Tagged: baseball

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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Hoppers Go Bird Hunting!

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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.

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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!

-jordan

Bill On Baseball has a great article about today’s game. And check out the box score and game recap for the official summary.

Update On Mini HopperFan: Adeline Stowe

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Hey HoppersFans! Jordan here with an update on the newest addition to the HopperFan community. Some of you might have noticed I’ve been a little MIA lately on the blog. My wife and I were expecting a baby girl to arrive middle of June. All Star weekend to be exact. Adeline, had other plans. In fact, she was welcomed into the world, May 1st, 2013. Because she was born so early she had to spend some time in the NICU to prepare her for life on the outside. The nurses in the NICU were incredible, and after 3.5 weeks I’m happy to report SHE’S HOME! This was a very difficult time for my wife and I and because of your thoughts and prayers, our baby girl is home.

It has been several weeks since Greg or I have been able to make it to the ballpark. We are both planning on being there for Thursday nights game. Please come by and talk to Greg and myself. Before the game you are likely to find us at the Papa Johns K Zone.  It will be odd being back at the ballpark, but we are looking forward to the sounds of bats cracking, the smell of hot dogs sizzling at “THE DOG POUND”, and watching the best baseball team in the minor leagues with great friends! So from the first pitch to the final out, IT’S STILL A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!

-jordan

Jack McKeon night at the ballpark!

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Jack McKeon Bobblehead I received tonight…

Tonight was Jack McKeon/Steve Bartman night at the ballpark.  For those that don’t know who Jack McKeon is… He’s a legend around these parts.  Jack was nicknamed “Trader Jack“.  He is a former Major League Baseball manager. McKeon played baseball for the College of the Holy Cross. In 2003, he won a World Series with the Florida Marlins. When he took over as manager of the Marlins in 2011 at age 80, he became the second oldest manager in major league history.  McKeon previously managed the Kansas City Royals from 1973 to 1975, the Oakland Athletics in 1977 and 1978, the San Diego Padres from 1988 to 1990, and the Cincinnati Reds from 1997 to 2000. From 1981 to 1990, he served as general manager of the Padres, forming the team which won the 1984 National League pennant. McKeon was named National League Manager of the year in 1999 and 2003. The latter award was a result of leading the Marlins, who had a record below .500 when he took the job as their manager during the season, to a World Series victory. With that victory, he became, at 72, the oldest manager to win the World Series, winning against the New York Yankees.On October 2, 2005, just after the Marlins won the last game of the 2005 season, McKeon announced that he would not be returning the following season. McKeon led the Marlins to three of the six winning seasons in franchise history.

Again, even to say he’s a legend, might even be an understatement.

What tonight was about, was something that occurred ten years ago.  Tonight was “Have any of you ever heard of Steve Bartman?”  Yeah, me either… He apparently is a fan, beloved by the Florida Marlins organization.  I have searched the internet, talked to staff at the ballpark, and did some research of my own, on this Steve Bartman guy.  And furthermore, why would the Hoppers have a night shared for a Legend, and someone no one has ever heard of?

So, I went to Wikipedia, and here’s what I found…

The Steve Bartman incident occurred during a Major League Baseball playoff game between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins on October 14, 2003, atWrigley Field in Chicago. In the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, with Chicago ahead 3–0 and holding a 3 games to 2 lead in the best of 7 series, several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Marlins’ second baseman Luis Castillo. One of the fans, Steve Bartman, reached for the ball, deflecting it and disrupting a potential catch by Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou. If Alou had caught the ball, it would have been the second out in the inning, and the Cubs would have been just four outs away from winning the National League pennant. Instead, the Cubs ended up surrendering eight runs in the inning, giving up the lead. They went on to lose the game, 8-3. When they were eliminated in the seventh game the next day, the “Steve Bartman incident” was seen as the “first domino” in the turning point of the series.

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In the aftermath of the incident, Bartman, a lifelong Cubs fan, had to be escorted from the stadium by security guards, and received police protection for a time when his name and address were made public on MLB message boards. The next night, back at Wrigley Field, Florida overcame Kerry Wood and a 5–3 deficit to win 9–6, and win the pennant.  The Marlins would go on to win the 2003 World Series, beating the New York Yankees four games to two.

The Cubs have not won a playoff game since the incident. They did not reach the playoffs in the three subsequent seasons, were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2007 NLDS, were swept again by the NL West champions LA Dodgers in the 2008 NLDS, and missed the playoffs from 2009 on.

News footage of the game showed him surrounded by security as passersby pelted him with drinks and other debris. Bartman’s name, as well as personal information about him, appeared on Major League Baseball’s online message boards minutes after the game ended. As many as six police cars gathered outside his home to protect Bartman and his family following the incident.Afterwards, then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich suggested that Bartman join a witness protection program, while then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush offered Bartman asylum.

So… the connection?  Jack Mckeon was the Manager of the Marlins that night.  To the baseball community, it’s because of Steve Bartman, that Jack McKeon shows off that beautiful thing we like to call the World Series Championship ring.

