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

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Payne Park, Home of the Boston Red Sox, Sarasota FL. Postcard

"Baseball Fans come from far and wide to see the pennant winning Boston Red Sox in Spring Training at Payne Park.  Tourists enjoy the warm sunny days at Sarasota's large, modern trailer park shown in background."

This postcard is unused, but the Red Sox played at Payne Park between 1933 and 1958.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Atlantic League in Cuba

I know, there have been a LOT of headlines lately about Cuba....  and many of those mention baseball.  I absolutely love the idea of being able to travel to new and interesting places, ESPECIALLY if baseball is involved! 

I just finished reading some books on JFK, and I get that there is still some bad blood issues there.  BUT, I am glad to see some figurative walls coming down.

Anyway, I found this article about a possible Caribbean Division for the Atlantic League!  Check out the article and see what you think!  The proposed division would include Cuba, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

Hats off to the Atlantic League for even considering this sort of thing.  I really think of those guys as super progressive and innovative. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Joey Wong-Rockies prospect

Joey's mom sent a nice note recently!  He is playing Winter ball in Australia at the moment.  She wanted me to know that Joey appreciates the fan support he has received!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mike Devine- Frontier League

Mike Devine spent 2014 in the Frontier League.  He took the time to send me a great note recently about his career.

He says that, being from Pittsburgh, he grew up a Pirates fan.  He mentions that, at the end of his baseball seasons, he has enjoyed coming home to see the Pirates making it in to the post season!

He went from Traverse City to Normal in the middle of the season.  Concerning his time in Traverse City, he mentions that it is a great area, and he is grateful that they gave him his start in professional baseball.  It is a great town he says.

I asked him about favorite baseball books, and he mentions that he really enjoyed reading Josh Hamilton's book, "Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back."  He talks at length about how he can relate to it because he has witnessed many friends and ballplayers get into drugs, and have the game taken away from them.

He continues, "No matter what the situation I think it is extremely tough to go from that low and get back to an elite level, and that book did a really nice job of highlighting the struggle he went through."

Mike talks a lot about his love of the game.  "I have been blessed to play with and against many people all over the country, and while I am a strong competitor, the wins and losses come and go.  What stays with me is the friendships and going to the park each day during the season knowing that there are 23 or 24 guys in that locker room and dugout with me ready to go compete together for the next 9 innings.  Baseball has blessed me with many things, but the thing that never leaves me is the friendships of my teammates and coaches that extend into life off the field."

I wanted to put Mike's feelings on baseball in quotes, because he said it perfectly!

Good luck next year Mike, and thanks for the nice note!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Wild Pitches

Yeah, I know it has been a while......  But I did want to say hello during this very dormant non-baseball season.  There are a few things going on.......

First off, CONGRATS to former Florence Freedom Manager, Fran Riordan!  Fran has been hired by the A's organization to manage their Beloit team.  This is a very big deal and I love hearing about Frontier League players and managers getting picked up by affiliated teams

Also, Skylands Stadium in Augusta New Jersey will once again have a team playing in the Can-Am League!  I think this is great news.  We have been through that area several times, and really love it!  We stopped by and saw the New Jersey Cardinals of the New York Penn League back when they played there.  This is a very scenic area, and the fact that they once again have a pro-ball team gives me another excuse to visit!

I do hope to have a few more posts over the next few weeks!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Scouts Alley Seats at Great American Ball Park.

Thanks to a friend I was recently able to set in the Scouts Alley area at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati!

I was actually super excited about making it to one more game this year, especially one to the north of me.  As I mentioned before, this has been a slow season.

These were some great seats and I liked the exclusive area.  There is the "Scouts Alley" area, where there were no lines for getting a drink and a dog.  Plus, the Scouts Alley area was inside, and this was a hot day!

I DID notice a fellow beside me wearing this ring.  Yep!  That's a Pirates 1971 World Series ring, being worn by Bob Johnson!  he also briefly appeared for the 1969 Mets!  Talk about a couple of GREAT TEAMS!

