ALDS 2010 – Tampa Bay @ Texas – 10/9/10

I’ve been recently revamping my blog in an effort to try and get all of my games in order. This is mainly due to the fact that I did all of my 2010 road trip blogs in 2010 and the 2009 blogs after (just recently finishing them in 2013). Due to this I will have to go back and edit some photos for three blogs from the first three games of 2010 due to when MLBlogs was changed over to WordPress and it ended up stretching out some of my photos drastically and making the blogs pretty much useless to try and read.

Regardless, I’ve still got a lot more games to blog about in an effort to catch up and have all of my recent games blogged up until my road trip this July.

I was very thrilled for my first ever postseason game on this Saturday afternoon in Arlington. I was a bit unsure of what to expect regarding how postseason games work. I knew that I wanted to try and catch a baseball during batting practice. My Mom dropped my Dad and I off as we made our walk towards the ballpark. It was a great day for baseball in Texas and I was happy to be back in Arlington for the first time in a little over three months.

Image

We made our way into the ballpark once the gates opened and after receiving our rally towel I made my way out to the left field seats. While I wasn’t able to retrieve a ball on this day I was still enjoying the sights and sounds of postseason baseball.

One thing I regret looking back when I bought tickets is that I sprung quickly at the idea of getting the first tickets I could get and well now I certainly know I could have gotten better tickets off of Stubhub. While the view wasn’t “terrible” it certainly wasn’t the best seats I’ve ever had at Rangers Ballpark.

It was nice to attend a game and see the entire rosters get recognized. Here’s a good shot showing our view (zoomed in a bit).

Image

Let me flash back for you a bit and remind you of how the American League Division Series was currently sitting. It was the Rangers first postseason appearance since 1999 and only their fourth overall postseason appearance. Their three previous appearances were 1996, 1998, and 1999 when they would face the New York Yankees all three years and win only one game in all three of the series. At this point the Rangers had obviously never advanced past the first round of the postseason and we were all hoping 2010 would be the year to at least break past the first round.

The Rangers would end up winning the first two games of the series in Tampa Bay thanks in large part to a stellar performance by Cliff Lee who allowed only five hits while striking out  ten Rays to give the Rangers their second overall postseason win. Game Two would be won thanks in part to another lefty – C.J. Wilson who pitched 6 1/3 strong innings and the Rangers would allow only two hits in a shutout effort. So Texas was headed back home up 2 games to none with a chance to sweep Tampa Bay and advance to the ALCS for the first time in team history.

Now that has been recapped let’s move on with the entry.

Our pitching match up was going to pit Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza against the Rangers Colby Lewis.

P1030777

The game was off to a quick pace despite there being no scoring until the third inning when Texas would add the first run after an Elvis Andrus ground out would bring Mitch Moreland in to score after Moreland’s lead off double and a passed ball which brought Moreland to third. The score stayed the same until the top of the sixth when Tampa Bay after B.J. Upton would hit a game tying double to tie the game at 1-1.

P1030781

The low scoring game stayed the same until the last three innings and started off in the bottom of the 7th with an Ian Kinsler home run off of Garza. Garza would be pulled bringing in Randy Choate for one batter before Joaquin Benoit came in to face two batters to get two fly outs.

P1030776

Tampa Bay took the lead back in the eighth inning and would not look back. The Rays added two home runs in the ninth inning from Carl Crawford (a solo shot) and a two run homer from Carlos Pena to make it 6-2 Tampa Bay. Texas would add another run in the ninth inning but it wouldn’t be enough as the Rays would end up surviving on the brink of elimination and force a Game 4 for the next afternoon in Arlington. Stay tuned for my next entry for Game 4 which I also attended in Arlington.

Road Trip 2010 – Busch Stadium – 6/18/10

337.JPGThe final game of Road Trip 2010 brought us to St. Louis for my first trip there in 10 years. We set out from Chicago and arrived about an hour outside of St. Louis the night before. We arrived after spending the day in St. Louis at the Arch and arrived at the ballpark. I was very impressed with all of the statues and the fans that lined the streets before the gates even opened. St. Louis is definitely dedicated to their baseball and the “sea of red” was pretty nice to see. We got in around 5:30 and I headed to CF for BP.

 

352.JPG

I camped out in centerfield for a while after noticing left field was cramped and it paid off with a big long fly right to me! It made some older adult mad too because he had been running rampant and aggrevating the crap out of the fans and the players. Right after he told me “Congratulations, you’ve got your’s now” and I nicely responded with “Yeah, I hope I can get another one now.” but I didn’t get one. Oh well, it was time to go get some food and sit down and watch the game.

