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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Autumn & Winter

As I've written here before, Sandee and I are going to try to keep the blog going in the off-season. I'm shooting for one post per week, probably on Sunday.

I'm still immersed in baseball, but at a higher level. I'm a NY Yankee fan, and my Bombers are doing very well. But so are the Nats, and it makes me wonder if it's just all the Chiefs that were called up in September or if the teams they're playing, like Philly, know they've clinched so aren't playing at 100%, saving themselves for the post-season.

I've also been reading baseball-related books (some of which I'll review during the off-season), and started watching Ken Burns' BASEBALL. I sure hope the library lets me renew the DVD set until I see the entire series.

The First Ladies of Summer wrote in their blog:
Fact: Ashley and I are terrible bloggers.  I've been to three games recently, and blogged about none of them.  There have been a few other events and posts that we never got around to sharing with everyone.  Part of this can be attributed to a condition that Ashley and I have dubbed being "baseball'd out".  Being baseball'd out happens when you've gone to a lot of baseball games during the summer.

Maggie and Ashley? Sandee and I can relate.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brad Peacock!

Congrats to Brad Peacock on his first MLB start last night against the New York Mets. Brad pitched 5 innings and got the win.

Tommy Milone is pitching against the Mets this afternoon. Good luck, Tommy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Buffalo Vs. Syracuse?

There's a NY Mets vs. Washington Nats game on tonight at a reasonable (i.e. East Coast) hour, so I guess I'll tune in. According to a Mets-fan co-worker, it will be just like watching a Buffalo vs. Syracuse game, since the 40-man roster season has brought up so many players from both teams.

Works for me! Maybe I'll get to see Marrero on 1st for the Nats and Pistachio on 1st for the Mets.

Gotta have a Chiefs baseball fix, that's for sure.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

From Syracuse to Washington: With Love

I've been in touch with The First Ladies of Baseball, who seem to be the Sandee & Molly of the Washington Nationals.

Part of what I wrote (the night Strasburg debuted in DC):

Take care of your newbies Brad Peacock, Tommy Milone, and Atahualpa Severino. Syracuse's season is over, but the Nats have our best!
Maggie responded:

We’ll take good care of them. And we don’t blame Peacock for his bad outing last night – that was totally not his fault. I, personally, blame Doug Slaten. PS – Very jealous of you guys getting waves from players on a regular basis!
Good to know you'll take care of our guys, Maggie. And as for us getting waves from the players on a regular basis? Well that's easy. We're the coolest people at the stadium!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MLB Debuts

Congrats to Brad Peacock, Atahualpa Severino, and Steve Lombardozzi on their MLB debuts last night.

Also called up: Yuneski Maya, and Craig Stammen.

Oh. And that outfielder. The fan dissing one.

TV Stevie & I listened to a late inning or two on the radio last night.

Sorry the Nats lost the game.

212 days, but who's counting?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Final Game of the Season

September 5, 2011
The Syracuse Chiefs ended the season the same way they began it: in the rain. But because Lehigh Valley needed to play this game in their run for the Wildcard spot, the game went on in spite of the weather. According to radio reports, this game was pretty much mandated.

And I suppose the weather reflected my mood: dismal. The end of the season is always sad for this fan.

The weather also made play dangerous. And the pitchers had a difficult time controlling a wet ball.

The scoreboard when I arrived
When TV Stevie and I first arrived we sat with friends in the back of Section 207, but by the start of the 2nd inning, I needed to be in my front row seat. It was just rain. I'm not made out of sugar, I won't melt. And it wouldn't be the first time I sat watching a Chiefs game in the rain. Especially this season.

Steve Lombardozzi was the first base coach for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th innings. We know he heard us. The stadium was nearly empty. Sandee said his grandmother (with whom he lives, in Auburn) would be ashamed of the way he dissed a couple of old ladies like us. It's not cool.

Matt Antonelli was the first base coach in the 4th inning, and he acknowledged us. YAY Matt!