I didn't want to bother him because he was... well working, taking notes and doing the sort of thing a scout does during a game.  We still said hello to him and chatted briefly.  He was super nice!  THAT was probably the best part of the 2014 baseball season for me!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wild Pitches

Well, the minor league season is pretty much over, with the exception of a playoff game here and there.  This has been a painfully slow season for me.  I only made it to a fistful of games.

Not to get personal (this is a blog about baseball), but my cat became very sick in March.  We have had to give him fluids and various meds each evening.  This has prevented me from going to a ton of games like I usually do each season.  I am glad that I could do it for him though, and I did not mind missing out on the season to help him out.

ANYWAY, there are several parks I was hoping to make it to one more time this season.  Nashville, for example, gets a new park next year!  I am very excited for them, but I hoped to make it to Greer Stadium one more time.

The Huntsville Stars are moving too, along with some other teams here and there. 

The Jamestown Jammers will relocate too.  I have been to Jamestown, and I have seen the Jammers but I never got to see them at home.  Here is a great article by Benjamin Hill from milb.com about the teams move.

Ben, as always, does a great job of describing the sadness of the teams last game (in front of a "crowd" of less than 400).


Thanks for reading, this blog may remain pretty dormant until next season!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reds vs Nationals in Cincinnati

I made it up to Cincinnati to catch my first Reds game in some time.  A buddy of mine got some GREAT seats from a friend.

I do enjoy going to see the Reds, but downtown Cincinnati can be a hassle.  Parking, and the streets can both be nightmares.

We did have a parking pass, but the line to get in to the garage was miserable.  I saw traffic cops all around, casually ignoring issues as they chatted with people on the street.

AND.....  I love catching a Frontier League game in Florence.  It is a closer drive for me, I don't have to deal with traffic in southern Ohio, and I prefer smaller stadiums.

Still, seeing a Reds game is pretty much required at least once a year for me.

Sadly, the Reds haven't been playing that great at the moment.  They looked bad on the night I came to town.  The Nationals beat 'em up pretty good.

I was a little surprised to see all of the Nationals jerseys at the game!  I didn't realize that they have a lot of fans here and there.  It wasn't quit like the Cubs and their numerous and loyal fans, but it was still impressive.

Oh, the Nationals brought their presidents!  In fact, the game was a bit slow, and the Racing Presidents may have been the most exciting point in the game!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tim Dillard

Brewers organization pitcher Tim Dillard sent a very kind note recently about his career.

Tim expresses that he appreciates support as a player of such an awesome game!

He has been a fan of many teams in his life, but at this moment, he is a die hard fan of his current team, the Huntsville Stars.

He says that the Nashville Sounds (AAA Brewers) are a special team to him too, as he considers that team his home team.

I asked him about his brief time in the Atlantic League.  He says that the league is very professional and competitive.  He mentions that many former MLB players are there.

I asked about his experiences in or near Kentucky.  He says that in 2012 he played in Cincinnati.  He had a burger with an egg on it and he also enjoyed some Graeter's Ice Cream.  At that time he also went to the Creation Museum.  He thought that was amazing, and he asks if I have been!

I have- see my entry on my other blog about that visit-


Thanks for the GREAT note Tim!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Angel's Pitching Prospect Michael Roth

Angels pitcher Michael Roth sent a note about his career, and his time at the major league level last year.

He let me know that "the show is everything you dreamed about as a kid."

His dad raised him as a Yankees fan, since he is from Long Island.

Thanks Michael!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Joe Van Meter

Joe Van Meter, currently pitching in the Orioles organization, sent a nice note recently.

He let me know that he was a Yankees fan growing up.  He is happy to be in the Orioles organization, and he thought Hickory was a fun place to play.

He says that Lexington was a cool place to play and visit (he played in town against the Legends in the SAL).
He was happy to be close to Louisville and Churchill Downs.  He would like to go to the Derby someday.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Wild Pitches

Just a little house keeping here at the blog.....

