For the second year in a row, I was fortunate enough to attend the annual Louisville Bats Season Ticket Holder Open House with my daughters Kei and Chihiro. It was a little warmer this year (not by much) and the sun was shining brightly. Another fantastic way to get the upcoming season started just right!
To read the story and see pictures from last year's Open House, you can do that here...
We were able to enjoy the same 'exclusive' sights of Louisville Slugger Field that we did last year, and of course partake in our first official "Baseball Meal" of the season...Hot Dogs, Popcorn, and soda while relaxing in the stadium seats...all with a great view of the gorgeous field in front of us, primed and ready for baseball!!
I won't re-hash the pictures from last year, but I encourage you to do so if you missed that post...so here are some pictures of 'stuff' I didn't get to last year, or that I didn't do justice...
This is my view of the pitcher's mound and home plate from the 'manager's roost' in the home dugout. The roost is a flat slab of concrete at field level where you will often see Rick Sweet or Ted Power closely watching the on-field action.
This is a picture of me, standing on the roost, taken by my youngest daughter Chihiro. The grandstand and press boxes are directly behind me; our seats for the season are about 2 sections to my right, on the upper deck.
Here I am in the clubhouse batting cage! (sorry, this one is kind of blurry)
This sign, from the batting cage...this means YOU! Somebody needs to send this picture to Sammy Sosa...
The Bats' clubhouse lounge. I had to explain to my kids what bumper pool was. I wonder if Corky Miller rules this table...
Posted on the wall in the corridor, there are many photos of former Bats record holders from previous seasons. Here's a newer one...Matt Maloney IS the Bats' all-time strike out leader!
The Umpires' locker room...this door was NOT open. NOTICE! No visitors in dressing room!
I tried to get shots of these last year, but they didn't turn out. Several uncut sheets of 1989 Topps hang in the main basement hallway between the home and visitors' locker rooms. Sweet!!
I don't know what year (yet) but this was the Louisville Redbirds.
Back through the dugout...if you've been to a Louisville Bats game, you may know what this is. I don't know the story behind it, but I remember years ago, at my first Bats game, hearing a bunch of clanging metal sounds occasionally coming from the field somewhere. I guess at first I thought it was someone with a very loud and annoying noisemaker...but game after game rakakakakakakakakakdakakakdakakdakakdaka every now and then. You have to be seated somewhere on the first base side (so you can see inside the home dugout) in order to find out what's going on, that's where I was when I saw where the noise was coming from and who was making it. There's a large uncomfortable-looking piece of sheet metal with a couple of slight folds hanging from a chain on the dugout wall closest to home plate (the steps by which batters enter the field are there, right next to the manager's roost). Once in a while, the batter that is "in the hole" will run the end of their bat violently across this piece of sheet metal. Again, I really don't know why but it is what it is, and here it is:
Stevo-sama is on the field!!
You may remember from last year's post how excited I was to see where the Official Scorer works...this year I sat in his chair, here's the official view of the Official Scorer:
Amongst the 2009 and 2010 rulebooks, a large box of pencils, and a few other odds and ends, I found this clipboard neatly tucked adjacent to the window ledge. Yes, this stack is ALL of the scoresheets for every 2010 Bats home games, in order, the most recent on top (9/6/10 last division playoff game at home against the Durham Bulls), all the way down to the home opener on 4/14/10. Aaaaahhhh...
For the record, I can tell you how the Official Scorer got his job...immaculate penmanship. GREAT stuff.
Another great Louisville Redbirds relic on the wall of the hallway headed towards the suites...from when the Redbirds broke the all-time Minor League single-season attendance record on August 8, 1982. I'm not sure if that record still stands today...with the cavernous 'old' Cardinal Stadium (aka Fairgrounds Stadium) with its capacity of over 47K could easily help to break any record when most minor league stadiums hold a quarter of that, at best. But, we'll miss her just the same when she goes down, finally, in the next year or two.
Avid Kansas City baseball fans will be that much wiser to know that Fairgrounds Stadium was to be the home of the Athletics in 1964.
Here I am with Buddy Bat. I asked him what it was like to get thrown out of a game, but he wasn't much for words today.
This event is also well-known for the plethora of Bats items on sale for season ticket holders only...you can pick up game used jerseys (home and road sets) for $125-450 (Juan Francisco's having the highest price tag), uncut Bats baseball card sheets, anonymous game used broken bats, some autographed parapernalia, etc. While perusing the table of goods, I noticed a small stack of lineup cards from 2010 games. Of course, one game from last season I'll never forget too easily was the July 27 contest between the Bats and the visiting Charlotte Knights. Chihiro and I watched from the lawn (which was a BLAST) and experienced home run balls sailing right over our heads, a grand slam from each team, and what has to be the highest-scoring/most total runs in a game I have ever been at. As luck would have it, I rifled quickly through the stack and found the lineup card from that game...for only $3, it was mine and will hang proudly with my other Minor League treasures.
Again, such a fantastic event. Even though I didn't win the free Jersey contest (I think there was a definitive Facebook advantage there) I completely enjoyed myself, one of our favorite days of the year...one that brings us that much closer to BASEBALL!!