 

373.JPG
I thoroughly enjoyed the game despite the fact I knew it was our last game and we’d be hitting the road right after. The Cards played the Oakland A’s and I saw the A’s for the second day in a row. Matt Holliday kicked off things against his former team in the bottom of the first with a two-run homer but the A’s scored four in the second and led until the fifth inning whenever the Cardinals tied it up. The Cards would score their final two runs in the seventh inning and would end up winning in a pretty quick game.

381.JPG 

I must say that I enjoyed Busch. It wasn’t the best stadium but honestly it was rather simple and reminded me somewhat of the second incarnation of Busch with the outfield setup. Maybe that’s just me but I thought it was done very simple. People in St. Louis love baseball and they don’t need too many gimmicks to entice them to come out to the ballpark (well besides Big Mac Land!) but there was 40,000 strong that night in the sea of red that engulfed Busch Stadium.

Road Trip 2010 Game Stats: 

Final Score: St. Louis 6, Oakland 4

W – Chris Carpenter (8-1)

L – Brad Zeigler (2-4)

S – Ryan Franklin (13)

___________________________

Road Trip 2010 Fun Stats:

Guess the Winner Game: 7-3 (Detroit, Minnesota, Detroit, Washington, Chicago WS, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis)

Home Team Record: 6-4

Total Runs Scored: 95

Away Team Runs Scored: 42

Home Team Runs Scored: 53

Home Runs: Miguel Cabrera, Jason Kubel, Brennan Boesch, Alexei Ramirez, Ramon Castro, Miguel Cabrera, Brent Lillibridge, Ryan Braun, Vladimir Guerrero, Casey McGehee, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Garrett Jones, Carlos Guillen, Travis Hafner, Adam Dunn, Roger Bernandina, Andre Ethier, Manny Ramirez, Chris Heisey, Jeff Baker, Mark Ellis, & Matt Holliday

Teams Watched on Road Trip ’10: Detroit 3x, Kansas City 2x, Minnesota, Chicago White Sox 2x, Texas, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh 2x, Washington, Cleveland, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati, Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s, & St. Louis

Ballpark Giveaways: Bret Saberhagen Bobbleheads (Kansas City), Sue 10th Anniversary Team Posters (Chicago White Sox), Sports Authority Coupon (Milwaukee), Detroit Stars Negro League Hat (Detroit Tigers), Ryan Theriot Fisherman Bobblehead (Chicago Cubs) 

And the ballpark rankings which are based on the experience, the building itself, the fans, and mostly my final thoughts on all of these combined together. Busch Stadium was very nice but at the same time it didn’t really present anything different from the other ballparks. It’s simply a place to go and watch baseball which there is nothing wrong with that but it’s not a bad place to see a game either.

Ballpark Rankings :

1. Target Field (Minnesota Twins)

2. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates)

3. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)

4. Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals)

5. Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals)

6. Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati Reds)

7. Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians)

8. US Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox)

9. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers) 

10. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers) 

Road Trip 2010 – Wrigley Field – 6/17/10

298.JPGWe woke up not too far out of Indianapolis on this morning preparing for our drive to Cincinnati. I was so excited to get to Wrigley and get to see some good ole’ fashioned baseball without all of the distractions. Well apparently we should have drove a bit longer the night before as we were an hour further away than I thought we were. After eating breakfast (against my wishes) we wasted a fair bit of time before getting stuck into the traffic. As time changed, I watched helplessly as we were stuck in traffic and well as fate would have it I had no choice but to watch as the clock kept on ticking by. We made it into Chicago around 1:30 or so, about twenty minutes after the first pitch. I really wasn’t too happy but hey what can you do? We listened to the radio and to make things worse the game was going by pretty quick! Either way we arrived around 2:00 or so and it was the fourth inning as you can tell in my picture to the left. 

Well, to make matters worse when we scheduled the trip I knew for some reason we would need to schedule a night game. My Dad is the type that he wants to do the trip in as few days as possible. I definetly understand but that limits sight-seeing as well. Regardless, I struck for the June 17th day game, looking back should have picked June 18th instead which would have gave us a full day to make it to Chicago once again but it’s okay we’ve learned from our mistake. Anyways, we rolled up into Wrigley and had bleacher tickets. Yes. I had told my Dad that we probably wouldn’t want to get them but he said he could deal with the drunks for at least three hours. BIG MISTAKE. We got there and of course there was literally no seats. He made his way and pretty much took someone’s seat and well, I was just needing some time alone to enjoy Wrigley after arriving late. I walked down into the concourse and grabbed a drink and skipped food, should have probably got a Chicago dog but didn’t. I went into the main concourse and loved it! Everything about it! Small and busy but it’s all about baseball and that’s the way it should be. Loved the small team shop too! Bought my stuff there and made my way back to the bleachers.