Since it was Jack Mckeon/Steve Bartman night the games were likewise themed.  In the between inning promotions, you would have someone dressed as Steve Bartman run on the field and disrupt or interfere with the game.  It was rather humorous.  During the sausage race, a look-a-like came on the field and distracted the hot sausage so that sage could claim its first win of the season!

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Also, happening tonight was the HoppersFan  baseball giveaway.  Josh Royster was our winner, along with Chris Johnson, from High Point.  Josh Royster won a Christian Yelich autographed baseball and Chris took home a Jose Fernandez autographed baseball.  Both of these balls were game used balls.  Please stay tuned for our next promotion and giveaway!

The Hoppers lost tonight by the score of 5-2 to the Hickory Crawdads… Check out the official box score, recap, and as always, don’t forget to check out our friends at Greensborosports.com

Even though tonight was a loss, it is because of men like Jack McKeon and because we have the best fans in all of baseball… It just makes it A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!

-jordan

(Photo Credits: Wikipedia (Steve Bartman Incident) and Jordan Stowe)

(Resources: Wikipedia: Steve Bartman  Incident)

Heart Attack Hoppers Strike Again!

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Newbridge Bank Park (Hoppers Home Stadium)

Wow! What a night at the ballpark!  I don’t know where to begin…  So I’ll start from the beginning of my night out there.  As I walked up to the K zone tonight, where I was mostly hanging out, I saw a familiar face of my friend and Greensborosports.com radio host, Andy Durham.  Andy wanted to take some time and interview Don Moore and myself.  Don about the Hoppers and the Papa John’s K Zone and myself about the blog.  So if you caught any of the pregame on the radio, you heard yours truly! That was a great start to the night to say the least.  I love going out to the ballpark and seeing friends, and now, i guess family.  After three years at the ballpark, I call it my second home.  Which would make all of you, the fans, family.

As I was sitting up at the K Zone I witnessed only my second ever GRAND SLAM out of the park.  Too bad it was for the opposing team.  I decided then, it was a good time to move to the brighter pastures. So to speak.  I’m rather superstitious about that.  Thats why it doesn’t matter what my seat is, I generally am not going to sit in it.  I walk around and mingle with people, talk to fans, players, coaches, families, friends, and most importantly, the vendors.  And I love the Dog Pound this year at the park!  If you haven’t had a Chicago Dog or a Milwaukee Brat you are missing out!  Tonights special dog was the grasshopper dog.  It consisted of a hot dog, slaw, baked beans, stadium sauce, and spicy mustard.  I definitely miss Pat with the Taylor Made Kettle Corn.  With offerings like the steak and Cheese from Pita Delite and the scrumptious pizza from Hungry Howie’s, I think we will be okay!

Onto the game…  Ramon Del Orbe would start the night on the mound for the Hoppers.  He pitched 4 innings, allowed 7 hits, and slung 4 strikeouts.  Sadly though, one of the 7 hits allowed was the Grand Slam home run.  He was quickly replaced by Jheyson Manzueta.  He pitched 3 innings, allowed 2 hits, and no strikeouts.

The excitement for this game came in the bottom of the 8th inning.  Here’s the scenario, Hoppers down by 1.  The score is 5-4 Sand Gnats lead the game.  Jesus Solorzano steps up and smashes a solo home run tying the game at 5 apiece.  Cody Keefer would then triple on a fly ball to center fielder Brandon Nimmo causing Matt Juengel to score.  This would make the Hoppers up by one.  And you know the saying, it’s not over till it’s over… well the Hoppers were not ready for it to be over tonight! In the top of the 9th, the Sand Gnats were just like the bugs they are, and just would not go away.  They would score 3 more times in the 9th inning.  Putting them ahead 8-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.  We have called them this several times on this blog, but the HEART ATTACK HOPPERS have struck again.  With one out, down by 2, Viosergy Rosa would belt a three run walk off home run to win the game! That made the final score 9-8. HOPPERS WIN!  HOPPERS WIN! HOPPERS WIN!

This was definitely an amazing night at the ballpark.  Please don’t forget in order to listen by way of radio you must go through our friends at greensborosports.com.

Box Score and Recap 

Bill on Baseball

Walk off Home runs, grand slams, hot dogs, and friends… thats what makes tonight… A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!

-jordan

Hoppers Shut Out Lakewood; 8-0

Tonight was an amazing night at the ballpark.  Let me first start by saying that I was unable to be at the ballpark last night due to a prior obligation for the Jamestown Newspaper.  I also photograph and cover High School games and other events around the area.  This one in particular was a Varsity Baseball game hosted by Ragsdale High School against the cowboys of Southwest.  The VS-CANCER FOUNDATION is a foundation that uses the platform of sports to raise awareness and money for cancer research.  Between the two high schools, they raised over 10,000 dollars!  Amazing what can happen when a bunch of high school kids rally around a cause.  I was thoroughly impressed with not only the heart and passion of the team as a team, but at the end of the game, every player shaved their heads in honor of the awareness raised that night.  Last night, life was just a little bigger than baseball.

