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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.