Howdy, Hoppers Fans! This is Greg, with an update on one way the Greensboro Grasshoppers are pitching in (pun intended) to support the local community. After you read this, I hope you’ll consider pitching in, too.
As you may remember, last year I became a father to a beautiful daughter, who was born two and a half months prematurely. Earlier this year, Jordan also became a father to a daughter born prematurly. Both of us are extremely grateful for the support we received from Family Support Network of Central Carolina (FSNCC), an organization whose mission is to provide support, education, and caring connections to those who have a child with special needs or those born prematurely. A few months ago, FSNCC asked me to serve on their Executive Board and I was honored to accept that invitation.
For the past several years, FSNCC has hosted a casino-themed fundraising event called Poker For Preemies. Proceeds from this event go to support all of FSNCC’s programs, not just the efforts surrounding working with NICU families like Jordan’s and mine. Because of the severe funding cuts FSNCC (along with many other non-profit organizations) has suffered due to lessening support from the state budget, the Poker For Preemies fundraiser has been an extremely important event that has helped FSNCC maintain the level of excellent programs we have been providing for many years.
By this point, you may be wondering what the Hoppers have to do with all of this. Read on and wonder no more! The Hoppers have a long history of supporting the community in various ways. They even have a “Donation Requests” page on their website, proclaiming that they “are happy to help numerous charitable organizations in the greater Triad area that are dedicated to making a difference in our community.” I’m pleased to report that they are, indeed, happy to help.
At the Poker For Preemies event, we will be featuring raffles for a number of prize baskets, each with a different theme. A few weeks ago, I contacted Joey at the Hoppers Font Office, soliciting a donation of items for one of the baskets. Joey and the Hoppers came through in spades (again, pun intended), donating over $50 worth of collectible Hoppers memorabilia and Hoppers-themed toys! They are going to fit right in with what we are calling the “Children’s Basket” — a basket full of items that children will enjoy. In addition to the Hoppers memorabilia, the Children’s Basket will help ease a rainy day with passes, gift certificates and memberships to area attractions like the Children’s Museum, Science Center, Monkey Joe’s and more!! On behalf of FSNCC, I would like to extend a huge “thank you” to the Hoppers for supporting our fundraiser with these raffle prizes to add to this basket!
The Poker For Preemies fundraiser is next Thursday, October 24, 7pm-12:30am. If you’d like to come out and support us, there is still time to buy tickets. My wife and I attended last year’s event and had a wonderful time. We even won one of the awesome prize baskets! The evening features food, music, dancing, and all sorts of casino games. Each ticket includes 10,000 chips for gaming at tables such as blackjack, craps, roulette and poker. Tables will be open from 7:30-10:30 so be sure to arrive early to get your game on! Not into cards? No problem! At any point in the evening, you can “cash” in your chips for raffle tickets. 5,000 chips = 1 ticket. Additional raffle tickets will be available for purchases. Put all your raffle tickets in the prize basket featuring the Hoppers memorabilia and you might just be the lucky winner! If you’re not able to attend the fundraiser, but would like to support FSNCC with a tax-deductible donation, we are happy to accept donations in a variety of ways.
Thanks again to the Hoppers for supporting FSNCC through their generous donation of memorabilia to be used as raffle prizes. If you are involved with a charitable organization in the greater Triad area, I encourage you to contact the Hoppers with a donation request for your charity. It really feels good to be a Hoppers Fan when you hear about some of the ways the team gets involved in the community outside of baseball.
Thank you for reading this blog entry that spent more time focusing on a non-profit organization that means a lot to Jordan and me than it did focusing on Hoppers baseball. I sincerely hope you’ll consider supporting us as well. If you’d like to learn more about FSNCC and/or Poker For Preemies, here are a bunch of links to check out:
- Family Support Network of Central Carolina Web Page
- Family Support Network of Central Carolina on Facebook
- Poker For Preemies Web Page
- Poker For Preemies on Facebook
- Poker For Preemies Tickets
- Poker For Preemies Donations (with a chance to win tickets to the event!)
Over the years of enjoying Greensboro Grasshopper baseball and writing this blog, I’ve been extremely thrilled to meet so many great people and make lots of new friends. Among these friends are Patrick Abbott and his son, Eli. Eli is a budding young sports photographer and memorabilia collector. Patrick is an encouraging and supportive dad. They’re semi-regular contributors to this blog. Earlier this week, the Grasshoppers provided Eli a wonderful experience about… well, let me turn it over to Patrick to tell the story.