300.JPG

Anways I finally found a seat opened around the seventh inning and went and took it. It was Ryan Theriot Bobblehead Day at Wrigley and well I wanted to get my hands on one somehow seeing as I’m from Louisiana and a big LSU fan (Theriot is an alum from there.) Anyways, I didn’t get one at the game but settled for one off eBay. Back to the park, despite after going through all of the arriving late, not having a seat, the rowdy fans, etc. I really did enjoy Wrigley Field looking back. 

324.JPG At the time I don’t think I fully took in the experience due to all the frustration that day brought but for just about 30 minutes as I sat in the bleachers and looked around I enjoyed the game. Perhaps it wasn’t too bad of a thing that we got there late as now I think I enjoyed it more. It was a very hot day but I think I enjoyed more in those thirty minutes than I would have the entire game (sounds weird) but I’d still have enjoyed being there for the entire game. Either way, I look for a chance to return to Wrigley one day and see it once more.

 

329.JPGIt was pretty neat getting to hear the Go Cubs Go Song and the white “W” flag flying. The surrounding of the ballpark is very unique and different but I enjoyed it. I got to see the A’s team bus and their equipment as we walked by and had it been a better day we would have probably stayed back and watch them board the bus. Without a doubt, Wrigley was a great experience and right up there with Fenway as one of the best baseball experiences there is. Would I say it dethroned Target? I can’t say yes due to my experience.

Road Trip 2010 Game Stats: 

Final Score: Chicago Cubs 3, Oakland 2

W – Carlos Marmol (2-1)

L – Jerry Blevins (2-1)

___________________________

Road Trip 2010 Fun Stats:

Guess the Winner Game: 6-3 (Detroit, Minnesota, Detroit, Washington, Chicago WS, Chicago Cubs)

Home Team Record: 5-4

Total Runs Scored: 85

Away Team Runs Scored: 38

Home Team Runs Scored: 47

Home Runs: Miguel Cabrera, Jason Kubel, Brennan Boesch, Alexei Ramirez, Ramon Castro, Miguel Cabrera, Brent Lillibridge, Ryan Braun, Vladimir Guerrero, Casey McGehee, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Garrett Jones, Carlos Guillen, Travis Hafner, Adam Dunn, Roger Bernandina, Andre Ethier, Manny Ramirez, Chris Heisey, Jeff Baker, Mark Ellis

Teams Watched on Road Trip ’10: Detroit 3x, Kansas City 2x, Minnesota, Chicago White Sox 2x, Texas, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh 2x, Washington, Cleveland, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati, Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s

Ballpark Giveaways: Bret Saberhagen Bobbleheads (Kansas City), Sue 10th Anniversary Team Posters (Chicago White Sox), Sports Authority Coupon (Milwaukee), Detroit Stars Negro League Hat (Detroit Tigers), Ryan Theriot Fisherman Bobblehead (Chicago Cubs) 

And the ballpark rankings which are based on the experience, the building itself, the fans, and mostly my final thoughts on all of these combined together. Wrigley was a great experience no doubt but my arriving late, the “bleacher” experience, the case of some fans not paying attention at all, hurts the rating. It’s such a great ballpark but I don’t know if I can rank it above Target and PNC. It’s great no doubt and I know many people are going to disagree and say it should be higher but it’s more than just the experience that I’m looking at too.

Ballpark Rankings :

1. Target Field (Minnesota Twins)

2. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates)

3. Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)

4. Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals)

5. Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati Reds)

6. Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians)

7. US Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox)

8. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers) 

9. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers)

 

Road Trip 2010 – Great American Ballpark – 6/16/10

253.JPGAfter a great night in PNC Park the night before, we headed out for our eighth park in Cincinnati on Wednesday. We arrived pretty early and brought my mom shopping before we headed to the park a few hours early. I saw Joe Nuxhall’s famous phrase “Rounding third and heading home…” on the side of the park which was pretty neat. The GAB is one of those parks you either love or you hate. Me personally I loved it. What makes it different is it’s not made of brick like most and the red seats (appropriate here.) 