Once you walk into the ballpark, there are several things different this year.  First of all, Taylor Made Kettle Corn is no longer there.  Which to those that know Greg and I personally, this is a big blow.  We were both disappointed opening night that Pat wasn’t out there with his kettle corn. Chick-Fil-A is also no longer there.  I will miss the Chick-Fil-A double plays, as that was a big part of my diet last season.  At first, I was a little disappointed to see that there is now a Pita Delite in the ballpark.  How is Pita Delite going to work amongst the Hot Dogs, Nachos, and BBQ?  Then I saw the steak and cheese’s… I’m now very happy there is a Pita Delite there now!  To us season ticket holders, it gets mundane eating hot dogs every night.  And Papa John’s now sponsors the Greensborosports.com K zone.  Every game they issue a promo code for discounts for Papa John’s pizza based on the number of strikeouts.  Shanna and I had dinner the other night 50% off!

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Austin Brice, RHP

Onto tonight’s game…. The Hoppers shut out the last place Lakewood Blueclaws 8-0.  Tony Caldwell hit the grasshoppers first home run out of New Bridge Bank Park this season!  The Hoppers runs came in spurts and Austin Brice was slinging fire tonight.  Austin Brice threw 5 innings, allowed 2 hits, and slung 4 strikeouts.  Tonights pitching staff only saw 4 hits total from the Blueclaws!

Spotlight player of the night definately goes to Tony Caldwell.  Tony had four at bats, hitting in three of them.  He was only a triple away from completely a cycle tonight; having a single, double, and a home run.

With this win tonight, the Hoppers move to 7-3 on the season. They are currently undefeated at home with a record of 3-0.  The Hoppers intend on keeping the first place seat warm, but the Shorebirds are knocking on that door.

Be sure to click for a full recap of the game and box score, along with Bill On Baseball’s Blog from tonight.  And while you’re at it, hop on over to our friends at greensborosports.com.

With an on-feild temperature of 75 degrees, it was definately A GREAT NIGHT TO BE A HOPPER!

-jordan

(Photo Credit: Jordan Stowe)

Hoppers Start Season By Stewin’ Crawdads

For those that made the trip to Hickory to see the season opener, you were not disappointed.  The one field temperature was a beautiful 64 degrees and clear skies.  It was a great night to be at the ballpark.  After last nights game was snowed out… It does seem odd that the temperature change was so drastic.  The Grasshoppers took this opportunity to stew some Crawdads while they were there.  The Hickory Crawdads, that is.  Hickory’s stadium is just a hop, skip, and a jump down Interstate 40.  So I guess you could say they are our in-state rivals.  Further down I-40 is the Asheville Tourist, the defending SAL league Champions.

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Tony Caldwell, Catcher

Tonights opener had all the makings of a blockbuster from the second you walked in the gate.  The grounds crew, the ticketing office, and all front office staff were dressed in tuxes.  When approached as to why they were “all dressed up”, they simply replied, “I was always taught to never turn down a chance to dress up…” He went on to say that “Some occasions are just worth dressing up for.”  I guess, to the Crawdads, Opening Day was such the occasion.  The Hoppers had something else on their mind.  The last time the Grasshoppers suited up and laced their cleats, was for the Championship Game in Greensboro.  They lost that game to the Asheville Tourists.  The Hoppers are back… with a heck of a statement to start the season.

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Coaches Walking to the Grasshoppers Dugout

The Crawdads would start the season opener quick with a 1-0 start.  Quickly sitting down seven (7) Grasshoppers called on strikeouts.  It would actually be rather mundane or boring till the fifth inning.  In the fifth inning, Ross Wilson would score off of a single line drive by Yieson Hernandez, tying the score.  In the very next inning (6th), Ross Wilson would single sending Anthony Gomez home to put the Hoppers up by one.  Those two scores would make it 2-1 Grasshoppers lead.  Hickory had an answer of their own, Ryan Rua would score off of throwing error by third baseman Yordy Cabrera.  With the score now tied in the 6th, it leaves you wondering who has the momentum to carry the win?  Who wants it more?  Who has the heart to finish it out?  In the top of the eighth the Hoppers would answer those questions.  With two outs, Cody Keefer would single on a ground ball to center fielder Lewis Brinson. Yordy Cabrera and Jesus Solorzano would cross the plate for what would end up as your final score of 4-2.  HOPPERS WIN HOPPERS WIN HOPPERS WIN!  With this win, the Hoppers record on Opening night is an impressive 6-2 leading all the way back to their first season, 2005.

I’m very excited to check out these guys as the weeks go by.  Don’t forget to click on your favorite players to be connected to their profile page to keep up with all the latest stats, news, and more.  Also, don’t forget to check out the Full Recap and Box Score.  Starting out the season with a win means only one thing…. IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!!!

-jordan

(Photo Credit: Roy Royster)