Coaches Reaching Out To The Fans And Giving Back
When the season started, as usual we had no idea who the new players were or how the team would play together this season, but we did know that we had two returning coaches from 2012. My son and I decided that we would travel to Hickory on a Saturday night during the Grasshoppers opening series in April and check them out for ourselves. We even saw some familiar fan faces from Greensboro when we arrived. Saturday turned out to be a double header due to an earlier rainout. Between games my 7 yr old son Eli was approached by hitting coach Frank Moore about giving up his orange Hopper hat so he could wear it during the game. Of course, he refused to give it up. Frank continued in the months ahead to get his hat and was successful on a couple of occasions.
Last Saturday Frank offered Eli a chance to hit in their batting cage before the season was over. I didn’t give it a second thought until Frank called out to me after the game Sunday and suggested that I bring him out Monday night and before the game he would take Eli to their cages and let him swing away. I thought, “very cool” and come Monday evening Eli showed up at the game sporting his Hopper cap and wearing his batting gloves as he went through the turnstile. Frank showed up a short time later, guided him downstairs and for 20 minutes allowed him to take BP. When it was over they both walked out through the player tunnel together with Eli holding a new wooden bat that had been signed by all of the Grasshopper players while he was downstairs hitting what Frank had to offer. This took my wife and I totally by surprise. Needless to say Eli was so happy about his bat and BP experience. He has accumulated a lot of Hopper memorabilia including more player autographs and photos than any youngster needs, but being given this bat by Frank and for the players to take their time to sign it for him really meant a lot to the little guy and us. Now in his bedroom, among all of his other team memorabilia, the bat is by far the coolest.
We recognize that these players and coaches are only here for a few months and for the majority they’re off to continue their careers elsewhere after their season in Greensboro. Their priority is to play baseball and improve their skills, so when players and coaches take their time to give a little back to their fans, especially the younger ones, it means a lot. I hope that if my son should ever be on the other side of the fence so to speak, he will remember what others have done for him and give it right back. Thanks to Frank and all of the players and coaches for another memorable season of Greensboro Grasshopper baseball! You’ll surely be missed but we wish all the best in the future.
Patrick, thanks so much for sharing this story! It’s things like this that make it special to be a Hoppers Fan. I’m glad to hear that Eli had a great time taking BP, and that the generosity of the Hoppers organization made a good impression on him. That bat is a wonderful tangible souvenir, but I’m betting the memories that were made will be the highlight of the experience as the years pass on.
The Hoppers are winding down for the season, and let’s be honest — I think we’ll all be happy to put this one in the books. With just four more games to go — all away — the season will be over and the Hoppers will be watching the playoffs from their various homes. Maybe a few players will get shuffled up in the Marlins organization to help out some of the other teams at the end, but most everyone will scatter here and there, maybe playing some winter ball. Then comes the long wait until Spring Training, when we’ll be presented with a whole new team, possibly a familiar face or two, and a wonderful SAL leader board where every team in the league is in first place.
Edit: As Patrick pointed out in the comments, the Hoppers have one more home stand next week! I was looking at the calendar wrong when I wrote this. Oops! Hope I’ll be able to make it out to a game next week, and hope to see you there!
It’s been since Father’s Day since I’ve been able to make it out to the ballpark for a game. I had a free evening, and with last night’s game being rained out, today was a double-header for the Greensboro Grasshoppers against the Hagerstown Suns. I was pretty excited about being able to see a good amount of baseball and catch up with a handful of my ballpark friends. I rushed to the ballpark as soon as I could after work, and still only managed to get there a few innings into the first matchup. I had a great time hanging out with some of my friends. The baseball was just so-so. The Hoppers ended up losing both games in the double-header. The first game ended in a score of 2-6 (box | recap), and the second game ended in a score of 7-2 (box | recap).
On the field, one of the highlights for me was finally getting a chance to see the current most-talked-about Hopper: Colin Moran. Moran recently signed with the Marlins for $3.5 million and is currently playing third base for the Hoppers. He had a decent night. His defense was textbook. Offensively, he came away with a few sacrifice flies, a few RBIs, and a beautiful double. I think it’s going to be fun to follow his career, and I expect he’ll progress through the system at a decent pace. After the game, Moran took the time to sign autographs for everyone who was asking for one. That’s pretty classy in my book, especially after having endured losses in both games of the double-header.
Even though he was charged with the loss, I also enjoyed watching Austin Brice pitch the second game. For the first several innings, his pitching was beautiful. Fastballs for strikes, change ups making the batters looking foolish. But as the night wore on, he started losing control. He was finally pulled with one out in the fifth inning, after loading the bases. He’s definitely got potential, but he’s also got a bit of work to do.
