I missed Game 1 against the West Virginia Power, and I’m glad I did, as we took a whomping. I had a church obligation that ran smack dab in the middle of the game, so I skipped it. I did make a brief appearance at the park since the giveaway was the team baseball card set, so I went in the park long enough to pick up a set and buy a few bags of Taylor Made Hot and Sweet Kettle Corn. Seriously, the regular kettle corn is great, but the hot and sweet is amazing. Pat mixes hot sauce in the corn, which gives it a beautiful pinkish color. And the spice is awesome. It’s hot enough that you notice, and it blends well with the sweet. Definitely the best concession in the ballpark.
Game 2, however, was an entirely different story. The theme of this story was Kevin Winters, pitching seven beautiful innings of one-hit baseball. In addition to the single hit he gave up, he issued one walk and seven strikeouts. His performance was notable enough to be featured in an MiLB article. I’ll go ahead and apologize for breaking up his no-hitter in the fourth. After three perfect innings, I tweeted the following: “#GreensboroGrasshoppers RHP Kyle Winters is pitching very efficiently after so far. It’s beautiful. After 3: @HoppinFun 3, @wv_power 0.” I made sure not to say “perfect” or “no-hitter,” but I suppose “efficiently” and “beautiful” were enough to anger the superstitious gods of the diamond — Kyle issued a walk to the very next batter he faced, destroying the chance for perfection. Power hitter Mel Rojas, Jr. reached on a single in the fifth, breaking up the no-hitter.
So, Kyle, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I’ll be more careful what I tweet next time.
Those two batters aside, Winters was efficient. He faced a total of 22 batters, striking 7 of them out — including the final four batters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings. The rest of the outs were fairly evenly spit between ground outs and fly balls, and all of them were easily playable. I loved it.
I snapped a few pitchers of Kyle warming up between innings. I’ve been using a compact camera this year, and it’s just not good for getting pictures of the action on the field. I think I might have to start bringing the DSLR to the park again, like I did last year. Anyway, here are a few pictures of Kyle pitching:
Offensively, the Hoppers were looking good tonight, too. Mark Canha added another home run to his arsenal. Noah Perio and Marcell Ozuna both hit a double. It made for a great day to be a Hoppers Fan at the park. Another notable defensive act was the final out of the game, when Danny Black made an amazing running, jumping catch. Great way to put a cap on such a great game.
Before the game started, I headed over to the autograph table to see who was signing today, and to get my first autograph on this year’s baseball cards. Pitcher Kevin Cravey was signing, and it turns out that he’s not in the card set, because he wasn’t on the team when the cards were printed. He was assigned to Greensboro from the Jammers on June 6, and was placed on the Temporary Inactive list on June 9. The quick internet research I’ve done on him indicates he has a good arm, so I’ll be excited to set him pitch once the team decides to put him on the Active Roster. Anyway, I had a nice short chat with him and got him to autograph one of the BP balls I’ve collected.
Here he is sitting at the autograph table:
And here’s the baseball he autographed for me:
Tonight was “Bark In The Park” night, my least favorite promotion. I do like that they keep the dogs over in Natty’s Hill, so at least they’re not all over the park all night. For those of you who love being able to bring your dog out to the park, I’m happy for you. Just be sure to stay over on Natty’s Hill, so I don’t have to worry about stepping on your little puppy or getting tripped up in a leash when I go to get a drink during the game. Here’s a picture of the pre-game dog parade:
Here’s how I had it, which seems to match the official version of the events:
As always, for any of the pictures in this blog post, you can click on them to make them bigger. Check out the photo album on Facebook for all the pictures.