It was very difficult to take notes in the rain while holding an umbrella, but I have a few:

  • In the middle of the3rd inning, Carlos Maldonado came out of the dugout with a pink bat and gave it to a kid sitting near the dugout. Carlos is just a great guy when it comes to his fans. That is why Sandee and I are the co-presidents of the Carolos Maldonado Fan Club.
  • We saw Carlos come out a couple of times to warm up the pitcher, but he never responded to us. He was focused on the kid behind the net near the dugout.
  • Talked to Tall Mike, the assistant GM: 214 days until opening days. That's 30 weeks. In our opinion, that's too long! But we got the schedules last night (with an unknown Nationals player on them) and saw how "heavy" the schedule was in April and wondered who did that? Hello?? This is Syracuse, New York, the snowiest major metropolitan area in the continental United States. Why are there so many April games in Syracuse? We should be in Charlotte, Gwinett, Louisville.
  • We noticed the team wore their weekend red jerseys today. Maybe the others were already packed away. 
  • The Famous Eric Cohen stopped by to say hi.
  • Sandee and I each got t-shirts in the t-shirt toss. So did TV Stevie.
  • So many controversial calls by the umps starting in the 5th inning. It was very clear that the league had said this game had to be played, regardless of weather, and that the umps were favoring the (iron)Pigs. Tug was "accused" (interference error) of tripping a player running home (the grass was wet!) The catcalls from the stands were quite creative. "Tell him to tie his shoes next time!" and "You try to run on wet grass, Ump!" Sandee, Anthony, & I joined in. So even though Jhonatan Solana made the out at home, the runner was called safe. 
  • Bottom of 5th: it sure as sugar looked like an in-park home run to us, but Garret Mock's hit was ruled a ground rule double. 
  • Garret Mock had to ask for towels several times to wipe down the ball and his glove. 
  • Top of 6th: the Lehigh Valley runner slid at first base and was clearly out, but was called safe because he slipped. As someone behind me said, "Can't call it, 'cause they gotta win it."
  • During the top of the sixth inning, Randy Knorr and Ryne Sandberg came out and conferred with umps. The rain was steady. Five innings (the minimum required to be an 'official' game) had been played. The players were called in. The announcer made it sound as if the game had been called. Thanked us for our attendance.
  • Sandee and I shrieked Carlos's name. He raised his helmet in acknowledgement. 
  • XG-man came down to say good-bye. He'd been sitting out of the rain. He said, "I wondered who was crazy enough to be sitting down here. It figures." He wished us a Merry Christmas, and said he'd see us next season. 
  • Maven came down to say good-bye. He'd been sitting out of the rain. He hugged us all. 
  • Sandee thinks we should have a Section 207 reunion mid off-season.
  • Jim Durkin has been having back problems. Hope you're feeling better soon, Jim!
  • I found TV Stevie, who was sitting with friends, Kevin & Debby. Kevin asked: "Did they call the game?" The announcer never said. But Kevin pointed out to me that they'd picked up the bases and gone home. The scoreboard read: RAIN DELAY.
The base path is a river. No tarp.
Kevin also told me he'd miss the blog. (Thanks, Kevin!) I explained that Sandee and I have plans to keep the blog going in the off-season. Maybe we won't blog as often, but we have material we've been saving, and plenty of ideas. 

Two hundred and thirteen days, but who's counting?

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Final Home Stand: Game 1

Lehigh Valley came to town, needing two wins. And they got 'em.

Sunday was hot and humid, weatherwise. People kept telling me the game would be rained out. Instead, we had a beautiful night for a ballgame and fireworks.

One of the first things we heard: "Is Lurch calling the game?" Whoever was announcing in the stadium spoke very slowing and had a very deep voice.

Matt Antonelli coached first throughout the game. He didn't acknowledge us until the 4th inning, but a couple of times he did hear us and look around to see who was calling his name.

Antonelli coaching 1st
We also got to see former Chief Pete Orr play.
Pete Orr at the plate
All of the Section 207 gang was there. Sandee & I discussed trying to get a group photo, but Maven is camera shy, and we didn't think he'd go for it.

