Sunday, June 7, 2009

Baseball-palooza

Beth's having a great time in Boulder this weekend. In fact, she suggested on her facebook status that she would like Roxy and I to pack up and meet her in Boulder to move in. However, I have an alternate suggestion of moving--Altoona, PA. Here is home to the Altoona Curve and the main focus of my baseball binge weekend.


After dropping off Beth at the airport, I went over to school and got a 30 minute run in before school. After school, I came home and fed Roxy the Dog and took her for a walk. It was around 4:30 or so when I was done with that and tried to figure out what to do. I checked the radar for Altoona and it said 10% chance of rain and in the upper 50's.

I figure no problem just throw a jacket and sweatshirt in the car and I should be good. As I'm going up into the mountains by Ebensburg, I notice that it's becoming somewhat foggy and begins misting. Um, yeah--that lasted the rest of the night. Oh well, I caught the game from underneath the lower level deck. There's picnic tables there, so I even had a place to sit. I was such the baseball geek, though, and took my walkman and listened to the broadcast as I was watching the game.



Action from the first inning on Friday night. Notice all the umbrellas. (I went with long-sleeve T, hoody sweatshirt, and rain jacket and was just about right--not exactly baseball weather)

My favorite aspect of the ballpark, the roller coaster beyond the right field fence. It's part of Lakemont Park, a small amusement park that's been around forever. You can also see the fine mist in the lights.

Friday night was also Diesel Dawg (that's right, it's spelled DAWG) bank giveaway night. This will make a nice gift for somebody during my summer elementary enrichment program.

As far as the game goes Friday, Kyle Bloom pitched well (no runs in 5 innings), but the bullpen gave up 8 or 9 runs and they lost something like 12-5 (I left after the 8th inning since it was already 10 and I had a two hour drive home and I got up at 3am for us to head out to the airport.

Saturday, I get up and walk the pooch and do another 30 minute run, then off to Greensburg for the rest of the weekend to hang out with my dad (mom was at a PA Baptist women's conference at Bucknell). I helped out with some tree branch clearing and painting of support posts during the day and then my dad and I went up to Altoona (again!) for a DOUBLE HEADER!!!! I know, it's a lot of baseball, but I enjoyed it.

Here's some shots from Day 2:

You can see it was a lot brighter for Saturday's games. I only needed shorts and a t-shirt. This first photo is the view that I USUALLY have for when I go to the Curve games. General Admission bleachers just behind first base. You can usually be in row 1 or two and it's only $5. One of the best deals in minor league baseball.

The gentleman in the foreground with the tan Indiana Jones hat and red shirt has been in this exact location EVERY time I've gone up to a game (kind of like "Chalk" at the PIAA track meet for those who know him). He's got the same thing every game--headphones, a cushion, a score card, a Curve and Pirates official media guide, a ruler that he uses to draw lines on this sheet that isn't even a score card (something in addition to a scorecard) and USUALLY Altoona Curve socks. But, I was disappointed on Saturday to see that he only had on white socks. I guess the Curve socks were in the the wash after the rainy Friday night. By the way, this could conceivably be me in about 40 years. Stay tuned.....

This last shot is the first pitch of game 2 of Saturday's double header. We moved out to the outfield bleachers to get a different view and to be closer to center fielder Gorkys Hernandez (picked up in the McLouth deal earlier in the week).

Okay, so here's some views and opinions about the Pirates in general and Altoona specifically after seeing three games and 20+ innings of the Altoona Curve (skip below to read about the wrap up of my weekend):

*Brad Lincoln is a stud. The former 1st round pick from 2006 is all the way back from Tommy John surgery. 7IP, 3 H, 0ER, 8K, 1BB, very efficient with his pitches and still hitting 95 in the 7th inning. Send him up to AAA and get him in the Pirates' starting rotation for the start of the 2010 season at the latest.

*Gorkys Hernandez, OF picked up in the McLouth deal, looks like he could be decent. His defensive abilities are as advertised. He ran down a couple of balls in the gaps, plays a shallow center field (like Andruw Jones did) and still almost got to two shots that were driven to the warning track. He's got an arm as he fired a laser to home on a ground ball to the OF (even with the wet conditions) just up the 3B line or else he would have got the guy at the plate. However, his hitting left a lot to be desired. In the 8 AB's I saw, only one ball left the infield and it was a lazy fly ball the OF had to come in on. Granted, he collected two infield singles and made every ground ball out interesting with his speed, but he needs to do better there. I'm hoping that it was mostly due to the fact that he was just transfered to a new team and he'll get his hitting rhythm back.

*Brian Friday is the Pirates' shortstop for 2011 at the latest. He can hit line drives, and he can field. I saw him make two 'web gems' and has a pretty strong arm. I'm sold.

*The Altoona bullpen stinks. They gave up 12 runs on Friday, a solo HR on Saturday, and a handful of runs today I heard on the radio.

*As far as the Akron Aeros, catching prospect Carlos Santana (#26 in Baseball America) is the real deal. Lots of hard hit balls including the game-winning home run on Saturday. Beau Mills was an all or nothing guy--big home run Friday night, but also lots of strikeout this weekend. Nick Weglarz was so-so, but a young guy in AA.

Back to non-baseball blog:

Okay, that's all for now. Went to church back home today and sat with grandma. That's always a good time. We went out to Old Country Buffet for lunch--that place should be outlawed due to chance of causing heart disease and obesity. One more week of school. Picking up Beth after school tomorrow. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

1 comment:

Maijaleena said...

When yous said baseball binge I just thought of your all you can eat baseball game last year.