Yeah, it’s been a long time since I’ve made a Hoppers Fan blog update. I apologize. I’ve been to a lot of games. I’ve got a bunch of pictures. I’ve had a lot of fun. I just haven’t had much time for blogging. I’m going to try to fix that starting with tonight’s game and working backwards until I catch back up to where I left off.
Before I can talk about tonight’s game, though, I need to mention yesterday’s games. Yesterday, we played a double-header against the Kannapolis Intimidators. We lost both games, it was pretty sad. As I left the ballpark, I swung by the fan information booth to have a little chat with Lindsay, who was working the booth. It went something like this:
Lindsay: Hi, Greg! Thanks for coming, have a great night.
Hoppers Fan: Thanks, Lindsay. I have a question. Is there where I can register a complaint?
L: [Expression turns concerned and serious] Sure, what’s up?
HF: Well, I came to the ballpark today, and got to see two games. I was really expecting to see the Hoppers win at least one of them, but they didn’t deliver. Can you do something about that for me?
L: [Laughing, relived I was joking about a complaint] No problem. I’ll have a talk with them and see what I can do.
Tonight, the Hoppers won. It was a fun game. As I was leaving, Lindsay was handing out Biscuitville coupons to fans as they left the park. (When the Hoppers win, everyone gets a free drink from Biscuitville. I love it.) Lindsay saw me leaving and came over for a quick chat. She told me that she worked on my complaint from last night and wanted to know if I was happy with the results. Of course I was! We had a great laugh — a great way to cap off a fun night at the ballpark. So, Lindsay, thanks for working on that complaint. And if you can remind the team to win tomorrow’s day game, too, I’d really appreciate it.
Seriously, though, this is part of the reason it’s so much fun to go to Grasshoppers ballgames. I’ve found it really hard to find something serious to complain about. The staff, especially, is top-notch. Everyone that I’ve ever encountered is friendly and helpful. Over the season, I’ve been able to get to know a lot of the people who work at the park, and they always seem happy to help the fans however they can. Everyone at the park works hard to make the whole gameday experience a pleasurable one for the fans.
Today was one of the more fun days at the ballpark. My wife joined me for the game, and about halfway through the game, we were joined by a couple from church. Going to a baseball game is fun. Going to a baseball game with three friends is even more fun!
When we got to the park, my wife and I filled out the entry forms for the Meat of the Order and Home Run Derby contests (we didn’t win). Then we headed over to the first base side to chat with Pat, our favorite vendor at the park, and pick up a bag of his delicious Taylor Made Kettle Corn (far and away the best deal at the ballpark). On our way to our seats, we were stopped by Spaz, the Hoppers’ On-Field Host. Spaz emcees the between-inning contests and works during the innings to keep the crowd energized and cheering for the Hoppers. He who offered to upgrade our seats to the La-Z-Boy best seats in the house, which we were thrilled to accept. These seats are positioned on the concourse directly behind home plate, and are extremely comfortable La-Z-Boy recliners. So instead of heading over to section 104, we settled in on the La-Z-Boys to enjoy the game. The picture on the right is me sitting in the seat from the video promo they ran on the scoreboard in the fourth inning. When our friends from church joined us, they were also thrilled to have the great seats.
The game itself was loads of fun, too. The Hoppers got on the board early when Kyle Jensen hit a 2-run homer as the fourth batter in the first inning, knocking in Jose Duarte. Kannapolis was never able to catch up — they only scored two runs, both in the 8th inning, and the Hoppers already had four runs by that point. The other two Hoppers runs came in the fifth inning, where Jose Duarte and Rand Smith scored. Erick Carrillo pitched seven scoreless innings. Ramon Benjamin took the mound in the eighth, allowed two runs and put baserunners on first and third, before he was replaced by Arquimedes Caminero with two outs in the inning. Caminero went on to retire the next batter and pitch a scoreless ninth inning. Carrillo got the win, taking his record to 6-6, and Caminero picked up his third save.
Sausage Race (between 1st and 2nd): won by Country Sausage
Sumo (middle of 2nd): won by Blue Sumo
I added another autograph to my collection. I noticed who I thought was Edgar Olmos filming the Hoppers’ pitchers. I confirmed with the usher that it was Olmos. During the Benjamin – Caminero pitching change, I asked him for his autograph, which he was happy to give me.
After the game, I went over to the tunnel by the dugout to try and get one of the broken bats, but they all went to kids who were lining the tunnel entrance, too. No real complaint there — the kids looked thrilled to get such a cool souvenir, and that’s the kind of experience that will help turn a kid into a lifelong baseball fan.
