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”)
There’s Frozen the movie, and then there’s Frozen the baseball game.
Frozen the baseball game took place on Saturday, April 9 in Reading, PA. The Reading Fightin Phils of the AA Eastern League were hosting the Portland Sea Dogs.
Other games in the area — including those hosted by the Baltimore Orioles, Wilmington Blue Rocks and Trenton Thunder — were all canceled due to the rain/snow/cold. Sean and I were on our way to Washington DC to see the Capitals’ season finale Sunday night. We had originally planned to go to the blue Rocks game, but changed our plans when that game was canceled and the Fightin Phils game was still on.
It was both of our first times at FirstEnergy Stadium. It looked like it would be a fun stadium to be at on a warm summer evening, but this night didn’t quite fall into that category.
The box score says the 6:04pm game time temperature was 35 degrees with 13 mph winds. It also said that the attendance was 5,273. I can guarantee that the temperature wasn’t 35 by the end of the game, and that there probably weren’t 273 fans left, never mind 5,273.
We kept warm by running around chasing foul balls, getting six without trying too hard.
At the end of the game, a 6-2 Portland victory, Sean headed to the Portland dugout while I tried to hit up the Fightin Phils for a lineup card. Reading coaches blew me off but Sea Dog manager Bobby Meacham Sean hooked up Sean with the Portland lineup card.
As you can see from the above picture, we decided to wait until we got to the hotel room to take pictures, rather than in the cold.
The Sea Dog lineup card isn’t anything special. But since we had failed to get a Sea Dog lineup card in 2015 — we were told that then-manager Billy McMillon didn’t give them out — it was a good score to get one.
Here’s a better picture of the lineup card, as well as the gold Cole Hamels bobblehead giveaway from the game.
Lineup Card Stats
2016: 3 lineup cards (2 dugout; 1 “official batting order”)
Lifetime: 66 lineup cards (49 dugout; 15 “official batting order”; and two “relief pitcher usage”)
Leagues: American League; National League; Eastern League; Carolina League; New York-Penn League; Atlantic League; Can-Am League; American Association; NCAA – American Athletic Conference; Cape Cod League; New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL); and Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL)