you could see casual fans hanging out and enjoying themselves.
As a side note, we heard more than one bar band that was in tune. Bar bands in other areas, please take note! Singing, and playing in tune is important!

You can really have a very complete game day experience here near the stadium. There is a very nice fan experience going on all around.

There was a coffee shop inside of the Hilton near the park and we stopped for coffee. Inside of the hotel, a piano player played "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and outside a very competent bar band played. Street vendors sold peanuts and red bird hats.

St. Louis knows something that many other baseball areas have not figured out. MANY cities with major league teams need to take note. Having your ballpark in an easy to access downtown area with plenty of appropriate businesses is good for everyone.

The crowd was festive but pleasant. I did not notice any panhandling, or graffiti. Fans greeted and laughed with each other. You could feel safe walking with your children in this area before game time.
Busch Stadium is all that too. The staff was friendly and helpful not not intrusive.

The Cardinals had a very nice, well stocked and well managed gift shop. I noticed that the cashier made a point to address me as Mr. AND she pronounced my uncommon last name correctly. Retail people remember that. That earns an A+.

I love skylines at parks. Like the Pirates, the Cardinals have a great one, at least from where we were setting.

Another cool thing about the Cardinals. They will do a "happy birthday" type message on their side scoreboards for FREE. They loop them too during an inning, so, if you miss it the first time, get your camera ready. You'll probably have a couple more opportunities to get a picture of the message.

We had a really nice time in St. Louis and I am looking forward to getting back again soon. Especially if you are in Western Kentucky this is a nice, 3 day weekend trip.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wild Pitches

Hey, check out this link about Luke Holko Day hosted by the Scrappers. I have mentioned Luke here before. He was accidentally hit by a foul ball at a Mahoning Valley Scrappers game a year ago. It brings me a lot of joy to read that he is doing better. Also, the Scrappers officially added the 5 year old to their roster for a game recently!

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100818&content_id=13625012&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp

In the Frontier League, the River City Rascals signed little person Nick Hagan in a Bill Veeck tribute event.

http://frontierleague.com/cgi-bin/dist/news.cgi?id=1282245760

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Review: Gary Carter























When I was a very young kid, the Mets were my team. Gary Carter was my favorite player.

I always thought he was positive and honest. he was always smiling, and just seemed to have a friendly, great attitude.

He is still one of my all time favorites. As I have gotten older, I have found other players that I admire for the same, or for other reasons, but many of my favorite moments in baseball that I witnessed first hand (on TV) involve Carter.

Interestingly, there are a few books out there on "The Kid."

I read "The Gamer" some time ago, and I recently picked up "A Dream Season" and had it finished in a couple of days.

In my mind, Gary will always be a member of the Mets. I do think it is cool that he is the only guy in Cooperstown wearing an Expos hat, though that will not be the case much longer.

I did not know a lot about Carter's time with the Dodger's and his rough relationship with Lasorda until I read The Gamer. I also did not know much about his time with the Giants.

Both books cover some of the same ground, most obviously the 86 World Series.

The Dream Season book was published in 1987, so the 86 season was still fresh in the minds of Carter and all of the Mets fans.

Both are fun reads, especially if you were a fan of baseball in the 1980s.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kansas City T-Bones


Kansas City Missouri has the Royals. Kansas City Kansas has the T-Bones.
We timed out our Missouri/Kansas trip to make sure we could see the Cardinals, the Royals and the indy league T-Bones.
I can't say enough about how much the Kansas City area has going on. Missouri AND Kansas. This park really added to our whole experience in this area.
The T-Bones on field announcer was interviewing kids from several local little league teams on the field as they paraded before the game. Most of the kids gave her generic yes or no answers, or told her their position.
One kid decided to take a moment to describe his team's accomplishments, and he went into excessive detail about how good they were. It was pretty funny.
It was mascot day when we went. I love mascots.
I also love the fact that there are so many minor league teams getting good local fan support. I especially love seeing the independent teams drawing good support. These guys had a good crowd.
The park is very unique as it is used by other teams, and for other sports.
The Park is in the Village West area, and it features one of the nicest lifestyle centers (I hate that word, by the way) that I have seen. It seemed to go on forever. Oh, and we found some good BBQ close by. This is the kind of town I could move to if I ever had to move.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kentucky Explorer Magazine

A friend at work has got me hooked on Kentucky Explorer Magazine! just check out the cool cover of this issue! There is a great article about some of the amateur baseball teams in the area during the 19302-1950s. There are some great reader submitted photos!

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite magazines, packed full of Kentucky history!

http://www.kentuckyexplorer.com/

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wild Pitches

I love a good scuffle at a game. I have been to hundreds of minor league games, and I think I have watched two almost occur. Both stopped as each team came close to each other. I think all of the players during that SAL contest realized a fine was not worth it.

Did you see that Reds/Cardinals confrontation earlier this week? Lots of players and coaches involved, but very little happened. I kept thinking about those guys with seats right behind home plate. If the netting had not been there, they would have had players in their lap!

I really hate the thought of the baseball season winding down, but it is. I did notice that one of my favorites, the Legends, have some games in early September, thank goodness!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Jared Bolden- Bakersfield Blaze


Jared Bolden has been playing in the Rangers system since 08. He was kind enough to sign a picture of him I took while he was with Hickory, and he answered some questions!

"My favorite ballpark that I've played in so far was probably in Greenville. Their field looks just like Fenway."

He says that his favorite team is probably the Atlanta Braves.

He also says that his time at Hickory was fun. It was a long season, and he learned a lot. He has been promoted to Bakersfield!