Tonight was very fan friendly. There was a corn hole tournament up on Natty’s Hill, there was the between inning games that are always a blast, and post game we had The Band Of Oz performing in the grandstand. It was an incredible day at the ballpark. A friend of mine and me signed up for the corn hole tournament, but I guess everyone was scared of our mad skills because no one else signed up. We still played anyway. And having a good time with a good friend with baseball in the background is definitely a recipe for fun!
Miss Babe RuthThe above picture is a pretty common scene At the ballpark. is a black lab and has been trained to retrieve bats and balls for the players. The game was exciting to watch as well. I took a ton of pictures today and you can view all pictures on the HoppersFan page on Facebook.
So, on to the game…
Kannapolis would strike first in the first inning making it 1-0. The very next inning the Hoppers would score on a solo HOME RUN by Matt Smith. Tying the ballgame at 1-1. Neither team would score again till the 5th inning when Kannapolis would have 3 players cross the plate for a score of 4-1. But as we all know by now, our Hoppers may be down but they are never out! The hoppers would answer with two more runs in the 6th. Making the score 4-3. Kannapolis nor greensboro would score till the bottom of the ninth. Matt Smith would score the tying run on a single by Rand Smith. And like so many games this year, the heart attack hoppers went to extras. It remained 4-4 through the bottom of the 11th.
Here’s the scene: Hoppers tied 4-4. Bottom of the 11th. Matt Smith would single, putting him at first. James Wooster hit a sacrifice bunt advancing Smith to second. Terrence Dayleg would ground out, advancing Smith to 3rd. up walks Wilfredo Gimenez. For those that know me, know that Wilfredo at the beginning of the season, was not one of one my favorite players by far. But he has come a LONG way, and I must say I’m a fan. But, back to today’s game… Wilfredo walks up, 2 outs, Matt Smith on Third. Wilfredo steps up and blast a single just barely over the first baseman’s glove! Matt Smith Scores!!!! HOPPERS WIN! HOPPERS WIN! HOPPERS WIN!
The team rushing the field in celebration!
And so it begins.
The Hoppers are back in town.
A twelve day home stand.
It’s been a week and a half since a Greensboro Grasshoppers home game, and I’m thrilled that the Hoppers are back in town starting tonight. It’s for what will surely be a legendary twelve day home stand! I’m going to be out of town for the last three games, so, at most, I’ll only be able to hit up nine of the games. Baseball every day for a week and a half is going to be awesome.
Recently, Bill Hass has started a blog about the Hoppers: Bill On Baseball. Bill used to write Bill On Baseball as a column, but has changed that column into a blog now. In his inaugural entry, Bill noted the importance of having fun with blogging:
Other writers I know who blog say it’s important to have fun, and that will be the goal here. I’ll strive to have nuggets and tidbits about current Hoppers, past Greensboro players (Hoppers, Bats and Hornets) and perhaps some observations on baseball in general, past and present. The field is wide open, kind of like the gap you see between the center fielder and right fielder at times.
In true blog-like fashion, Bill’s looking for reader participation, too:
This is intended to be a two-way street. Reader comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged. Baseball fans are passionate about the game and I want them to be free to express that passion.
I’m absolutely thrilled that Bill’s converted his column to a blog format. Reading his columns last year was a great way for me to stay informed about the Hoppers, learn more about the team, and learn more about baseball in general. If the Hoppers handle it right, having an “insider” like Bill accessible via a blog is going to be a great resource to the community of fans. So add his blog to your favorite RSS reader or bookmark it and make a point to visit it regularly to look for new entries. Drop him a note or a comment letting him know how excited you are to have a knowledgeable Hoppers voice writing a blog for the fans.
Welcome to the blogosphere, Bill! I’m looking forward to your reading your blog as the season progresses.
Yesterday’s game win
was really enjoyable.
Today’s loss? Not fun.
So, yeah, after yesterday’s win, I was pumped to go to the ballpark today. I was even more pumped when, after the first inning, the Hoppers were ahead 4-1. Curtis Peterson was on the mound, looking good. He ended up pitching 5 innings, allowing 2 runs off 5 hits. Helping the Hoppers was the opposing pitcher, Tony Butler, who allowed 4 runs off 2 hits in 4 innings. All four of those runs were in the first inning, and I was surprised that the Shorebirds let Butler pitch 3 more innings after such a terrible first inning, which included 3 walks.
Peterson was relieved by Ramon Benjamin who was taken out after facing 4 batters. He struck out the first batter, the second got on base with a base hit, and he walked both the 3rd and 4th batters. Benjamin was replaced by Sandy Rosario, who was unable clean up the mess Benjamin left him — all three batters on base when Rosario took the mound ended up scoring. At the end of the sixth, the Hoppers were losing, 5-4.
The seventh was a good inning for the Hoppers, and they pulled ahead 6-5, which they maintained through the eighth.
Then, the ninth inning came. The Shorebirds batted around for eleven batters. Five of those eleven walked. Six of them scored. Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Hoppers went from leading by one to trailing by five. It was embarrassing. Alejanero Ramos’ 27.00 ERA really tells the story of the ninth inning, as he pitched for only 0.2 innings. Arquimedes Caminero relived Ramos and secured the final out after facing 3 batters. When the Hoppers stepped behind the plate in the bottom of the ninth, the first three batters fell quickly by hitting to third base, where Levi Carolus was easily able to throw to first before they could reach the base.
The fans that were left at this point left the ballpark pretty dejected. Check out the box score if you want to see the full details of the sad tale.
All was not sadness at Newbridge Bank Park, though. The highlight of my evening was meeting first baseman Chad Cregar and getting his autograph on my team ball before the game. No one was at the autograph table when I walked up, and Chad was happy to chat with me for a bit. I told him that I thought he had the coolest walk-on music and he chuckled about it.
Cregar’s the eighth autograph on my team ball. Here’s a picture of his signature:
In promotion news: Country Sausage won the Sausage Race between the first and second innings. Red Sumo won the Sumo Match in the middle of the 2nd inning.
I’m going to miss tomorrow’s game, ’cause I’m heading off to Winston-Salem to watch the Dash play their fist game in their new stadium. Maybe the Hoppers will do better without me in the stands.
Hoppers win today!
And happy birthday, Guilford!
Great day for baseball.
Another busy day means I’m too tired to really write about today’s game. Maybe tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy the above Hoppers Haiku.
Highlights today: meeting another season ticket holder and talking about scoring games, watching the Augusta starting pitcher (Zack Wheeler, #45) walk about a bazillion Hoppers before being pulled out in the first inning after retiring only 2 batters, and hanging with some of my friends for the 2nd half of the game. Oh, yeah. Also the first Hoppers win of 2010! The pre-game festivities were rather cool, too. They included the opportunity to play catch on the field, a parade by the Kernersville Little League, and a kickball game where all the players were mascots from other teams (celebrating the birthday of Guilford the Grasshopper, our mascot).
Also, it was nice to not be putting my rally cap on today. Great job, Hoppers!
Tomorrow, they start a new series against Delmarva Shorebirds. Let’s hope they can take the momentum from today’s win and channel it into some good playing and a win tomorrow.
I’m too tired to write a full review of tonight’s game. Maybe tomorrow. Instead, I’m going to introduce a new feature to the Hoppers Fan blog: Hoppers Haiku.
We just want a hit
and we finally get one
in bottom of ninth.
Yeah, B. J. Salsbury held us hitless for six innings. The reliever kept the no-no going through the seventh and the eighth. It wasn’t until Chad Cregar (who might have the best walk-on music on the team) singled in the bottom of the ninth that the spell was broken. The Hoppers ended up scoring 2 runs in the ninth, which wasn’t anywhere near enough to overcome the 8 runs Augusta had. The Hoppers lost 8-2.
Tomorrow’s another day. I’m crossing my fingers. Even if the Hoppers can’t manage to win, at least I’ll leave the park with a fleece blanket, ’cause they’re giving them away to the first 1500 fans.