I’m not sure when I’ll make it back out to a game, but it sure was nice to make it out tonight. I didn’t score the first game since I came in partway through, but here’s how I had the second one:
Remember, you can click on any of the pictures in the post to embiggen them. Join the conversation by leaving a comment — what are you thinking?
As we hit the midway point of the 2013 regular season, the All-Star Game takes center stage. The recently completed Fan Voting saw a lot of debating and campaigning in our community, and you can expect that to continue with the Final Vote looming. The biggest news around here is the return of the…
Very cool to see Hoppers Fan make the monthly "Latest Leaders" list for June 2013, I think for the first time. It's also great to see our friends over at Bill On Baseball representing the Hoppers on the MiLB Pro front as well. Thanks to everyone who follows the blog, leaves comments, interacts with our FaceBook page, and hunts us down at the ballpark!
Over the last couple decades Greensboro has seen some incredible, sometimes historic ballplayers grace the diamond. Andy Petitte, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton, Bryce Harper, Brian McCann, and Ryan Howard have all brushed through Greensboro. Some of the ballplayers were on the Greensboro team that was affiliated with the New York Yankees, others played for the Marlins affiliate. Some even played on opposing teams that gave us a chance to get a glimpse at a major leaguer in a minor league ballpark. Before the season started Greg and I went to go see the movie “42″ together. It tells the story of Jackie Robinson‘s entry into Major League Baseball. Phenomenal movie. I realized during that movie, that I didn’t know that much about good ol’ Jackie. So I started doing some research and anything that had his name on it, I was intrigued to read it. It wasn’t too much longer, Bill On Baseball‘s Bill Hass wrote me a message to check out his article in the Greensboro Grasshoppers game day program. It was about Jackie Robinson and his ties to Greensboro. Bill has been so gracious to give us permission to share with you guys his story on baseball’s Hall Of Famer, Jackie Robinson, and his connections to Greensboro.
Jackie Robinson And His Ties To Greensboro
by Bill Hass
Jackie Robinson’s impact on the game of baseball and society in America was immense.
I don’t think I fully understood to what extent until I wrote a story in 2004 for the News & Record of Greensboro. It focused on how the stands were segregated in War Memorial Stadium, which didn’t change until the early 1960s.
One of the people I interviewed was Spencer Gwynn, the long-time voice of football and basketball at North Carolina A&T, who summed up what Robinson meant to African-Americans in 25 words.
“Black people all over the country identified with him,” Gwynn said. “When Jackie struck out, we struck out. When Jackie stole a base, we stole a base.”
Many people don’t realize that Robinson played three times in Memorial Stadium. Or they may remember two games, in 1950 and 1951, when the Brooklyn Dodgers played the Greensboro Patriots in exhibition games as they traveled north from spring training in Florida.
But the largely forgotten game, and the first time Robinson played here, came on Oct. 14, 1949. Robinson had a team of barnstorming all-stars that came to town to play against a local team of black all-stars.
Segregation of Memorial Stadium’s stands was suspended for that day. An advance story in the Greensboro Daily News noted that “a special section of box and reserved seats has been set aside for white spectators.”
That meant black fans, instead of having to sit in “their section” down the foul line behind first base, could sit anywhere.
Robinson’s presence created what Gwynn called “an electric crowd.” The official attendance was listed at 6,620 and Robinson was quoted as saying, “I know 3,000 crawled over the fences that weren’t counted.”
Robinson’s team won, 11-5. One of the opposing players was James Tonkins, a second baseman for the Greensboro Red Birds, a semi-pro team that played its games in Memorial Stadium.
“I remember he went sightseeing on old East Market Street, meeting people,” Tonkins told me. “It seemed like he went on campus (at N.C. A&T) that day.
“What fascinated me so much was how pigeon-toed he was, almost like he was walking on the tips of his toes. He was quite a guy, real outgoing. His appearance created quite a bit of interest.”
So did Robinson’s second appearance, on April 11, 1950. The Dodgers crushed the Patriots 22-0 and Robinson had three hits and two RBIs and scored twice. Attendance was 8,434, the largest crowd up until then to watch a baseball game in North Carolina.
The crowd probably was larger. Patriots owner Rufus Blanchard estimated that 1,500 youngsters slipped over the fence. One account told of 500 people “clinging perilously to tree branches and rooftops outside the stadium.”