First off, forgive me for not having more pics and mentions of parks this year.  I had two massive road trips planned and things didn't work out.  What didn't work out you may ask...

Well....  I try not to get too personal with my blogs but I do have a very sweet small animal that is sick, and we are doing a lot to take care of him right now.  All of our travel plans have been canceled for the summer because of that.

On to other items...

There is a NEW podcast for the Frontier League!  Here is some more info...  Check it out-

Did you get this weeks Sports Illustrated?  There is a great article on Don Mattingly, who I pretty much consider to be a local boy.  Good stuff.  There is a nice write up from Joe Torre about Don Zimmer too.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Brent Powers

I got a really nice note from A's organization pitcher Brent Powers the other day.  He was very kind to tell me about his career so far!

Brent says that playing for the Lake Monsters was fun.  He says it was a fun city with great fans.  He enjoyed his years there.

He says that he grew up in Texas as a Rangers fan.  Now that he is with the A's he jokingly says that he feels that might be a conflict of interest.  Ha!

He does say that he misses Texas, as it is a great place to live, and his family is there.

I asked about Beloit and he says that the area has a small town feel and he described it as a hidden gem.  He feels lucky to be a part of the team, as there are some great players there now.

I asked Brent about baseball books, and he says that when he was growing up, he read every book on Babe Ruth that he could.

Concerning Kentucky, he says that he has never played in it, but he has played all around the state.

Thanks Brent!  Good luck!

Monday, June 2, 2014

2014 Lexington Legends

This has been a VERY slow baseball season for me.  More on that later, but I recently made it to see my home team, the Lexington Legends, play for the first time this year!

Actually, this was not my first time seeing the Legends play in 2014, but it was my first time seeing them at home!

I had to make it to this game though, because they were giving away a small figure of the team mascot, Big L!  It was one of the coolest giveaways in some tine, and I really wanted one!

I was glad I went.  For some reason, the park had a more mellow vibe than usual.  I can't put my finger on it, but the park seemed more relaxed than in seasons past.  The players were interacting more with the little leaguers on the field.  Also, I didn't notice the army of staff and ushers that I have noticed before.  Also, I didn't feel overwhelmed by the sound system.  I have been here on some very loud nights in the past!

Big L was all over the place too.  He gave the umps an eye exam before the game, and did some shoe shining later on.  He seemed more animated than last year.  It was cool of the umps to play along.

I do enjoy making it out to see the Legends when I can though.  There is nothing more relaxing than enjoying a game on a nice night in the summer.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

An Evening with Leo Cardenas & Tommy Helms, hosted by Jon Warden

This looks fun and interesting for all of the Reds fans-

From Cincy Card Shows:

NEW EVENT: An Evening with Leo Cardenas & Tommy Helms, hosted by Jon Warden.

Tuesday, May 27th at Marriot Northeast, 9664 Mason Montgomery Road, Mason, Ohio 45040.

Come out and hear some great stories from the 1960's and the days of Crosley Field. Players will tell a few stories and then we will enter in to a Q&A from the attendees. Remember that Helms was a long time roommate of Rose so we should be in for a treat. Following the event players will sign autographs for a separate fee.

Tickets prices are as follows:
Seating Paid in Advance $10
Seating Day of Event (if available) $15
VIP Table Seating in Advance $20
VIP Table Seating Day of Event (if available) $25
VIP Table of 8 (in advance only) $140

For more information including ticket information or to pay for tickets with visa/mastercard or paypal contact Steve Schell at saschellstar@gmail.com or Adam Knight at adamknight79@yahoo.com

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dan Black- White Sox Prospect

Alright, I am now a huge fan of White Sox prospect, and funny as heck eccentric, Dan Black.  I sent him a couple of photos I took last year in Birmingham.  He added VERY artistic touches to each one, in addition to signing them.  He wrote a note on a card (DIRECTLY on the card) hoping that the card does not end up on ebay!