  • In the third inning, Lombo (2nd) hot-dogged a throw to Fraze (1st), but it wasn't in time. TV Stevie said it looked like Lombo's been watching too much Jeter and Cano.
  • Bottom of the third. Lombo, Hulett, Valdez on base. Fraze fouls out. That other outfielder called out on strikes. Someone behind us kept shouting, "You're kidding! You gotta be kidding!" After about the third refrain of this, TV Stevie responded: "Yeah, he's kidding. He's the Comedian Umpire."
  • Fifth inning: Tug Hulett made a spectacular catch at third base. 
  • Bottom of the fifth: Lombo & Bynum hit line drives. Hulett's line drive sends Lombo home. Then Jesus Valdez, our favorite outfielder, hits a home run! Score: 4-1 Chiefs. A few batters later, Iron Pig manager and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg came out to change pitchers.
Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg
At some point, Josh Barfield, son of former Toronto Blue Jay and New York Yankee Jesse Barfield, 
came into the game.
Josh Barfield
In the seventh inning, there was a pitching change.
Ryan Tatusko had started the game.
Tatusko on the mound
Unfortunately, the next two pitchers blew the lead for us. Then Sandee's favorite pitcher, Josh Wilkie (as in "Josh Wilkie, you ROCK!") came into the game.

New Pitcher
While this was happening, some kid was trying to tell Scooch a knock-knock joke, and the Iron Pigs' third base coach was writing something, using his thigh as a desk. Anthony thought he might be making notes for his  blog.

The Chiefs managed to tie the game, and Zech Zinicola did his best in the 9th, but in the end, the Pigs ruled, 7-4.

  • The Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees may play several home games at Alliance Bank Stadium next season, while PNC Field undergoes renovation.
  • We haven't seen Jim Durkin at a game since he took the fans on a road trip to Boston on August 20.
  • Carlos Maldonado in the dugout. 'Nuff said.
Carlos in the dugout

Baseball & Friendship

August 18, 2011

My friend Josh, every now and then, graces us with his presence at a game and we always look forward to him joining us. As you can see from the picture above, he is entertaining (to say the least!). I asked him some questions while we were watching the game and it went something like this:

Full name: Silly the kid (aka Josh Zappola)

Occupation: Self Employed as a Landscaper and a Student of Landscape Architecture

Interests: BASEBALL, Football, SU Sports, running, his puppy, outdoors, snowshoeing and spending time with family and friends.

When I asked him why he liked baseball he said "Where can I sit outside, enjoy the weather, talk to cool people and watch a game? I can relax and watch an event unfold before me where I literally never know what's gonna happen next."

Josh is truly one of my favorite people on this planet and I admire his ability to be able to assess many situations with a cool and clear head - I have looked to him many times in our relationship for advice and know I can always count on him to see the forest through the trees (it's a landscaping thing).

So when I asked him what words of advice he might have to share, this is what he said...

"Always use both hands - it's a baseball thing"

On a serious note, he also said "Do what you can do within your power to make a good outcome. You have no control over anything but your own actions and reactions. Make sure that they help ensure the best possible outcome. Hence, always use both hands."

A big thank you goes out to Josh for being a good friend and making a good thing (watching baseball) even better by joining us at the game!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Psychics of 207

On July 17th, this blog speculated that Tommy Milone wouldn't be long for the Chiefs. I was wrong in that he wasn't called up until the end of season. Tommy debuted with the Nats against the Mets last night. Tommy won the game. 

Tommy also hit a home run off the first pitch of his first-ever major league at bat. Only eight pitchers have ever done this. Ever. To sweeten the deal, it was a 3RBI HR.

Milone at bat on July 17, 2011
Not surprised. On July 9th, this blog noted that Milone had gone into the game as a pinch hitter. On July 17th, he went 3 for 3 at the plate. (OK, one was ruled an error, but still.)

Tommy, Section 207 is going to miss you, but we're delighted with your success. Like we didn't know you'd make it!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Rochester Redwings Experience

Our visit to the Rochester Redwings was an action packed, fun filled 9 hour adventure! Here are some of the highlights...

We arrived and saw that it was going to be a very well attended game (fireworks night) and had to park on the far side of the lot - okay, nice night for a walk. We proceeded to the gate to purchase our tickets and were literally only steps away from the ticket line when a man offered us three tickets that he had extra. A $20 value! Low and behold, the tickets were for Section 208! (how funny is that?) And though we were still on the first base side, we were further removed from the field than we are accustomed to in Syracuse, but hey, the tickets were free, right? There was no way we would have been able to get better seats anyway - due to the crowd.