 

255.JPGWe went into the park early and went to our seats in right field which is named the Sun/Moon Deck depending on the time of the game. I dropped my stuff off and moved over a bit towards right center for BP. My first ball that I had coming at me, I misjudged it and I mean it was coming RIGHT at me. I was one row too low and didn’t have time to move until I noticed it and I caught it at first but it pulled me back and I lost the ball. An adult ran over and picked it up as all I could do was look on helplessly. But wait….

 

256.JPG

I ended up catching two baseballs in the same area as the Dodgers were lighting up the right field Moon Deck with balls. It was crazy. I couldn’t tell who it was hitting them all but I caught two in about the same spot to make up for the one I missed earlier. As for my final ball, I actually didn’t catch it but luck helped out. I was still in the same area rather high up in the Moon Deck whenever a bomb was hit. I ran over and stuck my glove out but missed as it struck the glass part of the section entrance.

257.JPG

I couldn’t get a good picture of it but regardless, the ball was too far away for me to catch it and it ended up richocheting over about two sections to my left RIGHT into my Dad’s hands. Pretty neat and appropriate for me after he accidentaly lost my ball at Pittsburgh the night before. He didn’t say anything but I knew that it was nice of him to catch it and give it to me after BP was over. Mike Leake came out not too long after and warmed up as he was that night’s starter and he had been on a roll at this time.

 

264.JPG

I walked around the park to get a good feel of it and there was a lot of food to offer here. A lot of sights and sounds too but I had my eye set on either Skyline Chili or Montgomery Inn BBQ. I settled on the Montgomery BBQ and it was great. I was going to go back and get some Skyline later but I didn’t think I’d be able to stomach any more food. I really enjoyed GAB because of it’s uniqueness. At times it seemed forced maybe but I loved the smoke stacks, the party deck, and our seats were very nice!

 

266.JPGOn a side note, whenever I first attended a game at Dodger Stadium back in 2005, it was the Reds that were the visiting team. This year it would be the Dodgers visiting the Reds. Kinda ironic huh? We saw a pretty good pitching matchup between two young studs in Clayton Kershaw and Mike Leake. Kershaw would pitch 7 1/3 and give up only one run while Leake got a little unlucky and suffered his first ever defeat as a Major League pitcher. It took him thirteen starts to suffer his first loss so not a bad start for his big league career really if you ask me.

284.JPG

I think that we picked a pretty good game to go see despite the Reds not getting a win but still. It was a great crowd for a Wednesday night, great view (and the split behind home plate is neat and cool. Some people don’t like it but I liked it as you can get a view of what is behind you. The setting is great, the food was good, the local fans are very nice, and the team is starting to get better too. Great American Ballpark is such a nice place to see a game and you can’t go wrong with any seat in the house really.

 

Road Trip 2010 Game Stats: 

Final Score: Los Angeles Dodgers 6, Cincinnati 2

W – Clayton Kershaw (7-3)

L – Mike Leake (5-1)

S – Hong Chih-Kuo (1)

___________________________

Road Trip 2010 Fun Stats:

Guess the Winner Game: 5-3 (Detroit, Minnesota, Detroit, Washington, Chicago)

Home Team Record: 4-4

Total Runs Scored: 80

Away Team Runs Scored: 36

Home Team Runs Scored: 44

Home Runs: Miguel Cabrera, Jason Kubel, Brennan Boesch, Alexei Ramirez, Ramon Castro, Miguel Cabrera, Brent Lillibridge, Ryan Braun, Vladimir Guerrero, Casey McGehee, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Garrett Jones, Carlos Guillen, Travis Hafner, Adam Dunn, Roger Bernandina, Andre Ethier, Manny Ramirez, Chris Heisey

Teams Watched on Road Trip ’10: Detroit 3x, Kansas City 2x, Minnesota, Chicago White Sox 2x, Texas, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh 2x, Washington, Cleveland, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati

Ballpark Giveaways: Bret Saberhagen Bobbleheads (Kansas City), Sue 10th Anniversary Team Posters (Chicago White Sox), Sports Authority Coupon (Milwaukee), Detroit Stars Negro League Hat (Detroit Tigers),

And the ballpark rankings which are based on the experience, the building itself, the fans, and mostly my final thoughts on all of these combined together. Great American was a nice park and is actually going to find itself settling into the number four spot this week. I liked that it seperated itself from the other new ballparks with all the brick and green seats they have, GAB countered that and even has red seats which are so appropriate! I can see why some people aren’t too fond of it as there is a lot going on there but really I don’t mind it. Actually I think it’s pretty cool.  