Don't worry Dan, I always appreciate and value weird and different notes, inscriptions, and doodles on my cards and photos!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tyler Saladino- White Sox prospect

Tyler Saladino is working his way up the White Sox system!  He let me know recently that the new Charlotte Knights park is beautiful, and definitely worth checking out.  He says that he loved Birmingham too!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Moeller Card Show and Denny McLain in Cincinnati!

I made it out to the Moeller High School baseball card show this weekend.  I wanted to get out there because Denny McLain was appearing!

It has been some time since I was last at this show, but I had a real good day.  The dealers are nice and reasonable, and there is more here than just the usual stacks of baseball cards from the 80s.  The show had a great selection of mini helmets, buttons, and vintage cards.  In fact, I enjoyed looking at the many cases full of old tobacco cards.

The show had several signers, but I was here mostly to get my album signed by Denny McLain (in addition to being an amazing pitcher, he also played the organ and he recorded on Capitol Records)!  I met him before, sometime in the mid 00s in Detroit.  I remember him being very pleasant at that time, and he also was a bigger guy.... as we all put on some weight as we get older.

Well, he has dropped a LOT of weight and he still seemed friendly and chatty.  He seemed very happy just to be there and he was very generous with doing photos and adding inscriptions and that sort of thing.

I have always found Denny's story to be one of the most fascinating in all of baseball.  I would put him right in there with Cobb and Rose as one of the most loved and hated MLBers ever.

Again, this was a great day at the card show for me.  One thing I miss about living in northern Ohio is that there were a lot of nice card shows like this, where they might have a few retired or current players signing autographs, AND dealers sold quality items.  I tip my hat to Cincy Card Shows for this one!

Good show, good signers, and good dealers!  I will have to make more of a point to hit their events when they come up!

Check out Cincy Card Show's link:


Here is my review of Denny's book, and a photo of him from about a decade ago:


And here is a link to a Detroit News Article about his weight loss:


Monday, April 21, 2014

Linda Ruth Tosetti- Babe Ruth's Granddaughter!

I sent a brief note to Babe Ruth's granddaughter not too long ago.  I hoped she might send a note, or a signed picture, but she took the time to send me a VERY nice long note, and some other info.  I must say that I was touched by her generous response.

She says that Babe loved home runs because he hit one once as a child.  It went over the right fielder's head.  The other boys cheered him, so he kept hitting them.

Concerning Moe Berg (who was a spy, see my review on this blog on the book about him), Babe said that he could speak seven languages, but he couldn't hit in any of them.

I thought the quote about Berg was the best Babe quote Linda mentioned, but then she also mentioned this one-

"Baseball is the greatest game in the world and it deserves the best you can give it."

Thanks Linda!  AND, check out her site at:


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

West Virginia Power 2014

We were able to make it to Charleston West Virginia to catch the Power take on the Legends.  The weather was great, and Charleston is a great town for South Atlantic League baseball!

Charleston is a town that has really grown on me over the last few seasons, along with this part of West Virginia.  I really enjoy making the drive over to this area.

It was a bonus that this was a Saturday DAY game.  I would like to see more teams have day games on a Saturday.  Since the game started at 2, we were able to drive up early, enjoy some other sites nearby, and then drive home after the game.  No need for a hotel room (or to drive in the dark) on this trip!

We got seats near the Toastman at this game.  I have noticed him before, but it was a real treat setting in his section!  This guy is lively!  He holds up signs with fun nicknames for the West Virginia players, and he taunts the opposing players when they strikeout (by making toast and throwing it into the crowd).  Seriously, Toastman is a very entertaining part of the game.

I really like coming to Appalachian Power Park to see the Power for many other reasons too.  For one thing, the staff at the park is always helpful and calm.  They are OK with people moving around a bit, and enjoying the game from different perspectives.  These guys don't have staff harassing fans to return to their seats.  The park has a pleasant "locals who all know each other" vibe.  You feel like kids and families walk down to the park not just to see a game, but to see their friends.

I really can't emphasize this enough.  At this park I feel a real retro calmness.  This is one of the more casual parks I know of.  The buildings around the park have an older feel and you do feel like you have gone back in time.  I don't want to make any over used comparisons to Mayberry but.......