There are only two things I can really complain about. One was the girl in front of me with the linebacker's shoulders and the really long hair. She kept flipping her hair back and it kept brushing the top of my drink, which was placed in the cup holder behind her seat. So I couldn't drink THAT anymore! We are spoiled a bit in Syracuse because our seats in Section 207 are front row and we have our own personal cupholders - because, well, we are COOL!!

The other thing was that it was crowded and I kinda like my space - which we usually have in Syracuse. There were people in front, on our left , on our right and in back of us. Suck it up, right? In Syracuse there is no one in front, we have leg room, I have my good baseball buddy on the left (Hi Molly!), many times there is no one behind us and only somtimes is there anyone on my right (and they usually move once they realize I am a REAL fan and like to cheer loudly and shake my bat rattle). So, yes, we are spoiled and I like it that way! The people on my right did say, however, that they wouldn't hold it against us because we were from Syracuse - so that was nice.

The new guy for Syracuse, Chris Curran, played left field last nght and did a fine job. We saw him in Syracuse coaching first base one night, but didn't know who he was.

Though Carlos Maldanado wasn't catching last night, he was in the game as DH. He wasn't having as good a night as he did the night before, but I'm pretty sure that was because he didn't know I was there - it was too noisy for him to hear me screaming his name. At one point, Carlos go hit by a pitch. uspsetting to see, but being the big, burly manly man that he is, he just shook it off and took his base.

We saw a collision between a Rochester base runner and our short stop - that is something we don't see often. Just thought I would mention it. Oh, and nobody was hurt.

Had some rain, which prompted a bunch of people to leave. Then more people left before the game was over because it was so late when it went into extra innings. Fireworks didn't even start until after 11:00 pm!!

A couple cool things I observed about Rochester...they have a horse made out of baseball gloves. They have a "conehead" selling beer - see picture above. There is a lot more hype in Rochester than in Syracuse. I have observed this before, so it wasn't a one time deal. Another cool thing - instead of just scrolling birthday (etc) announcements on the scoreboard (which costs $5 at Syracuse), Rochester not only posts those kinds of announcements on the board, they use the WHOLE board to do it AND they announce it AND put pictures of the special person on there too! Pretty cool. Last night, one of the pictures was of the Redwings GM to celebrate his birthday and after the game, the entire crowd was invited onto the field to enjoy birthday cake provided by Wegmans!!! This was AFTER the fireworks show!

The game lasted 4 hours and 8 minutes and was 10 full innings! Our favorite outfielder) Jesus Valdez tied the game at 8 in the top of the 8th with a three run homer (his 9th home run of the season). Then in the top of the 10th inning (Molly's man - NOT!!) Corey Brown hit to center field driving in two more runners to put Syracuse on top - 10 to 8!

Then (my man) Josh Wilkie came in bottom of the 10th and sealed the deal - yay Josh Wilkie! Or as I am known to scream out "Josh Wilkie, YOU ROCK!!!" And Molly, this is just for you...Josh induced a pop-up on a 3-2 pitch to Chase Lambin to end the game :)

GO CHIEF'S!!!!!!

We stopped in the team store to browse on our way out of the stadium. Saw a few things I couldn't resist for the little people in my life and a woman from Rochester came up to me and gave me a coupon for 15% off!

When all the action was over and it was time to start the 90 minute journey home, it wasn't really over...there was a sobriety checkpoint and we had to stop and tell the officer where we had been, who won the game and if we had had anything to drink and if we were heading home. Guess we lied because we told him we were heading home and then we stopped at Tops and got groceries at 2:00 in the morning!

What a great outing and all considering - the price was right!! Where else can you go and get that kind of entertainment for $5 parking??!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

This & That

I caught the Chiefs at Buffalo on the radio the past two nights. Carlos Maldonado had a great game last night.

I just read that Bernadina has been recalled to Washington.

Found an interesting website about the Washington Nationals and all the conjecture about who will be called up from the minor leagues and how former Chiefs are faring in the bigs. There are plenty of links on this blog, too, including Nats Nation (from Section 138) and First Ladies of Baseball.

Here's the missing video of the final strikeout of The Perfect Game.

Matt Antonelli has a website/blog here.

Sandee & Anthony will be at the game in Rochester tonight. I'll look for them on television!