I’m back to scoring the games with pencil and paper. I love all the stats I can get from iScore, but it’s a lot easier to see what’s going on when I’m looking at a scorepad instead of looking at the display on my phone. Here’s how I had it (click each picture of the scoresheet to embiggen):
All of my pictures from the game are on Facebook.
It was another scorcher today. It was a day game, and started at 12:30. As much as I was concerned about the heat, it was actually cooler at noon today than it was at 6pm yesterday. Sitting out in the sun was just asking to be baked, and with the sun directly overhead, it was difficult to find a seat in the shade. The good news is that the Hoppers came away with the win, 5-4.
I was concerned at the beginning of the game, as starting pitcher Edgar Olmos couldn’t seem to throw a strike. By the time he was replaced after only 2.2 innings, he had walked 4 batters with only 2 strikeouts. He threw a total of 32 balls and only 23 strikes. Somewhat surprisingly, only one batter scored on Olmos, in the 2nd inning. Olmos was replaced by Natividad Dilone, who pitched 4.2 innings and was credited with the win, allowing 3 runs. The last 1.2 innings were pitched by Alejandro (AJ) Ramos, who delivered 2 strikeouts and allowed no runs. Offensively, the Hoppers looked great. Two of our five runs were homers: Chad Cregar started off the 2nd with a solo homer on his first at-bat after coming off the DL and Justin Bass started off the 6th with another solo homer. Rand Smith spent a significant part of his time on first taunting second and attempting to steal. He never got a good chance to run for it, though. It’s definitely nice to see some good defensive playing from the Hoppers. You can see the improvement from the first half of the season. It’s showing both on the field and on the scoreboard — today’s game was another errorless outing for the Hoppers. Today was the last day for the home stand. The Hoppers are on the road to face the Rome Braves tomorrow through Saturday. They’ll be back in Greensboro for a four-game home stand against the Lakewood Blueclaws starting next Sunday.
Before the game, I headed out to the blazing hot left field and took a few pictures of the players warming up:
Sumo (between 1st and 2nd): won by Red Sumo
Sausage Race (between 4th and 5th): won by Hot Sausage. They ran a 90-yard dash today (I suspect because it’s tough for the sausages to run the bases in the blazing heat we had today) and while Sage was off to a good start, she just fell short at the end.
Perhaps one of the smartest things that the Hoppers did today didn’t have anything to do with playing baseball. They watered the stands. That is to say, that they hooked up the hose and sprayed down one of the sections. It was such a great idea, in the oppressive heat, to do it. For about an inning leading up to the spray-down, they were announcing over the PA that section 114 would be hosed down — both to let people who didn’t want to get wet enough time to get out of the area and to let people who did enough time to get over there. I think almost every kid at the ballgame made a dash to 114 to take part in it.
I used iScore to score the game. I missed a pitching change for the Power, and the reasons behind a couple of outs, but here’s how I had it (click each picture of the scoresheet to embiggen):
I had a great time at the ballpark today, but I hope that it’s cooler next time the boys are in town for some home games.
All of my pictures from the game are on Facebook.
Saturday, May 1 was the final game for the most recent Greensboro Grasshoppers home stand. It was against the Rome Braves, who beat the Hoppers 2-6. The Hoppers got a run in each of the first and second innings, but stayed off the board for the rest of the game. Even with the loss, I had lots of fun at this game because my wife and several of our friends joined us for the game. I love going to baseball games, but it’s even more fun to go with friends.
We got to the ballpark and I entered the Home Run Derby drawing, like I do every game. This time, my name was drawn when Jose Torres was up to bat. The way it works is that a name is drawn for every Hoppers batter in the fourth inning. If the batter makes a home run, the person whose name was drawn receives the ever-increasing jackpot. For this game, I think the jackpot was up to about $450. Sadly, Torres didn’t homer, so I didn’t win the money. I don’t think anyone’s won the money yet this year. I’ll keep trying.
Sumo (between 1st and 2nd): won by Blue Sumo
Sausage Race (between 4th and 5th): won by Hot Sausage. Sage was doing pretty well, and looked to be in line for the win. However, on the third base side, Country Sausage blocked her, allowing Hot Sausage to secure the win.
I managed to get a few interesting photos. Here’s one of Chad Cregar. I like how you can see the bat in motion, and the blur of the ball after it left the bat.
Here’s one of Chase Austin, who successfully made it to safely to first base after laying down this bunt.
Finally, here’s a series of Edgar Olmos pitching.
Since we were running a tiny bit late to the game and since I was visiting with friends as well as watching, I didn’t score the game this time. Check out the complete recap and box score on the Hoppers site.
All of my pictures from the game are on Facebook. This was the last game I had my buddy’s telephoto lens to use, so I’ll be back to my normal lens for the next home stand.