Tuesday, April 15, 2014

4/15/2014 Toledo Mud Hens 2, Louisville Bats 5

Louisville Slugger Field, Louisville, KY
Game 3 of 3

My first Bats game of the year, and a game I'll always remember as the COLDEST baseball game I've ever attended...thoroughly beating the record previously held by my 40th birthday visit to Wrigley Field of mid-April 2007.

The paid attendance was announced as 4,634...however, there couldn't have been any more than 1,000 bodies at the game, and this number dwindled as early as the 2nd inning. It was 40 degrees with a mild wind in the full sun at first pitch; when the sun began to set an hour or so later, I started to think about how nice it would be in a couple of months when this place will be a sauna...
My daughter Kei and I did our best to make the most of it; we seriously bundled up for the game, and were hoping we'd fend off the extreme chill. This photo speaks only to my joy at attending my first game of the season, keeping score, and admiring the bunting that had blown inside the ledge of the upper deck.

Sean Marshall was here tonight, making a rehab start that was anticipated to only last an inning or so. Here he is warming up...while the rest of us were freezing. Look at all the frigid, yet empty seats.

Despite the fact that the Bats managed to avoid any extra base hits, their big inning in the 3rd against Toledo Mud Hens LHP Kyle Lobstein gave them an early lead, and an eventually insurmountable one for the Mud Hens.

As I donned my GLOVES to continue keeping score, Nate Robertson came on in relief of Lobstein after that inning. Heck, I just LOVE Nate Robertson...but I can't explain why. Whatever the reason, he's back with the Detroit Tigers organization for the first time since 2009.
I fondly remember Nate the most for a Fox Sports Florida commentator assessment of his performance during this 2010 Florida Marlins game:
    RICH WALTZ: "He (Robertson) has a good work ethic..."
    TOMMY HUTTON: "Well, he needs to work his way out of this!"

Kei and I did out best to brave the cold for the entire game, but it wasn't meant to be. She asked if we could leave after the 6th inning, and I was glad that she did. She felt bad about it, but I assured her that I was sincerely hoping she'd let me know when she was ready to go, because my fingers were starting to not respond to the commands from my brain.
Perhaps my reception for Nate Robertson was so pleasant because our mood was so absolutely less than pleasant at the time.

Now it's time for the Mystery Rookie Card game. In case you missed it before, the game is simple. Matt of Slugger Monkey has a stand at LSF and is there for every single game. He sells $1 Mystery Rookie packs for each sport; I buy two baseball rookies - one for me and one for my guest. Each pack has a Rookie Card, the identity of the card is obscured by the colored paper the card is packaged in. I allow my guest to pick their card, and before the game we unwrap them and see who we got; if there isn't a price tag on the card it's worth a buck (or less), if there is a price tag on the card, that's the card's book value. The only rule to the game is: since I'm springing for the cards, I expect a fair opportunity to trade. Other than that, the "game" is...check out the cards, and talk about them before the game!

For our inaugural Mystery Rookie Card game of the season, I picked this 2004 Fleer Ultra #373, featuring a...gasp...Yankee that I've never even heard of before, Houston, TX native Brad Halsey.
On the back of the card, we are told that Halsey "became a serious prospect in 2003...the lefty control artist had a 3:1 whiff/walk ratio in three Minor League seasons." Well, enough of a prospect to be part of the January 2005 trade that sent Halsey, Dioner Navarro, Javier Vazquez, and cash from the Yankees to the Diamondbacks for none other than Randy Johnson. Halsey spent the rest of that season on the D-backs roster , posting an 8-12 record and 4.61 ERA in 26 starts. We was passed on to Oakland in exchange for Juan Cruz early the following year, appearing in 52 games but only 7 as a starter. He began the 2007 season at AAA Sacramento and missed a return to Oakland over a squabble about his health that also involved Rich Harden and Dallas Braden. His season ended with shoulder surgery in July of that year and was released in early 2008. After a month-plus minor league contract with the Dodgers came and went, Halsey spent 2009-2010 playing Independent ball. He returned to the Yankees system for a few months in 2011, as a 30-year-old, and has since vanished without a trace. Rearrange the names, dates, and teams and this is a fairly common career path that always manages to throw that TINSTAPP thing right back at ya.

Kei's pick was as much of a mystery as mine...this 2007 Bowman Chrome #BC56 featuring another Texas pitcher, Brian Henderson. Pretty much the same old story here, except for the fact that Henderson never made an MLB appearance throughout his career. 
He looks pretty cheerful in his Tampa Bay Devil Rays gear, and he has a right to be...on the back of the card we are thrilled by his exploits, namely earning a spot in the 2006 Arizona Fall League and how he helped the AA Montgomery Biscuits to a Southern League title "by allowing only 2 HR in 50 innings." Go ahead and cue the sad violins now; he labored in AA ball with Montgomery for the majority of 5 seasons, with only a brief stint at AAA Durham in 2008. The Rays organization ran out of gas for Henderson, who spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Atlantic League Somerset Patriots. As a 28-year-old, he was heralded by Ryan Dunleavy for his potential "beyond (the) baseball diamond" in this May 2010 blog post. The potential referred to was, unsurprisingly, intelligence. In other words, after 2010 one wonders if Henderson's decision to give up baseball was an intelligent one. Or not.

My scoresheets, using my new pitch-counting method! Read about it HERE, download the scoresheets for free HERE!

Official Program (featuring Corky Miller) and Scorecard

Ticket (Jumbo Diaz)

Bat Chat and Gameday Stats

If you enjoy my work, I encourage you to spread the word via Twitter
(I am @yoshiki89), and also please leave a comment!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...