Pictures: CornBelters Games 7/20/13

A gorgeous night for some gorgeous girls at the ol’ ballpark.

Girls night
The gorgeous girls in question.
First pitch.
First pitch.
Glad to have you back, Mike Mobbs.
Glad to have you back, Mike Mobbs.
Gorgeous night for a ballgame.
Gorgeous night for a ballgame.
We believe this to be the loudest, longest conversation about where to have dinner in the history of baseball.
We believe this to be the loudest, longest conversation about where to have dinner in the history of baseball.
The final out.
The final out.
CornBelters Win!
CornBelters Win!

 

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CornBelters vs. Otters 7/20/13

Normal CornBelters

I don’t know how you work your girls nights, but ours have a tendency to involve baseball. This time we went to see the CornBelters play the Evansville Otters.

Despite Mike Mobbs losing the battle with the sun early in the game (he dropped two catches), some hits, and a few walks, the only run the Otters scored was on a home run that tipped off the glove of Keoni Manago. The CornBelters managed to come from behind, manufacturing a couple of runs to win the game.

The Otters manager got ejected at one point. I’m pretty sure it was for commenting loudly on balls and strikes since the ump’s zone was rather inconsistent. After he got the boot, he came out to let the ump know exactly how he felt. His feelings were long-winded and he took his sweet time walking back to the clubhouse. We were all disappointed when he didn’t stop at the corn they have planted on the berm to grab an ear and chuck it out on the field in protest.

The pitching was pretty stellar on both sides despite the ump. Aside from that home run and a few walks and hits, Ryan Demmin was on it. Jose Trinidad and Alan Oaks were fabulous in relief. It was a really great game.

I’m happy to see Mike Mobbs  back with the Belters. He was a favorite during the 2011 season and I missed his face last year. He also has the best walk-up music, Tom Petty’s “Last Dance with Mary Jane”. You can’t beat that, though I wish some of the guys would try.

It was a gorgeous night for baseball and our seats were superb. The win was just the icing on the cake. We couldn’t ask for a better girls night, really.

Let’s go Corn!

Pictures: CornBelters Game 6/7/13

What follows is photographic evidence that I had a good time at the CornBelters game last week, even if they did lose.

A corn dog at the Corn Crib for the CornBelters game. I'm sensing a theme.
A corn dog at the Corn Crib for the CornBelters game. I’m sensing a theme.
The starting line-ups.
The starting line-ups.
It was a nice night for baseball.
It was a nice night for baseball.
First pitch of the game. It was a ball.
First pitch of the game. It was a ball.
Hit it hard somewhere, McKenna!
Hit it hard somewhere, McKenna!
First place feels pretty spiffy.
First place feels pretty spiffy.

My First CornBelters Game of 2013

Normal CornBelters

Things are a little different this season. Yeah, there was again a significant roster turnover in the off-season (I recognize a couple of names, though!) and we’ve got a new manager again, but this team came out of the gate winning. Winning so much that they’ve got one of the best records in the Frontier League and were in first place in the division by the time I went to this game. That’s pretty spiffy for a team that couldn’t buy a win last year.

Of course, they didn’t win at the game I went to. In fact, the first two innings, they looked a lot like the team I watched last season. Three errors and nine runs in the first two innings; six of those runs scored on two outs. I thought I was looking at another blowout (I watched them challenge the need for a mercy rule last year in one of their games). But, they managed to shore it up and didn’t allow another run for the next seven innings. In fact, they played pretty good ball after that.

Except for the scoring part. Three runs was all they could manage despite some pretty nice offensive numbers from several of their players.

Ah, well. It was a good time anyway. I took my three nieces to the game. For three girls that aren’t really that much into baseball, they love the Corn Crib. And it’s not even the distractions like the video board, face painting, kid zone, Corny, and/or food that get them going (especially since the only running around they’re allowed to do once the game starts is to go to the bathroom). It’s just the whole ballpark experience. They really enjoy themselves. Particularly when they’re able to make up dances to the walk-up music. Romulo Ruiz and David Medina are now their two favorite players because of this.

The after-game fireworks set to classic rock is a big winner, too.

The one drawback was a guy sitting near us who felt that it was his duty to yell encouragement to every ‘Belter that came up the plate. For every pitch.

