The Lakewood BlueClaws rolled into Greensboro for a four-game series from July 4-7. I was out of town visiting family for the July 4 game (which the Hoppers lost 2-5), but made it to the rest of the games in the series. The July 5 game was another loss (2-7), and it was was another hot day game. I had the day off from work in recognition of the Independence Day holiday and got back into town just in time to make it to the game. It was another hot day — the temperature cooled down while the boys were on the road, but climbed back up once they came back to town.
One of the ceremonial first pitches was thrown by Sweet Lou Whitaker, a second baseman for the Detroit Tiger from 1977 to 1995. Apparently, Sweet Lou lives in a nearby town and is friends with the owner of the Hoppers, so his presence at the ballpark isn’t terribly out of the ordinary. It was definitely pretty cool to see a major leaguer throw a first pitch on the field.
The most interesting part of the game was what I believe was the professional debut of right-handed pitcher Robert Morey. I might have previously seen Morey pitch during this year’s ACC Tournament, which was held in Greensboro. I just don’t remember if I saw a Virginia game where he pitched or not. The Marlins drafted him in the 5th round of this year’s draft and he was assigned to the Jamestown Jammers. I couldn’t find a record of him pitching in Jamestown before getting moved up to Greensboro, so I think his appearance against the BlueClaws was his pro debut. It appears that pitcher Anillins Martinez was released in order to make room for Morey on the roster. Morey pitched two innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 run, and getting 2 strikeouts. In what is called a “piggyback” start (thanks to Bill on Baseball’s recent blog entry for explaining that term), Morey was replaced by Curtis Peterson, who pitched for five innings, allowing 6 hits, 3 runs, and striking out 4. Alejandro (AJ) Ramos closed the final two innings, allowing 3 runs off 2 hits and getting 3 strikeouts.
Here’s a series of pictures of Robert Morey throwing a warm-up pitch:
This game marked the third appearance of my Rally Cap since I started paying attention to its win-loss record. I pulled the Rally Cap in the top of the 8th, when AJ took the mound. The Hoppers were down 4-2, and I thought my Cap might work its magic again when Greensboro turned a nice double play followed by a skillful strikeout. Alas, the magic wasn’t working and my Rally Cap suffered its first loss since I started keeping track, bringing it to a 2-1 record. The Cap would make another appearance in the next game.
Sausage Race (between 2nd and 3rd): won by Hot Sausage. Country was looking good, but stopped to do a line dance between third and home.
Sumo (middle of 3rd): won by Blue Sumo
The Hoppers have recently reintroduced their “strikeout victim” promotion. They choose a batter on the opposing team, and if that batter strikes out, everyone at the game gets a coupon for a free item from a local business. In years past, it was sponsored by Waffle House and the coupon was for a free waffle. It was hugely popular with the fans. Every time the strikeout victim would appear at the plate, the stadium would erupt with cries of “Waffle! Waffle! Waffle!” With Waffle House’s financial woes this year, I don’t think they could afford to sponsor the promotion again. So, for the first half of the season, there was no strikeout victim. Recently, Sheetz has stepped up to sponsor the promotion and it’s called “Fry Guy” because if the batter strikes out, everyone gets a coupon for free fries. The problem the Hoppers were having is that the fans just couldn’t seem to get into the rhythm of chanting “Fry Guy” like they would “Waffle.” I think the promotions department has come up with a solution — they now put someone on each dugout with a sign. On the third base side, it’s “FRY” and on the first base side, it’s “GUY.” Under their leading, the crowd is much more lively in getting the chanting going. Here’s a picture of Laura on the third base side, holding up the “FRY” sign:
Somehow, I messed up the batting order on my scoring program, so I only scored a couple of innings of the game. No scoresheets to share this time.
All of my pictures from the game are on Facebook.