Ballpark Rankings :

1. Target Field (Minnesota Twins)

2. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates)

3. Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals)

4. Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati Reds)

5. US Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox)

6. Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians) 

7. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers)

8. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers)

Road Trip 2010 – PNC Park – 6/15/10

Back in February while planning this trip, after seeing Cleveland was just a little over two
204.JPGhours from Pittsburgh, I got lucky and found some great seats right behind the dugout for dirt cheap. I have a new found love for PNC Park and really would like to see the Pirates get better one day because it is such a beautiful ballpark with so much to offer. I have met some of the most friendliest people in Pittsburgh as well. We got to the park early in time to look around and go to the home plate entrance that I didn’t get a chance to see back when we first came to Pitt last year.

 j, pierre.JPG

One of my biggest goals on this trip was to get a chance to talk to one of our hometown pro athletes, Juan Pierre. I have met Juan before and got a picture and autograph with him but never at the ballpark. I was going to try at BP but he was on the other side of the stadium and I was not going to go into the trap that was left field that day. I did get two baseballs though, one from Mark Kotsay and the other from Andruw Jones on toss ups.

pnc 2.JPGI got both of them from toss ups and I threw them to my Dad but he put them in my bag for some reason and it ripped and they rolled out! UGH! Looking back I wish I could have walked away with both balls but I was really pissed at the time because some teenager walked over I guess and just picked it up without my Dad seeing. That is unless it rolled down the steps which is more likely the scenario. Oh well, no big deal.
 

Thumbnail image for kotsay.JPG

The great seats gave us a great view of Pittsburgh, even better than the ones I had last year for when I saw the Cliff Lee led Indians play against the Pirates. I didn’t go as trigger happy on pictures this time as I had PLENTY of pictures from last year and I really wanted to just enjoy the ballpark’s view and everything it had to offer! By the way, the Lemonade man is awesome. He’s a legend here in Pittsburgh.

 

cutch.JPG

So enough of my rambling. PNC Park is one of those parks that you must see. Several people might say it’s overrated but in my opinion it’s perfect. From the Clemente Wall to the view to the food to the classic feel you get, there is just something special about this place. I don’t know what it is but my goal is to get back. From the food to the fans (the few that still come) to the sights and sounds to the fan friendliness, there is so much that Pittsburgh offers and once the Pirates do find success, it’ll be even more fun! 

g. jones.JPG The game wasn’t too bad as the White Sox would end up winning the game 6-4. The sad thing was that with the about 11,500 or so fans that were there, most were Sox fans. Of course you had your diehard Pirates fans but they seemed to be outnumbered on this night. Sadly I ended up missing the debut of Pedro Alvarez by one night but I did see Brad Lincoln’s second career start and his first home start. Not a bad trade off I guess really. 

lincoln.JPGRegardless, we saw a pretty good game and it was certainly great to be back at PNC Park. I’m going to work on the 2009 Road Trip Entries and will go more into detail on those whenever I work on those later on, but really I can’t complain about a great night at the park. We stayed at the same motel we stayed at last year which brought the shuttle close to the park. The Pirates had tied it at 4 in the Bottom of the 5th but in the top of the 6th, the Sox took the lead for good and would add one more run in the 9th to insure victory. 

Thumbnail image for ws celebrating.JPGPNC Park is such a beauty. This is one of those parks you must go to and see a game. After the game we stood around and took some more pictures and I wanted to try and go talk to Juan since I didn’t get a chance earlier but I wasn’t too concerned. We looked around a bit more and went back down to the bottom after taking the escalators to the bottom level as we were about to call it a night.It’s a shame that not many people come here to enjoy games now but hopefully in the future that’ll happen for you Pirates fans. Regardless, I had a fun night at PNC once again!

scoreboard pnc sox.JPG After another great night at PNC, we headed back to the room and took it easy the rest of the night. We had a decent drive ahead of us the next day as we would be embarking upon Cincinnati and as the trip drew close to it’s end, I was eagerly anticipating the end of the trip and the return home. So long PNC, maybe just maybe I’ll be back one day. Especially if the Rangers come back and play here one day! I will not miss that one if I have any say about it!

