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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
(Photo Credits: Wikipedia (Steve Bartman Incident) and Jordan Stowe)
(Resources: Wikipedia: Steve Bartman Incident)
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.
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.
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!!!
(Photo Credit: Roy Royster)
Hickory Crawdads Stadium Opening Day
The image above is what is becoming a familiar sight on Opening Day for the Greensboro Grasshoppers. Since their inaugural season, 2005, the Hoppers have sent their starting pitcher to the mound 4 times to open the season. In 8 seasons, they are 4-4 of starting the season on Opening Day. That being said it is not uncommon around these parts to have a delay or postponement opening day. What is uncommon, in fact unprecedented, is being cancelled due to snow and sleet.
Scott Lyman, RHP
Today’s game in Hickory was set to be a great matchup. Scott Lyman, returning for his second year in Greensboro, was set to take the mound. This right hander will start out the season to improve on his 3 game win record and 6 losses. He threw 62 strikeouts out of 74 innings pitched. I’m very interested to see what kind of heat he can throw this year.
I’ll be armed with my camera and scorecards this season, to bring you all the latest action, scores, and fan highlights from each game. Greg, I believe, will be joining me this year a bit more, and WOOT WOO IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!!!
And for those of you wondering where your favorite Hoppers are… Here’s the list as of today.
Jose Fernandez– MIAMI MARLINS, Brent Keys— GSO Grasshoppers, Tony Caldwell— GSO Grasshoppers, Collin Cargill– Jupiter Hammerheads, Jose Urena– Jupiter Hammerheads, Wilfredo Gimenez– Jupiter Hammerheads, Noah Perio– Jupiter Hammerheads, Ryan Fisher– Jupiter Hammerheads, Austin Barnes–Jupiter Hammerheads, Josh Adams– Jupiter Hammerheads, Austin Nola– Jupiter Hammerheads, Matt Smith– Jupiter Hammerheads, Ryan Reiger– Jupiter Hammerheads, Ryan Goetz– Jupiter Hammerheads, Isaac Galloway– Jupiter Hammerheads, Aaron Senne “In the City”– Jupiter Hammerheads, Adam Conley– Jacksonville Suns, Marcell Ozuna– Jacksonville Suns, Danny Black– Jacksonville Suns, Rand Smith– Batavia Muckdogs
Don’t forget to click on your favorite player to link up to see the latest news, stats, and more! If your favorite player is not listed please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to locate that player for you. Thanks!
When I left the house tonight, I honestly thought the game would be rained out, maybe even a delay or two. However, not even a drop of rain fell during the three hour affair in Greensboro. The weather remained dreary and humid with an on field temperature of 86 degrees.
You could say tonights game was a GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS deal.
Good News: Rand Smith had three hits on five at bats. Two which occurred in both the eighth and ninth inning while trying to start a rally.
Bad News: With tonights loss, the Hoppers dropped to 6-13 and are currently 8 games behind the first place Hickory Crawdads
Bill Hass had the privilege of speaking to Manager Dave Berg tonight and captured Berg’s opinion in the latest Bill On Baseball entry:
“It will be a big difference,” manager David Berg said of getting players back. “The first half of the season we were healthy. I don’t know if we had a position player on the DL. The second half has not been kind to us in that regard. Now we’re adding the guys who got us to where we were.”
And with those additions back to the roster and the acquisition of Austin Nola I definitely think we’ll be back to where we were in no time at all! So with all that said, IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!
Click for box score and full recap of tonights game. As well as, all names and teams have been linked to their milb profiles so you can keep up with all your favorite players! You can also check out Bill Hass’ Official Blog by clicking here
Between the threat of thunderstorms, a hundred degree heat, and the holiday weekend the stands sat a little empty today. If they had been there they would have witnessed Aaron Senne hit a perfect game at four hits and four at bats. They would also have witnessed Wooster’s superman catch over the Mercedes sign in midfield for the 3rd out in the 9th. Had that hit not been caught out of the sky the game would have been over in nine, with the Hickory Crawdads on top.
Aaron Senne had a phenomenal game today with four hits at four at bats. A Ryan Goetz homer out to right field looked like it made a u-turn at the sun, before coming back down. John Shultz had a good day as well, having 3 hits on 6 at bats and sliding in to score a run in the second. Between Ryan Goetz homer in the first and Shultz score in the second, the Hoppers would not be able to mount anything for another 10 innings. The Hoppers would go down 4-2 to the Hickory Crawdads.
Starting pitcher on the mound today was Jose Urena. He would sling six innings, allow five hits and 3 strikeouts. He would be relieved by Daniel Oliver who would pitch two innings, allow no hits and two strikeouts. Greg Nappo would start out the ninth inning and pitch three innings, allowing one hit and three strikeouts. Losing pitcher on the day was Chris Shafer. He allowed four hits, no strikeouts, and the two winning runs.
With the loss today the Hoppers drop to 51-30 overall and 5-6 in the second half. The Hoppers are still only 3 games back courtesy of some other losses around the league this week. The Hoppers will be back at home tomorrow night facing the first place Hickory Crawdads. Hope to see you out there, and remember, WIN OR LOSE, IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!
(Photo Courtesy of Don Moore)
With an on field temperature of 102 degrees at the first pitch, to say it was hot was an understatement. Spaz always does a seat upgrade during every game promoting LAZY-BOY recliners. He has dubbed this “the best seats in the house”. These “best seats” consist of four recliners at the top of the seating bowl behind home plate. Tonight, the “best seats in the house” clearly was out in the SUNBRELLA zone located in right field. Sitting there underneath umbrellas with an ice cold Mountain Dew, a great friend, and baseball. What’s better than that? Yeah. A win would’ve capped it off, but when you have secured the northern division playoff spot, I’m okay with just enjoying games for the sake of enjoying them.
Tonights game was enjoyable from a Hoppers standpoint as well. I got to witness Austin Barnes slam his 4th home run tonight! Which I love seeing guys like that perform well. Aaron Senne and Austin Barnes hit homers tonight. Both great guys doing great things in the diamond. Tonight was Aaron’s 3rd homer in four nights. That is quite the accomplishment! Hoppers were facing the Hickory Crawdads, which coming into tonight were 7-2 in the second half, and are currently in first place. Needless to say, the heat wasn’t the only struggle our boys were going to have to overcome.
Pitchers tonight were the newly acquired Scott Lyman, who pitched 5.2 innings, allowed 8 hits and four strikeouts. Greg Nappo threw 1.1 innings, allowed 3 hits and 4 strikeouts. Nappo would be relieved by Jose Rodreguez would pitch 1 inning, allowing 1 hit and 1 strikeout. Brad Mincy then came up to finish off the night, allowing 2 hits and no strikeouts.
The big hitters of the night were, Aaron Senne with a two run homer to right field. Austin Barnes slamming his homer in the bottom of the ninth. Aaron Senne went 3-4 tonight and Austin Barnes went 4-1, with his home run being his lonely hit on the night. Ryan Goetz also went 3-1 on the night. Hoppers fell to the Crawdads to a score of 11-4. With this loss the Hoppers drop to 4-5 in the second half standings and currently three games back. Come and check out your Hoppers tomorrow for another scorcher. Temperature tomorrow is predicted to be around 105. Maybe, it’ll be just hot enough to steam some Crawdads. As always, this is Jordan Stowe, and IT’S A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!