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

Thursday, July 14, 2011

West Virginia Power- Charleston WV

There is something really cool about this area of West Virginia. I can't put my finger on it exactly.

And, to be honest, I wasn't really impressed the first time I visited the Charleston and Huntington area. I have heard others express that the area is uneventful.

Well, both Huntington and Charleston have nice malls, cool bookstores, and cool places to eat (I have mentioned Hillbilly Hot Dogs and Billy Bob's Pizza on my other blogs). Plus, for those fascinated with strange events, the area has the Mothman and the Flatwoods Monster!

AND, there is baseball. The Power play at Appalachian Power Park which is barely half a decade old, but it feels like a more mature baseball venue.

The old buildings and the brick do a lot for the place. it is not as fancy as some other parks that have gone up in the last 5-10 years, but that is nice in my books. The area and the park have a very retro feel.

I love this organization and area for many reasons. I have had great experiences with the friendly staff, and the friendly locals. As we went up to buy our tickets, a guy with a group of young kids asked us if we were about to purchase tickets. I told him we were, and he gave us an extra he had!

We thought this was very kind! I have had that happen before in Harrisburg. I have also bought cheap tickets from season ticket holders in different cities for a few bucks or so. Anyway, I just really thought it was nice that someone just gave us a ticket.

The night we were there, the Power were wearing the very retro Charleston Charlies jerseys. I really thought this was great, and it added to the over all throw back feel.

Oh, and the Power have a new mascot since my last visit (and the team was in desperate need of a new one). Chuck is their new giant furry mascot and he is great! I have mentioned before that- in my opinion- the more muppet like the better. Chuck is perfect.

They also had a VERY Erie Seawolves like mascot. In fact, I thought that the Seawolves mascot was at the game for some strange reason. Anyway, he was great too, and I think he is a radio station related mascot involved with the team.

I love the teams small but stocked gift shop. They have $10 pull over jerseys which was nice.

You can walk all the way around the field, and feel very comfortable here. I saw some guys in the bleacher seats who had brought in a radio to listen to the game. There are some great fans in Charleston.

I can't stress enough how much I like this area. Like I said, there is a mall, and a ballpark- two huge pluses. But, I didn't see as many cell phones or texters. The fans were setting and enjoying the game. it is a relaxed area. This is the kind of place where you can go, and truly trick yourself in to thinking you are watching a AAA game in the late 70s.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Florence Freedom

There is a casual party like atmosphere at a Florence Freedom game. The crowds and the security are, in my opinion, a bit more cool than at some of the other parks. The Freedom have a bit more of a sense of humor, and the team plays more small ball than most- making for a very enjoyable evening at the park.

I love the restroom artwork that they display. Check out the Bigfoot painting! TOTALLY COOL!

I love the eyeball race. It is fun..... and creepy. When I am around giant eyeballs, I feel like I am being watched by giants in a Twilight Zone episode.

The Freedom do a better job than most with their on field staff and games. There are some new faces. Check out the guy in the pink shirt. he did a great job of getting the crowd involved. I must admit that I miss the girl they have had the last couple of years. Back flips are awesome.

The Freedom have some of the best mascots too (and I LOVE mascots). Some of their mascots area bit odd (I have no idea what the green guy is- and Sponge Bob is around a lot for some reason too).

Anyway, I am glad the the Florence Freedom are at it again this year!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Juan Valdes

There are many players working their way up through the minor leagues. Thousands.

That is one of the cool things about the minors. Each year, there are some new guys hoping to make it.

I now follow the Kentucky minor league teams closely, and a few others. I like to keep tabs on the Lexington Legends, Indianapolis Indians, and the West Virginia Power.

I did spend a chunk of time in the Cleveland area and became very familiar with their major league team, and pretty much their entire minor league system.

At one time we had season tickets for the Lake County Captains. We really enjoyed the team, the park, and the area. In fact, when we visit other teams and parks, we compare them to the Captains.

One of the Captains players we really pulled for was Juan Valdes. We liked his scrappy style of play, and his happy attitude. We saw him play with the Captains often.

Well, things happen. Some guys get promoted, and eventually have their major league careers or their cups of coffee. Some guys get released.

Juan kind of disappeared from affiliated baseball. I was happy last year to see his name appear on an independent league team's roster. I was even happier to see his name appear on the roster for one of my favorite teams this year, the Florence Freedom!

Sure, the chances of Juan making it to The Show are not as good these days as they were when he started out, but thats OK. he is coming up on a decade long professional baseball career, and that is cool. That does give a guy some bragging rights.

I have enjoyed catching Juan with the Freedom this year and no matter where his career takes him, we are still pulling for him.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wedding at the park

Oh yes, we have a theme going on this week!

A wedding happened before the Florence Freedom game a few weeks ago!

Bro, you need to thank your wife for letting this happen! Not just the wedding at the ballpark, but also for mixing in the Star Trek theme too! WOW!

Seriously, I could see a bride reluctantly agreeing to getting married before a game. I could see a bride VERY reluctantly agreeing to a Star Trek wedding. Getting both to happen is just too cool. She's a keeper!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

More love at the park

Oh yeah! That's ANOTHER marriage proposal at a park this season! Congrats to Tara and her guy!

I think this is great! For what its worth, I proposed to my wife at Natural Bridge.

I would love to hear from anyone involved in a park or stadium marriage proposal!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Love at the Park

OK, I have watched TWO marriage proposals AND a wedding at games this year!!! Both proposals were at Kentucky Parks (Lexington and Bowling Green) AND the weeding was in Florence before a Freedom game!

Congrats to all! Very nice! Oh, and if you were one of the couples at these games, feel free to contact me, I took a few (low quality) photos.

The two pics above were from the Bowling Green game.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Babe Ruth by Rebecca Clark Rau

I have not read a thorough biography on Ruth. Recently, I was looking at books at Joseph Beth and I came across this one by Kentucky author Rebecca Clark Rau.

This is a nice, easy to read volume on Ruth. It is pretty to the point, giving a fun account of each season, of his growing up in Baltimore, and his last days.

Rau does add a little creativity to the account, assuming some of Ruth and his family's thoughts at times, but you can tell where the creative assumptions occur and where the facts are.

I enjoyed reading about Ruth's early days with the minor league Orioles team, and his desire to pitch less as his career went on.

Another thing I like about this book is that the author mentions locations of some of the Ruth landmarks (his dad's bar, for example).

I was happy to see a Kentucky author put such a nice book together! If you have not read up on the Babe, check this book out!


Friday, July 1, 2011

Wild Pitches

The Lexington Legends got in to a little fight the other night in Charleston! Check it out!

You know, I do love keeping the game clean and all, but a fight is a fight. AND, fights start because people care about what they are doing. I would like to encourage all players to not fight..... but I am sure as heck glad that these guys feel so passionate about the game. Hats off to both teams.


Thanks to Josh Lewis and Channel 8 news in Charleston for keeping the cameras going!

Anyone catch Wade Boggs in the SyFy Channel monster movie "Swamp Shark"? The SyFy channel, in my opinion, does a good job on their movies. I thought this was an enjoyable movie. Wade Boggs plays a wimpy cop though. he only appears towards the end of the movie and has a few lines. Still, it was good seeing him!

I heard a few weeks ago about the current situation with Gary Carter. Carter is one of my all time favorites, and I really think the world of him. If you aren't up on his career, or his health issues, go to his web site.


Obviously, I am hoping things get better with him.....