 

Road Trip 2010 Game Stats: 

Final Score: Chicago White Sox 6, Pittsburgh 4

W – Freddy Garcia (7-3)

L – Brad Lincoln (0-1)

S – Bobby Jenks (12)

___________________________

Road Trip 2010 Fun Stats:

Guess the Winner Game: 5-2 (Detroit, Minnesota, Detroit, Washington, Chicago)

Home Team Record: 4-3

Total Runs Scored: 72

Away Team Runs Scored: 30

Home Team Runs Scored: 42

Home Runs: Miguel Cabrera, Jason Kubel, Brennan Boesch, Alexei Ramirez, Ramon Castro, Miguel Cabrera, Brent Lillibridge, Ryan Braun, Vladimir Guerrero, Casey McGehee, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Garrett Jones, Carlos Guillen, Travis Hafner, Adam Dunn, Roger Bernandina

Teams Watched on Road Trip ’10: Detroit 3x, Kansas City 2x, Minnesota, Chicago White Sox 2x, Texas, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh 2x, Washington, Cleveland

Ballpark Giveaways: Bret Saberhagen Bobbleheads (Kansas City), Sue 10th Anniversary Team Posters (Chicago White Sox), Sports Authority Coupon (Milwaukee), Detroit Stars Negro League Hat (Detroit Tigers),

And the ballpark rankings which are based on the experience, the building itself, the fans, and mostly my final thoughts on all of these combined together. We have a shift in ballpark rankings this week as PNC Park will take over at number two but will not be able to dethrone Target Field. Kauffman moves out of the number two spot for the first time since Target Field was reviewed. No other changes will be made at this time and with three more parks to come, there are sure to be several “shake ups” in the order of rankings.  

Ballpark Rankings :

1. Target Field (Minnesota Twins)

2. PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates)

3. Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals)

4. US Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox)

5. Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians) 

6. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers)

7. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers)

Road Trip 2010 – Progressive Field – 6/13/10

On our original scheduling of the road trip we were going to be seeing the Mets vs. Indians on June 15th but I wanted to do something different. I wanted to go and see the Nationals play as that is one of the teams I had yet to see play. Turns out I picked a great game to go to. Stephen Strasburg was called up and made his debut on June 8th and on June 13th he made his second career start and his first ever road start for the Nationals. More on that as we progress through the blog.

The Prog.JPG

We pulled up to the Prog early as the game was a Sunday afternoon game. The night before we made the drive from Detroit to Cleveland which was about three hours or so. Not too bad of a drive. This was pre-Lebron departing so you still saw your fair share of LeBron jerseys and the LeBron poster was still downtown. Either way had it not been for Strasburg we would have been looking at probably maybe 13,000 people or so at the game. The Indians have been averaging about 16,000 but they ended up doubling it this game due to Strasburg. Seriously, most people were there for Strasburg and understandably because of the Indians and their poor performance this year. It went even as far as the Indians selling Strasburg t-shirts with his name and number on it. Never before have I seen that at another MLB stadium.

first pitch strasburg.JPGPart of this tour was to go out and not only see baseball but see different parts of America. I wanted to see how fans are different from each team, how they react to their team’s performance, etc. I’m not sure if we picked a good game for that but when I bought tickets I had no clue Strasburg was going to pitch. It was just luck of the draw. Had he not pitched we would have been in an almost empty stadium. So it’s kind of hard to gauge how the stadium normally is due to it being Kids Day with all kinds of activities going on plus the main factor in Strasburg. By the way on the left, that is Strasburg’s first pitch and the flashes were going off everywhere in the ballpark!

santana.JPG

As for the game, Strasburg went 5.1 IP, struck out eight but walked five and only gave up one run. This was the game where he called for the grounds crew twice to come out and fix the mound. Fans were booing throughout the entire duration of the grounds crew coming out. As for the Indians, this was David Huff’s first start since he took a ball to the head. He didn’t do too hot giving up six runs. A big thing for me was getting to see Carlos Santana play and it was only his third Major League game ever as he made his debut. He actually had hit his first home run the night before to help the Indians win. There he is on the right.

dunn hr.JPG As for the stadium, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Shame on me for not going to talk to “The Drum Guy” as he was standing by in the Kids Zone area on the outside of the ballpark at the beginning. He’s at every game in the top of the bleachers banging his drum to cheer on the Indians. He’s been featured on Indians highlights on ESPN every now and then. The stadium has a lot to offer really. Heritage Park is a nice place that features some of the Indians historic players and has the 100 top Indians players as voted on by the fans.

 

inside Prog.JPGI went into Progressive field really not expecting much but there really is a lot of stuff to do there. One of the neatest things is the Progressive SUV that shoots out t-shirts and honks it’s horn and spins around. Now I wasn’t out there whenever it was doing this but it still was pretty cool and is a unique and neat feature. We had nice cheap seats in the shade for a Sunday afternoon game. There isn’t much to complain about really? I had a great hot dog with the brown stadium mustard that was pretty good and different. A great afternoon in my book.

nats celebrating.JPG  The Nats were able to walk away with a 9 to 4 win over the Indians. It was cool that I just happened to shift the visit to the Prog from Tuesday to Sunday and this resulted in us seeing one of the top young prospects in the game. The Prog isn’t necessarily the nicest park or the best park in the Majors but it provides everything you need from ok food to entertainment for the entire family and really, it’s a good rating in my book. It won’t dethrone any of the other stadiums but it still is a great experience.

