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

Friday, September 28, 2012

Scott Jordan- 1988 Cleveland Indians

Scott Jordan played professional baseball between 1985 and 1989, making it to the majors in 1988 with the Cleveland Indians.

I asked him about his current favorite players, and he mentions Jay Bruce, Billy Butler, and Jason Hayward.

I ask him about his favorite books, and he mentions Seasons of Life and the Bible.

He does mention that he never played in Kentucky.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Buddy Schultz 1975-1979 Cubs and Cardinals

Buddy Schultz played in the majors during the late 70s, pitching for the Cubs and Cardinals.

He answered some questions for me recently!

he says that he follows Arizona, along with his former teams.  He says his favorite player was Koufax.  I asked if he was an Indians fan growing up in Cleveland and he says yes.

He also mentions that he goes to Miami of Ohio occasionally.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bruce Kimm- 1976-1980 Major Leaguer

Bruce Kimm sent a nice note recently about his career!  He spent a little over a decade in professional baseball, spending time in the majors with the Tigers and with both Chicago teams.  He also spent time in the minors with some of my favorite teams- Knoxville, Toledo and Evansville!

He tells me that he doesn't really have a favorite team at the moment.  He doesn't follow baseball much now, though he does watch games on TV.

He says that Knoxville was a good place to play, and they had a lot of good players.

He remembers Evansville well too, saying that they had good teams and won championships in 75 & 79.

He mentions a couple of books he is interested in.  One is about Norway baseball, and one is about baseball in Iowa by Bob Meyers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rent One Park- Marion IL, Frontier League Championship

We made our first trip to Rent One Park in Marion Illinois this weekend!

I have already mentioned the Championship Series between the Southern Illinois Miners and the Florence Freedom- but I was thrilled to have my first visit to this park occur during this exciting time.

The Miners did a great job of trying to get the local fans interested and excited.  They opened their parking early lot for tailgating and if you got to the park soon enough, they waved their parking fee.

I am starting to find myself in Illinois a bit more these days, and the state is growing on me.  There are some nice small communities, college towns, and historic areas.  I like driving through these days.

I was exciting about visiting Marion and Carbondale on this trip.  I had a great time in both areas before the game.

Back to the game.....

We did get to the park before the gates opened and there was a very festive vibe going on.  Players and staff mingled pleasantly with the fans.

As fans waited in line to get in, coach John Lakin passed through the crowd on his way in.

"Thank you all for coming out" he said loudly.

AND that is why minor league baseball is so good.  More specifically, that is why the Frontier League is so good.  A coach will thank fans for coming out to support the team.

The Miners have several mascots.  I love them all.  They do have "The Green Man".  He is a guy in a green costume covering his entire body.  He danced around and interacted with the fans.

Like Florence, the Miners also have an eyeball race.  I love this.  It is just weird and fun to watch.

The Miners have a well stocked team shop but their prices are on the high end.  Then again, maybe they are just waiting to mark things down after the season ends.

Hats off for the merch selection though.  They did have a team set of cards (something many indy teams have stopped selling), shirts, jerseys, etc.

The Miners have a rally crew too, like most teams these days.  These guys were totally pumped up for the game.  They were cheering and dancing all through the game, and even in the parking lot before the game.

Most rally groups like this save their excitement for between innings.  These guys were dancing on the dugouts between EVERY batter.  They did slow down a bit around the 3rd inning.  It did distract from the game but they get an A for their enthusiasm.

One of the cheer squad members did sing our national anthem before the game.  Usually I am not a fan of all of the extra notes added these days.  I like hearing it delivered in a traditional way.  Well, the girl who sang it Saturday night added the extra notes but she did it melodically AND in tune.  She wasn't forcing her voice to do things it shouldn't.  Her voice was very capable of hitting those notes most cannot.  This was possibly the best performance I saw all season.

AND congrats to the Miners for winning it all this year!  Sure, you beat MY Florence Freedom to do it, but you did it with style!

I was glad to see a group of maybe 20 fans cheering for the Freedom too.  I was a bit surprised that a nice group made the journey down for the game!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Florence Freedom- Frontier League Championship

The Frontier League Championship Series JUST ended in Marion Illinois!  I personally attended game 2 in Florence and game 3 in Marion!

It was great seeing the Championship trophy in the team shop at both parks.  To the left is my photo from Florence.  I will have a photo up from Rent One Park (home of the Southern Illinois Miners) probably tomorrow.

If you followed this series at all, you know that it was very exciting.  Except for game 2 they were all close, and they all featured tense situations in the 9th (or 12th)!

AND, how many championships have been decided by a walk-off walk?

This was a VERY exciting series, and it gave me the opportunity to squeeze in a few more games before the minor league season ended!

The Florence Freedom are one of my all time favorite teams, and I was pulling for them, but then again, I love the entire Frontier League.  I would have loved for the Freedom to win it, but there was no shame in falling to the Miners.  They are a tough team.

Frankly, I didn't get to attend as many games this year as I usually do.  I especially didn't get to see the Freedom much, so I was really happy to have the chance to squeeze a couple more in.

If you have ever attended a championship game in the minors, you know that the feel can be a little under enthusiastic.  I think most casual fans are unaware that a few extra games have been added for the season.  Crowds can be a bit unimpressive.

I thought both venues drew good crowds.  There was more enthusiasm in Marion than in Florence, but that might have been because of their teams dominance starting in game 1.

I know in some ways, staff may be exhausted form the season.  Some people may have been excited about the season (and work) ending, just to find out that a few more games have been added.  Its great that they stick around to keep the season going for just a little bit longer.....

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wild Pitches

The Southern Illinois Miners are playing the Florence Freedom in the Frontier League Championship!

Anyone in the northern part of Kentucky or the western part of the state should be able to catch one of these games.  Marion, IL, the home of the Miners, is not too far out.

I have mentioned before that I really love this league.  I was at last nights game in Florence, and I am hoping to be at Saturday nights game in Marion.  I will get photos up soon.....

On a different note......

I enjoy all of minor league baseball, but I am getting really frustrated with the affiliate teams' web sites.  They are bad.

It seems to me that this season they really went over the top with advertisements.

First of all, I am going to their sites to literally see an ad for their product.  If I wanted to read about a university or a car, I would search that product's site.

When I really got interested in baseball several years ago, I loved the purity of the minor leagues. 

Sure, you have sponsors, company names on the outfield wall, etc. and I am OK with that.

But ads on top of ads on the web site- I don't like that.

I will still go to a lot of games each season, and I will still frequently check sites linked to milb.com...  but that love of minor league baseball is just a little bit less right now.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Florence Freedom

Congrats to the Florence Freedom!  They are currently having a VERY successful post season right now!

I have mention how much I love this team before and I am so happy about their recent success!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dusty Wathan

Dusty Wathan is one of those great baseball personalities that has been around the game all of his life.  Literally.  His dad was also a Major League catcher!

I personally remember Dusty well from his time in the Indians system.  Now, he is coaching in Reading for the Phillies!

He sent a note to me recently.

Dusty says that making it to the big leagues with the Royals was great, as he grew up in the area, and his dad played for them!

He says that he loves managing!