For some reason I did not document, at least in that story, Robinson’s third appearance here. It came in April of 1951 and it’s likely the Dodgers won and the crowd was large.
I started thinking about all this after recently seeing the movie “42,” an account of 1947, the year Robinson broke the color barrier in the major leagues. For the most part, it was well done and a fitting tribute to what Robinson endured that season, set against the background of the social changes he helped set in motion.
The movie strived to be as authentic as possible — the physical resemblance between Robinson and actor Chadwick Boseman is uncanny — although it took some dramatic license with incidents and characters.
Two characters in the movie, both of whom are cast in a bad light, have a Greensboro connection. Dixie Walker, Robinson’s teammate, played with the Patriots in 1928 at age 17, although he appeared in just six games.
Walker is accurately depicted as one of the Dodgers who signed a petition — rejected by team president Branch Rickey — saying they would not play if Robinson was a member of the team. Although the movie implies otherwise, there is no evidence Walker gave Robinson a hard time during their season together.
In his biography “I Never Had It Made,” Robinson uses a quote from Walker that appeared in The Sporting News: “Dixie Walker summed it up in a few words the other day when he said: ‘No other ballplayer on this club with the possible exception of Bruce Edwards, has done more to put the Dodgers up in the race than Robinson has. He is everything Branch Rickey said he was when he came up from Montreal.”
Another “villain” in the movie is Pittsburgh pitcher Fritz Ostermueller. Unlike Walker, he didn’t just pass through Greensboro. He pitched for the Patriots in 1931, going 15-9, and in 1932, when he was 21-9.
In the movie Ostermueller, who died of cancer at age 50 in 1956, is shown as hitting Robinson in the head with a pitch and saying “You don’t belong here.” But there are several problems with the scene.
First, he was a left-hander, not right-handed as the movie shows. Second, research by several sources indicates that while Robinson was hit by Ostermueller’s pitch, it wasn’t in the head. The pitch may have been up and in, but Robinson was struck in the left forearm that he raised to protect himself, then fell to the ground. And there is no account that says Ostermueller shouted at Robinson.
The Dodgers are shown rallying around the fallen Robinson and shouting at Ostermueller, and accounts of the day bear that out.
Ostermueller’s daughter, Sherrill Duesterhaus, has publicly criticized the directors for unfairly portraying her father as a racist. Robinson didn’t seem bothered by the incident. In his book, the only mention of Ostermueller, whom he referred to as “Fitz,” is that during a game in Pittsburgh, Robinson noticed the pitcher had become “a little careless and relaxed.” So he stole home with what turned out to be the winning run.
Make what you will of Walker and Ostermueller. I just found it interesting that two players with Greensboro backgrounds played important parts in “42.”
There are two more indirect connections between Jackie Robinson and Greensboro. One came in 2002, when the second baseman for the Greensboro Bats was Robinson Cano, now a star for the New York Yankees. Cano told me his father named him for Jackie Robinson.
The other connection concerns Mariano Rivera, the great Yankees closer who played for the Greensboro Hornets in 1991 and 1993. Rivera, who will retire after this season, is the last player in the major leagues to wear the number 42, which was permanently retired several years ago for all teams.
It seems a fitting legacy that the now-famous number of Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson is being worn for the last time by future Hall-of-Famer Mariano Rivera.
That is one thing that makes Greensboro such a spectacular place to watch a game. You never know who you are watching make history. With storied names like Robinson, Jeter, Stanton, Petitte, Fernandez, it just makes Greensboro all the more fun. If you looked back in the history pages you would see that it has been and forever will be… A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!!!
Once again, we offer a sincere thank you to Bill Hass for sharing this incredible story. You can check out all of Bill’s stories on his “Bill On Baseball” blog. This story about Jackie Robinson is also set to run again in the Greensboro Grasshoppers program during their June 24-30 home stand against the Asheville Tourists and the Delmarva Shorebirds, so be sure to check it out in print when you’re at the ballpark next week!
Last year, for my first Father’s Day as a father, I instituted a tradition with my daughter: go to a baseball game. Rorie was only a few weeks old and still in the NICU, so I went without her. I’ve been looking forward to Father’s Day all year so we could go together. This was Rorie’s first trip to a ballgame, and she really seemed to enjoy herself.
The Greensboro Grasshoppers were playing the West Virginia Power, and due to an excessively long after-church nap (don’t wake a sleeping baby, even for baseball!), we didn’t make it out to the park until the seventh inning. That actually worked great — all the activity at the ballpark is a lot for a one-year-old to take in, and I don’t think Rorie’s up for a full game yet. A couple of innings was just about the right length for her.