I love the scenery around the park too- lots of mountains, plus, the previously mentioned older buildings.

Oh, and I did see some people watching the game from rooftops nearby!  I would love to work in one of the gorgeous older buildings that overlook the park.

I have noticed a vendor at the games who seems to always be selling hats for $5!  Like the Toastman, this guy is witty and always making jokes!

I could go on and on about how much I love this park.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Wild Pitches

Do you check out Kurt Smith's site, "Ballpark E-Guides"?  I have mentioned this site before, but it is worth mentioning again, as Kurt puts up a lot of fun, interesting, and helpful info.

I really liked his article about the Expos moving from Montreal.  Check it out here-

Kurt has written a very brief and easy to understand explanation of what went down.

He also got me thinking about all of the ballparks and teams that have moved on, or that are about to move on.  I don't mean to sound sappy, but I do feel a bit sad about defunct baseball teams.

It is well known that this is the last season for the Huntsville Stars, and Kurt's story reminded me of my visit to their park a few seasons ago.  The place was empty.  I grabbed a seat behind home plate, and I could listen to the radio broadcast live, as the voice of the Stars had his window open, calling the game right behind me.

On a brighter note, the season has started!  I am looking forward to visiting some new parks, and to seeing the local teams that I love.  The Lexington Legends play in my backyard, so I will be seeing a lot of their games.  The Florence Freedom start up in May, I will be at several of their games.  There are some teams a little further out that I look forward to seeing a time or two each season, like the Tennessee Smokies, the West Virginia Power, and others.  Visiting those teams at their home park is like visiting an old friend.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fandemonium at Smokies Stadium

This past weekend we made our way down to Kodak Tennessee, one of my favorite spots for baseball!

Its kind of funny, I am sometimes not exactly sure of how to refer to this area.  When someone says they are going to Kodak, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Knoxville, or the Great Smoky Mountains, I know they are going to this general area.  And I know that they will be having a lot of fun.

I like visiting this area during the baseball season because of the Smokies baseball team, and I like coming down any other time I can because this is just a great area.

There were several other baseball events going on this weekend, but the Smokies were hosting their "Fandemonium" event which sounded like the thing to go to in my books.

In fact, we came down for the weekend, and we had plenty of time to drive around the Smoky Mountains, and to walk the strip in Gatlinburg.  Any weekend during the baseball season we can come down, catch a game, and have a lot of fun in the surrounding area.

So we got to the Fandemonium event a little after it opened at 10am.  The team had shirts, hats and game used jerseys on sale and the prices were right.  I can never pass on a game used jersey for under $50.  The Smokies have a well stocked and very diverse team shop anyway.  These guys know about marketing their merchandise.

After making a few purchases, we took the self guided tour of the park.  This is another reason that I love these preseason minor league baseball events.  You get to take a thorough tour of the facilities!  Its actually pretty rare for the public to get a behind the scenes look at the smaller parks.  Most of the MLB parks give tours all the time, but not in the minors.

This was the first time that I saw a team offer a self guided tour like this.  There were signs with arrows, pointing fans in the right direction.  Also, staff were everywhere answering questions, and helping people who did not notice the signs.

Its always fun seeing the clubhouse, the batting cages, and inside of the dugout.  I can't say why exactly, but its just cool.

Mascots were on hand for photo ops, and the inflatables were open for the kids.  AND, the team was giving away hot dogs, beverages, and popcorn!  My first park hot dog of the season tasted great!  AND it was free!

Smokies Stadium is becoming one of my favorite venues for a game.  You have those fun cities nearby I mentioned before that are exciting and lively, but they still have a very rural vibe.

And that might be why I like this park so much.  This is a AA team playing in a solid AA park- but it doesn't feel like it is in a city area.  It feels like it is in a small town.

Plus the mountainous scenery around the park is amazing.  As you watch the game, right over the outfield wall you see those green curves.  You are in the beautiful south, dealing with friendly southerners.  The Smokies and Smokies Stadium get an A+.