Thumbnail image for CLE.JPG 

 So if you’re ever in the area or near Cleveland drop in and see a game. It’s only a little over two hours from PNC Park and makes a nice drive in a very nice part of the country. Go and do it, you won’t regret it!

 

 

 

Road Trip 2010 Game Stats: 

Final Score: Washington 9, Cleveland 4

W – Stephen Strasburg (2-0)

L – David Huff (2-8)

___________________________

Road Trip 2010 Fun Stats:

Guess the Winner Game: 4-2 (Detroit, Minnesota, Detroit, Washington)

Home Team Record: 4-2

Total Runs Scored: 62

Away Team Runs Scored: 24

Home Team Runs Scored: 38

Home Runs: Miguel Cabrera, Jason Kubel, Brennan Boesch, Alexei Ramirez, Ramon Castro, Miguel Cabrera, Brent Lillibridge, Ryan Braun, Vladimir Guerrero, Casey McGehee, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Garrett Jones, Carlos Guillen, Travis Hafner, Adam Dunn, Roger Bernandina

Teams Watched on Road Trip ’10: Detroit 3x, Kansas City 2x, Minnesota, Chicago White Sox, Texas, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Washington, Cleveland

Ballpark Giveaways: Bret Saberhagen Bobbleheads (Kansas City), Sue 10th Anniversary Team Posters (Chicago White Sox), Sports Authority Coupon (Milwaukee), Detroit Stars Negro League Hat (Detroit Tigers),

And the ballpark rankings which are based on the experience, the building itself, the fans, and mostly my final thoughts on all of these combined together. Number one and two remain the same with Target Field and Kauffman Stadium staying put but Progressive comes in at number four while Comerica keeps the spot in the cellar at number six. Miller Park and US Cellular Field shift spots this time around as US Cellular takes number three (for now) and Miller moves down to number five. Keep an eye out for the updated rankings each time around. 

Ballpark Rankings :

1. Target Field (Minnesota Twins)

2. Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals)

3. US Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox)

4. Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians) 

5. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers)

6. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers)

Road Trip 2010 – Comerica Park – 6/12/10

After our game in Milwaukee we drove towards Detroit calling it a night about halfway there. We really didn’t have any plans for Detroit so we got there about 2:30 or 3 and walked around the area. We didn’t see much but we went and ate before we headed back to the gates to get in. Originally in the scheduling we were going to attend the game on Sunday but I noticed that the Pirates and Tigers…err…the Crawfords and the Stars…would be playing in the 16th Annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game on Saturday night. I knew I wanted to go to this game and especially since it was a night game instead of a day game. In the long run, it paid off for the game we would attend the next day (more to come on that in the next entry) but regardless we picked a good game.
  

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for comerica sign.JPG We got into the ballpark around 5:30 and batting practice wasn’t really that exciting as not too many baseballs came into the right field stands. I did come close to one but a guy was in front of me and it came exactly one row in front of me. What a shame but I couldn’t complain as the next week I would end up catching some baseball souvenirs! 

Before the game there was a presentation for some former Negro League players and merchandise was being sold on the streets, the concourse from jerseys to shirts to hats to anything you can think of. A red Detroit Stars hat was the giveaway on this night as we would be seeing the Pirates (Crawfords) and the Tigers (Stars) dress up in their extra baggy unis.JPGuniforms.

I thought it was cool seeing the Pirates once again sport Negro League uniforms once again as I saw the Pirates wear them last year at PNC Park against the Royals. I’m a sucker for uniforms and really do enjoy seeing teams wear different uniforms when I’m at the park. Maybe that’s kind of strange but I’ve always been attracted to the small things in baseball. I guess that’s what makes the game so fun. Either way, Negro Leagues Night was a great success I think as they were able to help some fans learn about the Negro Leagues and their famed history. Now onto the most important issue here…the ballpark!

tiger and park.JPGOverall, I’m going to be VERY honest here. I wasn’t impressed really. Nothing really made me want to be there. I mean don’t get me wrong it’s not a bad ballpark BUT nothing really made me just want to come there. It was more or less a ballpark to check off the list than a must see originally and it will remain that way. Sure the tiger statues are nice, the theme park isn’t annoying as it is said to be, the Little Caesars being everywhere doesn’t bother me really because of who the owner is, but I don’t know if I’d ever really want to go back to Detroit for a game.

