Tagged: justin bass

GSO v WVP Game 5 (6/28/2010)

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:

Warming Up

Warming Up-2

Promotion Results
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.

Sumo

Sausage Race

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.

Cooling Down

Check out the complete recap and box score on the Hoppers site.

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):

GSO v WVP Game 5 - 6:28:2010 (GSO)

GSO v WVP Game 5 - 6:28:2010 (WVP)

GSO v WVP Game 5 - 6:28:2010 (Pitchers)

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.

See ya at the ballpark!
hoppersfan@gmail.com
twitter.com/HoppersFan

GSO v WVP Game 4 (6/27/2010)

Starting Lineup

It was a hot Sunday afternoon at the ballpark today. I wish I could say that Hoppers fans were rewarded with a win, but alas, we fell 6-5. This is our first loss for the 2nd half of the season, and the Hoppers are still leading the league, once again sharing the top spot with the Lakewood Blueclaws. Even with the loss, it was a great game. I put my rally cap on after two and a half innings, when the Hoppers were down 5-1, but it just wasn’t enough. It was beginning to look hopeful as the Hoppers picked up three runs in the fifth and sixth innings, putting the score 5-4 in favor of the Power going into the ninth. The Power scored another run in the top and when the Hoppers took the field in the bottom, they needed a measly two runs to tie. And it was looking good: the first three batters got on base with walks. When Justin Bass stepped up to the plate, the bases were loaded and there were no outs. Unfortunately, he grounded into a double play. Kyle Skipworth scored and Kyle Jensen made it to third. With two outs and the tying run on third, Chris Wade grounded out and the game was over. It was a tough loss since it got so close at the end, but sometimes even the power of my rally cap (and the two other rally caps I saw in my section) just isn’t enough to pull the team through.

What hurt the Hoppers the most? The grand slam that Rogelios Noris hit in the third. That sucked the wind out of our sails and proved to be a tough psychological break to get past. For the Hoppers, Mat Montgomery gets the loss, pitching seven innings and allowing five of the six runs. Sandy Rosario pitched the final two innings and allowed one run. Highlights of the game included watching Michael Pasek steal a couple of hits from the Power in the seventh inning. The first two batters hit line drives toward the gap between first and second, but Pasek was exactly where he needed to be to snag that ball out of the air. I think he got significant applause and appreciation from the fans after each of those catches.

The promotion for today was a team baseball card set. I’ve been looking forward to this giveaway all season. I love getting baseball cards, and then trying to find all the players to get the cards signed. I got three autographs today: Rand Smith, Chad Cregar, and Ramon Benjamin.

Autographs: Ramon Benjamin, Chad Cregar, Rand Smith

Before the game started, I headed over to the autograph table where Rand Smith was signing autographs. There was no one in line and he seemed happy to sign my card. I told him that I enjoyed watching him play last night (he made a couple of good plays) and he thanked me. After getting his autograph, I headed over to the seats in the end of left field, by the Hoppers bullpen. This is where the players usually warm up before the game. I thought I might be able to get a few more autographs over there, especially since it was so hot that not many other people were over there. For a while, it was just me and a little kid who had a baseball that he was collecting autographs on.

Pregame Warmup
Pregame Warmup-2.jpg

Shortly after I sat down and pulled my notebook out, first baseman Chad Cregar noticed me and came over to say hi. I got his autograph on my card and asked him how his hand was doing (he’s been on the DL since June 11 for “callous on hand”). He said it was fine and that they took him off the DL today. I asked when he thought they’d put him back on the field and he said he was hoping to be playing tomorrow. I told him it would be a hot day for a comeback and we both had a chuckle. (Tomorrow’s game is a day game, and it’s been unseasonably hot in Greensboro for the past week or so.) It’ll be nice to see him back on the field. Once he starts playing again, I wonder what the team will do with Ryan Keedy, who was called down from the Jupiter Hammerheads and has been playing first base while Chad’s been on the DL. After the quick chat, Chad signed the baseball for the kid who was also hanging out by the bullpen and then headed back to the field to play catch. A few minutes later, I got Ramon Benjamin’s autograph as he was reporting to the bullpen.

First Inning Warm-up Ball

Another exciting event for me was the snagging of another baseball before the game started. Just prior to the first inning, one of the outfielders was playing catch with one of the bullpen pitchers (I think it was LF Kyle Jensen and P Ramon Benjamin, but I’m not sure) and the outfielder threw a ball just out of reach of the pitcher and it sailed into the section right next to where I was sitting. There was no one else around, so I jumped over to where the ball landed and scooped it up to add to my collection. Snagging that warm-up ball made it worth sitting in the blazing hot sun for the beginning of the game.

Promotion Results
Sumo (between 2nd and 3rd): won by Blue Sumo
Sausage Race (between 8th and 9th): won by Country Sausage. Sage was leading until she took a break at third base to get a drink of water. It was a really hot day, I don’t blame her for trying to stay hydrated.

Sumo
Sausage Race.jpg

Check out the complete recap and box score on the Hoppers site.

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):

GSO v WVP Game 4 - 6:26:2010 (GSO)
GSO v WVP Game 4 - 6:26:2010 (WVP)
GSO v WVP Game 4 - 6:26:2010 (Pitchers)

Tomorrow’s the last home game from this home stand. It’s a day game, which means I’m going to have to work extra in the mornings and evenings this week to make up for the time away from work. It also means it’s going to be incredibly hot at the ballpark tomorrow. I’m guessing it will be a pretty low attendance game, but I’d love to be surprised and find lots of other Hoppers fans in the stands with me.

All of my pictures from the game are on Facebook.

See ya at the ballpark!
hoppersfan@gmail.com
twitter.com/HoppersFan

GSO v DEL Game 4 (6/4/2010)

The Hoppers just completed a four-game series against the Delmarva Shorebirds last night. With last night’s win, they took the series 3-1. It was probably the coolest night of baseball for me so far this year. Besides getting to watch a great win for the home team, I got to sit with a group of folks from my church who all came out for family night at the ballpark and I got to throw out the first pitch!

Let’s look at that first pitch again:

So, how did that happen? It’s all because I enter lots of contests and drawings at the ballpark. For several weeks, they’ve been promoting a Fritos Friday Night contest. The prize was to throw out the first pitch and stand on the field through the National Anthem. At the game Tuesday night, I signed up for it. Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from Laura at the ballpark telling me that I had won. I was absolutely thrilled! Since I was already planning on going to the game, I didn’t have to change my schedule. And since it was the night my church was sponsoring an outing, my wife was already planning to come. Laura told me to meet her at the fan information booth at 6:30 before the game and we’d head down to the field.

I got to the game as early as I usually do, which gave me enough time to copy the starting lineup for scorekeeping purposes and just wander around the concourse a little, signing up for various contests. When 6:30 rolled around and it was time to go to the field, I gathered with all of the people who were going down for pre-game festivities: the little league team who was being featured, some inductees in a sports hall of fame, the McDonald’s small fries, and the Sheetz “Play Ball” kid of the game. With all of the things that the Hoppers do before a game, it’s kinda like controlled chaos. It’s amazing that all of the pre-game activities come off as smoothly as they do — a real testament to the Hoppers staff. Once we were all gathered, we headed down to the field. Going down to the field was very cool — we got to go through an “off limits” area and come out through the tunnel under the left field concourse. Underneath the concourse is a batting cage. One of the Hoppers pitchers was hanging out down there. They had all the props for the between-inning promotions (sumo suits, wigs, etc.) lined up against one of the walls. The walls were covered with paintings of baseballs. It was really cool. I was just taking it all in and didn’t think to take any pictures. I figured I’d snap a few pictures on the way back up, but we went up by the dugout instead of back through the tunnel. Oh, well, maybe some other time I’ll have a chance to be back there again.

Once on the field, there was lots to see and do. Laura was busy directing activities:

Directing Pre-Game Activities

Directing Pre-Game Festivities

I took some pictures of various on-field objects. Here’s the home team on deck circle and some bat weights, e.g.:

On Deck Circle

Weights.jpg

And the view of the player introductions from the field is just different enough than the view from the seats to make it seem like you’re *really* part of it (pictures include Jose Torres, Justin Bass, and Kyle Skipworth):

Player Introductions

Player Introductions - Jose Torres

Player Introductions - Justin Bass

Player Introductions - Kyle Skipworth

Greg and the First Pitch Ball

When I went to throw the first pitch, Laura gave me the ball to use. I was kinda surprised to see it was a souvenir Grasshoppers ball like they sell in the gift shop and not an official South Atlantic League ball like they play with. When it was my turn to throw the ball out, they described the Fritos contest I won that garnered me the first pitch, announced my name over the loudspeaker, and put it up on the scoreboard in big letters. It was very cool to see my name up on the scoreboard like that. Spaz accompanied me to the mound, further introducing me. Catcher Carlos Paulino headed to home plate to catch for me. I thought it was pretty cool to have a catcher behind the plate — often the catchers are busy warming up pitchers and they have another player catching. When I looked at Carlos, the distance between me and the plate didn’t appear to be as long as I practiced, so I was feeling better about that and more confident. When it was time to throw, I aimed right at Carlos and let the ball fly. It was a little low, but Carlos was able to easily grab it before it hit the ground. All in all, I’m happy with my performance — it wasn’t flat-out embarrassing! And I’d like to give a huge thank you to my wife, who was on the field with me and took a video of me throwing the first pitch.

A little bit later, they had a “second” first pitch by one of the officers at Syngenta (the company who sponsors the field conditions of the ballpark). His pitch fell a few feet short of the plate and bounced away. It helped make my first pitch look even better.

After all of the pre-game festivities were over, we all headed back up in the stands, where I joined all the folks from church. Some of them were pretty silly, asking me for autographs and whatnot. It was great fun.

The game started, and the Hoppers were off to a great start. They looked good the whole night, scoring three runs in the third inning, and a fourth run in the seventh. The Shorebirds only managed one run in the eighth inning, so we had a very tidy 4-1 win. There’s a new player with the Hoppers, Jose Duarte. Apparently, the Royals released him earlier this week (where he was on their AAA team), and the Marlins picked him up and assigned him to Greensboro. He debuted in Thursday’s game, and I was only slightly impressed with his performance. However, he improved as Thursday’s game went on, and he looked great last night, with a 2-RBI homer in the third. I wonder how long he’ll be in Greensboro before the Marlins start moving him up the ladder.

Promotion Results
Sumo (between 1st and 2nd): won by Red Sumo
Sausage Race (between 4th and 5th): won by Hot Sausage, who was so smoking that he ran in for the win backwards, taunting the other sausages. Sage had an early lead, but squandered it by talking to the ump between 1st and 2nd, where she was apparently asking him out to dinner.

Check out the complete recap and box score on the Hoppers site.

I used iScore to score the game. Here’s how I had it (click each picture of the scoresheet to embiggen):

GSO v DEL Game 4 - 6:4:2010 (GSO)

GSO v DEL Game 4 - 6:4:2010 (DEL)

GSO v DEL Game 4 - 6:4:2010 (Pitchers)

All of my pictures from the game are on Facebook.

See ya at the ballpark!
hoppersfan@gmail.com
twitter.com/HoppersFan