When we got to the park, the Hoppers were up 7-5, which turned out to be the final score. Check out the official box and recap for all the details. There weren’t any remarkable plays in the last few innings and it was just nice to watch the Hoppers wrap up a win to finish things out before the All-Star break. Bill Hass has a great write-up of the game, including thoughts about how the Hoppers finished overall for the first half of the season. Things seem to be turning around a little, so there’s hope that the team can buckle down and secure a playoff spot in the second half of the season.
All in all, it was a great day to be at the ballpark. It was fun watching our boys secure a win. I loved catching up with a handful of my ballpark friends. But the highlight of of the trip for me was definitely after the game, when they have “Kids Run The Bases.” Rorie and I went out and ran them. She laughed and giggled the whole time. With the breeze flowing through her hair, she thought she was flying. When we got to the end, I made sure her feet hit home plate.
I’m already looking forward to the next opportunity I have to take my daughter to the ballgame!
Baseball fans aren't going to forget 2012 any time soon. We saw the debuts of phenomenal young talent, we marveled at historic feats and we held on through truly memorable Postseason moments. Bloggers were there every step of the way, and now is the time to honor those who made the annual Top 100 MLB.com Blogs list. Once again the…
Thanks to everyone who reads Hoppers Fan, we ended up on the top 100 MLB.com Blogs list for all of 2012! With family obligations and trying to keep up with the Hoppers themselves, keeping track of the blog standings just kinda slipped past us. When MLB.com announced this in January, we simply didn't notice. It's great to know that there are lots of folks out there enjoying what we write and the photos we share. It's also great to see that a blog devoted to a Single-A Minor League team in North Carolina is as popular as blogs devoted to Major League teams. From Jordan and me, to all of you, thank you!
I had pinned this series “The Battle Of The Bugs.” This series is between the Augusta Greenjackets and the Greensboro Grasshoppers. With all the buzz about today’s game, I made it out there hoping to see a stinger of a game. And that’s what I got. It was a very low scoring defensive affair. Lee Clark and Josh Royster, two of my friends at the ballpark, did the between inning Sumo Wrestling match. It was a tough match, but Josh won all three rounds to come out victorious! I got to looking around during the match and realized the day game crowds are much different than at night. The crowd today of 4,051 was mostly compiled of Senior Citizens and School Children/Day Cares. I saw a group of Seniors posing for a photo with Guilford the Grasshopper. They looked to be having a great time. Which got me to thinking… Is it the day game “BASEBALL BINGO” they were coming for? Because I know my grandma really loves her Bingo games. That could be. Whichever the case may be, it is great to see children of all ages, young and old enjoying America’s greatest pastime.
On to the game… I was sitting up in the Papa John’s K Zone for most of the game with Lee Clark. Lee as you may remember was one of the SuperFans we highlighted earlier in the season. He is a great guy, as well as being avid fan of the Hoppers. While out there I saw a cruise missile of a ball hit to the far left field wall. Cody Keefer doubled on that line drive to Rafael Rodriguez. Matt Juengel would score on that play. That made the game 1-0. Viosergy Rosa came to the plate that same inning and smashed a Home Run off the Marriott Hotel in Downtown. That home run made number 11 for Rosa on the year. The score was then 2-0 heading into the fourth inning. Then Mitchell Delfino hit a home run for the Greenjackets making the score 2-1. The Hoppers would make the defensive stand to go on to win, 2-1. The Hoppers are currently 27-30 on the season and in fourth place in the Northern Division. Games one and two of this three game homestand, The Battle Of The Bugs, go to the Greensboro Grasshoppers. The Hoppers look to sweep the series tomorrow night in Greensboro. The first pitch will be slung at 7:00pm. Till next time… IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!
For all the details, check out the full recap and box score of today’s game. And also don’t forget that since the Hoppers recorded 5 Strikeouts today, you can go to PAPAJOHN’S.com and order Pizza 50% off using promo code: HOPPERS. Please stop in and check out our friend Bill Hass, as he does the official “BILL ON BASEBALL” blog for the Grasshoppers.
Just recently the minor league baseball website, milb.com, hosted a “Food Fight” between all the stadiums in the minor leagues. This rumble featured items like the BBQ Sundae, the Nuke Dog, and our very own Homeplate Burger. Watching this little competition the last couple weeks got me thinking. To those of you that don’t know me on a more personal level, I’m a Chef by profession. I have made food my life and source of passions. I am a former Food Service Director for a Multi-Million dollar assisted living facility. So, naturally this caught my attention. I decided to do a food review of my own in regards to the stadium concessions.