We went to a night game and I’ve heard stuff about the area. It didn’t seem as bad as many people make it seem to be. I did like the wall with the players names and numbers, the fountain was okay and I really enjoy the fact it is a pitcher’s park as it’s nice to see a change of pace in seeing these “homer friendly” parks having been built recently. The Tigers are one of the teams “behind the times” as their scoreboard is the old matrix dot board with no color. After being at all of these ballparks with nice and new colored scoreboards it’s a shame to come here and see this. I can’t say much though as the Rangers have the same thing and I’m used to seeing it there.

det scoreboard.JPGOne thing is for sure that you always know you are at a Tigers game. With the several Tigers statues around the ballpark, there is no doubt you know you are in Detroit. We had pretty good seats for the game and the game was good but really other than that it seemed like it was just another ballpark. I didn’t go in with high expectations as many fans don’t really rave about Comerica but I knew going in I didn’t want to be disappointed. Sure it’s a nice place to catch a game if you like the Tigers or your favorite team is in town or if you’re a ballpark chaser but really other than that, it’s nothing special.

Crawford.JPGAs for the game, the Tigers would go on to win the game in the 10th inning with a walk-off Home Run by Carlos Guillen to right field. It was an offensive clinic despite only seven runs scoring as both teams combined for 22 hits and the Tigers had 13 of them. Pirates All-Star Evan Meek and Joel Zumaya both picked up blown saves after the Tigers scored two in the bottom of the seventh to make it 3 to 2 but the Pirates would respond back in the 8th with a run to tie it at 3. Paul Maholm gave up eight hits for the Pirates but only one run while Jeremy Bonderman gave up only six hits and two runs. Both had solid starts and went six innings but neither factored into the decision.

115.JPG

On the right is the celebration after Guillen’s bomb to end the game. This was about a week after Kendry Morales injury so of course there was prevention taken to insure that Guillen wouldn’t be injured. After the game we caught a very good fireworks show based to the tunes of, well you guessed it…Mo-Town. I don’t normally care about seeing fireworks at ballparks but I won’t leave if they are having them either. It was a good show that was very nice to see fireworks and just kick back and relax after having traveled for a week.

123.JPGSo, overall Comerica Park was just okay. The fans weren’t really too excited about the game (yes, I know they were playing the Pirates!) but still. The food, the atmosphere, the ballpark just doesn’t really add up to make it a must see park. As for a ballpark chaser like me it’s not bad to go and see once but for the diehard ballpark chasers, I couldn’t see going back to Detroit being a dire need. Like I said above if you are a Tigers fan or your team is in town, go catch a game. But without a doubt this is no Tiger Stadium we are talking about!

Road Trip 2010 Game Stats: 

Final Score: Detroit 4, Pittsburgh 3

W – Phil Coke (4-0)

L – Brendan Donnelly (2-1)

___________________________

Road Trip 2010 Fun Stats:

Guess the Winner Game: 3-2 (Detroit, Minnesota, Detroit)

Home Team Record: 4-1

Total Runs Scored: 49

Away Team Runs Scored: 15

Home Team Runs Scored: 34

Home Runs: Miguel Cabrera, Jason Kubel, Brennan Boesch, Alexei Ramirez, Ramon Castro, Miguel Cabrera, Brent Lillibridge, Ryan Braun, Vladimir Guerrero, Casey McGehee, Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, Garrett Jones, Carlos Guillen

Teams Watched on Road Trip ’10: Detroit 3x, Kansas City 2x, Minnesota, Chicago White Sox, Texas, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh

Ballpark Giveaways: Bret Saberhagen Bobbleheads (Kansas City), Sue 10th Anniversary Team Posters (Chicago White Sox), Sports Authority Coupon (Milwaukee), Detroit Stars Negro League Hat (Detroit Tigers),

And the ballpark rankings which are based on the experience, the building itself, the fans, and mostly my final thoughts on all of these combined together. Target Field has still not been unthroned from number one yet but US Cellular has been shifted down to four while Miller Park takes over at three. Comerica is going to take number five for now as I was the least impressed with Comerica as we have now reached the halfway point for the 2010 Midwest Road Trip.

Ballpark Rankings :

1. Target Field (Minnesota Twins)

2. Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals)

3. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers) 

4. US Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox)

5. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers)