We bid farewell to Batavia, NY on Thursday, July 15th and headed west toward Indianapolis.
On the way, we met up with a friend for lunch at a restaurant that happened to be down the street from Canal Park, home of the Eastern League’s Akron Rubber Ducks. The park was closed but I still took the obligatory pic of Kate outside the stadium.
We made it to Indianapolis Thursday around 6pm. I had thoughts of maybe making it to the Indianapolis Indians game that night, but Kate needed to help with set up for her team’s robotics competition. Things got delayed by a thunderstorm that dropped a crazy amount of rain, so we didn’t leave until 8:30pm and therefore no game.
Thoughts of going to Friday night’s game also went by the wayside as the competition went on until 7:40pm that day. We might have been able to make the last half of the game, but we were pretty exhausted and called it a day.
Saturday was the final day of the robotics competition. Our hope was to leave straight after Kate’s team finished and head to Florence, Kentucky, some two hours away, for our first-ever Frontier League game. If the competition went late, we might catch some of the Indians’ game instead, and drive down to Florence afterward as that is where our hotel was for the night.
Kate’s team ended up winning the competition, which was both great as well as a big deal. They celebrated for a while afterward, posing for plenty of pictures. We left about 5:30pm.
I had decided ahead of time that if we left by 6pm, we’d probably get to at least some of the Florence Freedom game. So we headed to Florence, getting to the stadium just before 7:30pm.
The game had started at 6:05 pm, and was in the top of the 6th inning when we got there.
The goal had been, and still was, to get one or more Frontier League 25th Anniversary baseballs that are being used this season. Along with our plan to ballhawk, I brought a few Atlantic League 20th Anniversary balls to try and trade.
As it turned out, bringing the balls to trade was a great idea. In between innings, we traded with both bullpens. We were very appreciative that both team bullpens helped us out because they easily could have said no or ignored us. So we were on the board with a couple Frontier League 25th balls!
We walked around the outside of the park and found another ball, then traded for two more for a total of five. As it turned out, there were no foul balls hit anywhere near us, so I am really glad we brought balls to trade.
A secondary goal was to get a lineup card from the game. We got two:
As an added bonus, here’s the back of the Freedom lineup card:
We have never gotten anything like this. It’s cool to see the preparation, particularly the level of detail, that goes into a single game.
The visiting Normal Cornbelters won the game, 2-0.
Days don’t get much better than this one. Kate’s robotics team won its competition, we saw a game (at least part of a game) in a new stadium for us, got a few anniversary balls, and got our first Frontier League lineup cards!
2017: 19 lineup cards (9 dugout/bullpen; 9 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup” card)
Lifetime: 140 lineup cards (96 dugout/bullpen; 41 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 1 “today’s lineup”)
By far the biggest lineup card disappointment during the 2015 season came in late June. I went to the June 23 Braves @ Nationals game, which was delayed about a couple hours by weather and didn’t end until roughly midnight. There were hardly any kids there by the end of the game, and few fans in general, so I seized the opportunity to get a Nats 10th anniversary commemorative ball from umpire Sam Holbrook after the game. I then headed up the 3rd baseline and caught Braves bullpen coach Eddie Perez as he made his way from the bullpen into the dugout. I asked him for the bullpen lineup card, which he appeared to be carrying in a binder – and it looked like a nice MLB lineup card! – but he said no, he couldn’t give it to me because he needed it, or something like that. But he then said that If I was at tomorrow night’s game, he would give me that card. I had already planned to go the next night anyway, so that worked for me. I thanked him and that was that.
So I went to the Braves @ Nationals game again the next night, and after the game – another Nats victory over the Braves – I caught Perez as he was walking in from the dugout just like the previous night. I politely asked him for the bullpen lineup card and he ignored me. I asked again a little louder and mentioned our brief conversation the night before, but he still ignored me. I’m all but certain he heard me as two players walking near him turned to look at me. I asked one more time, but Perez never looked my way, eventually disappearing into the dugout.
No player, manager, etc. owes me anything. When we get a lineup card, which happened far more than not in 2015, it is great. But we were turned down several times this season, too, and that’s also fine. This one just stung because Perez had said he would give me one, then he ignored me. So it goes.
Other than that, June was another great month lineup card-wise. Among the highlights were getting an Akron Robber Ducks lineup card, a couple more Senators cards with the neat watermark, our first New York-Penn League lineup card courtesy of the Tri-City Valley Cats, getting lineup cards from the Trenton Thunder and Bowie Baysox, and getting our first summer college baseball league lineup card from the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL). The FCBL card is nice, 11” x 17” and also has a nice watermark.