Greensboro Grasshopper’s 1/2 lb Homeplate Burger
To start with… where is Patrick Taylor and why is he not popping at the ballpark? He became a staple at the park. You had Guilford, Spaz, and Taylormade Kettle Corn. You have kettle corn in the ballpark, but it just isn’t the same. If you just want popcorn its there. But if you want to support a local business that happens to be a supperb guy, Taylormade was the way to go. I would be all for a rally to speak to Donald Moore about renegotiating his contract out there. He seems to have sacrificed quality for profit. And the new kettle corn people are cheaper, but as in most things, you get what you pay for. Until Pat is back in the ballpark serving up good quality corn, I say skip the kettle corn for now.
Pita Delite is in the ballpark now. Okay, let me clarify that. Pita Delite has two items on a concessions stand window. You have the Chicken Salad Pita and a Steak and Cheese Pita. I was skeptical at first, however the steak and cheese was very refreshing. It was also nice to add a little variety to the mix, not just another ordinary hot dog at the ballpark.
The BEST VALUE IN THE BALLPARK this season is probably the Grasshopper Dogs. The stadium guys pick out one hot dog to showcase and feature during each home stand. The Grasshopper Dog is my personal favorite. This monster of a dog reminds me of my trip to Charleston last year to cover the All Star Game for you guys. Charleston had 86 different types of hot dogs and ingredients for your dogs. The Grasshopper Dog boast a large bun, a mound of slaw, squirts of mustard, stadium sauce, and baked beans all piled high on a gorgeous made hot dog bun. Bring your bib, this one’s messy, you won’t need a napkin because this one is finger licking good!
I spoke to Derek Hart just recently. He’s the warehouse manager at the stadium. His favorite concessions are the Giacammos sausages and the walking taco. I have had niether of those. I’ll have to try them my next trip out to the ballpark.
One thing I would like to see out at the stadium more is better support of the local businesses. The cost to advertise is so high that you weed out all the local guys and end up with a corporate ballpark. Taylormade Kettle Corn, here in greensboro, was dropped and a food distributor from Michigan is offering Kettle Corn with their Sno-Cones instead. Jets Pizza “k zone” is now corporately sponsored by Papa Johns. Jets Pizza is located off New Garden Road less than 5 miles from the stadium.
Like a fine wine, the concessions only enhance the dinner portion of the evening, which is baseball. If you find yourself at a Grasshopper game this week, try a Grasshopper Dog. Let us know what you think. Whether its a cheese steak in your hand or a nice cold beer on a hot summer day, ITS A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!
Note: We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment letting us know your favorite snacks at the ballpark. Or perhaps your least favorite?
Today was my first day back at the ballpark in several weeks. My first real trip out to somewhere other than the hospital since Addie was born. I knew our great friends, the Shaw family, was going to be at the game today. On my way in to the stadium, I called Don Moore. He’s the co-founder of greensborosports.com. He told me there were only around 800 people there. Not a good Sunday crowd. Sundays are usually big days at the stadium because the families can go play catch on the field and afterwards they let the kids run the bases. Always a fun day out there. Anyways, I get there and the line to buy my ticket was a 30 minute wait. What happened to the 800 number? Turns out they were sold out today except for general admission lawn seats.
Dylan Shaw, seen above, is my little buddy. His dad and I are great friends. Seeing him have fun at the stadium today reminded me what this is all about. I’ve said it many times before, but when you ask someone the next day about the game, the score, or the two run homer hit out that looked like it hit the Marriott hotel. Odds are to the vast majority of the fans there, today was about good, wholesome, quality time with their family. To guys like me that are avid fans of the Hoppers can tell you stats, rosters, fun facts, ect. This is why its America’s pastime. Baseball brings families and friends together like no other sport can. The excitement of home runs, Babe and Yogi retrieving the bats, the crazy between inning games, and the excitement of spending this time with your family, makes the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the best entertainment value in Greensboro.
Today was a fantastic game on the field as well. Hoppers beat the Delmarva Shorebirds 11-2 ending their current 4 game losing streak. There was a very nice two run homer by Jesus Solarzarno in the sixth that seemed to hit off the Jefferson Pilot building in downtown. The Hoppers also started a rally to make Shorebird stew scoring 7 times in the 8th inning.
So whether you are sitting at home, at the beach, or at a cookout this memorial day, remember IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!