Category: Games

Hoppers Steam The Crawdads…

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President and General Manager Donald Moore with Babe

It was an incredible night for baseball.  The wind was calm and made for a very comfortable night at the ballpark.  It was fantastic to see the crowd out in support of Greensboro baseball.  The between inning games did not disappoint either.  The really do a great job of all around entertainment at the park.  Dollar for dollar, there is no better entertainment deal in Greensboro.

On to the game last night…

Hickory would score first with their second batter of the night, Lewis Brinson.  He would score off a wild pitch by Jarlin Garcia.  When it became the  Greensboro Grasshoppers turn to bat in the bottom of the first, we would see all three batters hit into the gloves of the waiting gloves of the Crawdads.  The second inning would prove to be a fantastic inning for the Hoppers.  They would hit two doubles in the inning causing three runners to cross the plate.  Thus making the score 3-1 Hoppers on top.  The Hoppers, nor the Crawdads, would score for the next three innings.  In the bottom of the sixth inning, there was a “bunch of singling going on…”  Austin Dean would be the first of eight Hoppers to touch first base.  Five of those Hoppers would cross the plate scoring for the good guys.  That would end up being our final score for the night.  8-1 HOPPERS WIN!

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James Wooster, our returning Hopper from the 2011 Championship season pitched last night.  He would see three batters, and no strikeouts.  Jarlin Garcia was our starting pitcher seeing 18 batters and 7 strikeouts.  It was so good to be back in the ballpark and hearing the cracking bats and smell the hot dogs grilling.  It is a sure sign that the long nights of summer are upon us.  With the zingers being thrown from the mound, and the pop of the bat as it slams a homer, to the smile of that little childs face when he meets Guilford for the first time.  All of those reasons is why… IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!

jordan

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What if… We had one Single-A Champion?

This is an awesome idea! Jordan and I would love to cover the same game with you, on opposite sides of the fandom!

Minoring In Baseball

Whatif1The off-season is a time to reflect in the season past, and at the same time look to the future. With sports in general, fans have always conversed on the ‘what if?’ factor, and I’ve been contemplating an idea for months now, ever since last season’s baseball trip. First, let me state that my two favorite Minor League’s are the Midwest League and the South Atlantic League. The MWL has three teams here in Michigan, and is where my hometown team, the West Michigan Whitecaps, reside. We also attend some Great Lakes Loons games over in Midland, and that is a  great venue, also. In fact, I’ve been to every stadium in the MWL except two, the Lake County Captains and the Bowling Green Hot Rods. We’ll get back to those teams momentarily, as they’re important. As for the SALly league, through work training down in Charleston and southern Georgia, I’ve was able to attend…

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Guest Post From Patrick Abbott: Coaches Reaching Out To The Fans And Giving Back

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.

Bat autographed by the 2013 Greensboro Grasshoppers team.

Eli’s Bat, autographed by the 2013 Greensboro Grasshoppers team.

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 Abbott
Elon, NC

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!

-greg

See ya at the ballpark!
Email: hoppersfan@gmail.com
Twitter: @HoppersFan
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HoppersFan

The Sun Sets On The Hoppers Twice In One Night

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.

Moran Scoreboard Moran At Third Moran Hitting A Sac Fly Moran Signing Autographs

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:

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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?

-greg

See ya at the ballpark!
Email: hoppersfan@gmail.com
Twitter: @HoppersFan
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HoppersFan

Father’s Day At The Ballpark

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.

Rorie At The Ballpark

Rorie’s happy that she finally has a hat like Daddy.

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.

Hoppers Win

The Greensboro Grasshoppers leave the field after beating the West Virginia Power 7-5.

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!

-greg

See ya at the ballpark!
Email: hoppersfan@gmail.com
Twitter: @HoppersFan
Facebook: www.facebook.com/HoppersFan

Hoppers Found Something To Buzz About…

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.

Sumo Wrestling between innings is always a fan favorite. Photo credit: Jordan Stowe

Sumo Wrestling between innings is always a fan favorite.
Photo credit: Jordan Stowe

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.

-jordan

HoppersFan Food Review; Good, Bad, and the Ugly

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.

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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!

-jordan

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?