Folks, I cannot stress enough that you should not be this guy. This is not little league and you are not their parent (even if it was little league and you were their parent it would still be annoying, but at least understandable and you’d only be doing it for your kid, not every player). It’s cool to applaud and whoop when the guy comes up to bat, but he doesn’t need your extra loud words for every pitch. And if at any time your unnecessarily loud voice is used to say, “Kill the umpire!” or call the umpire a ref when you’re heckling him, then you need to find a well to throw yourself down. Because you’re not cool. You’re an asshole.

Rule of thumb: When an eight year old wants to fight you, you’re being obnoxious.

But never mind the jerks.

Let’s go Corn!

So, About 2012…

Pat Hughes

I was going to do some kind of reflective, year-end post about 2012, but I’ll be honest…I don’t really feel like it.

Most of it was pretty boring. I did boring, routine things. I struggled to pay my bills, used up a big part of my savings, felt like a complete failure, failed to meet many of the writing goals, and totally lacked any kind of success on the professional front (and most of the personal front, too). Really nothing to get into or write the Internet about.

But I did rarely have the occasion to do some cool things. I went to Cubs Con and Casino Night. I saw the Cubs lose their 100th game of the season, but Pat Hughes waved at me and that totally kills any of that pain. Let me repeat that. Pat Hughes waved at me.

I was able to hang out with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time (Hi, Becca!) and I met some really cool people, too (Hi, Harry!). I reconnected via social media with some people I haven’t seen in ages (Hi, Josh!) and I met some really cool people that way, too (Hi, everybody!).

I found out just what I’d do to try to make a life and a career my way and just how frustrating and hard that can be (and just how frustrating and hard I can be, too).

I changed a little, grew a little. It wasn’t all fantastic and glamorous. Most of it wasn’t. But it wasn’t an absolute waste either.

2012 was okay. And it’s a good thing I went through it because I have a feeling that 2013 won’t be much different.

I’m ready.

Pictures: Cubs vs. Astros 10/1/12

Pictures from my last Cubs game of the 2012 season and the Cubs 100th loss. Don’t let the downer qualities of that sentence fool you. I had a good time.

This is where Pat and Keith live.
This is where Len and Bob live.
Jason Berken’s first pitch of the game.
Dave Sappelt at the plate.
James Russell on the mound.
Len and Bob singing the stretch. This is when Pat Hughes waved at me.

 

Carlos Marmol closing it out.
Until next year…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Saw 100

I got up at 6:30 yesterday morning knowing full well that after working two of my three current day jobs that I was going to drive three hours to Chicago, take the park ‘n’ ride bus to Wrigley, see my last Cubs game of the year, drive three hours home, and be up at 6:30 this morning and it might all possibly be for loss number 100.

Well, it was.

I’m running on four hours of sleep and pretty much just trying to get this written so I can go take a nap so I have no idea how coherent it might be. But I’m going to give it a shot.

I’ve never experienced the Cubs losing 100 games in a season. I find it to be a bummer. I’d much rather my team win. And they didn’t. I was really kind of hoping they’d pull off the sweep and avoid the 100. It’d mean nothing. Many people have pointed out that losing 99 is no different than losing 100, but it would have been something of salvage. A tiny morale boost in the midst of a tough season. It would have been nice.

But it didn’t happen. That’s a stone drag.

But it could be worse.

How?

Well, look at it like this. The Cubs will continue they’re rebuilding in 2013 in the NL Central. The Astros will continue their rebuilding in 2013 in AL West. Who would you rather suffer with? I thought so.

The thing about 100 losses is that it puts a team and its fans in an interesting position. How does management respond to this? How does the coaching staff? How do the players? How do the fans?

Now, I can hardly manage a fantasy team so I’m hardly qualified to speculate on what management should or shouldn’t do, will or won’t do, but I’m going to guess that Jed Hoyer’s not bullshitting when he says they’ll be looking at affordable, serviceable starting pitching. That seems like a pretty good place to start.

The coaches probably like being employed, even by a losing team, so I bet they’ve come up with all sorts of good things they want the players to work on. And the players probably have their own ideas about how they should improve, unless Darwin Barney is the only one that doesn’t like complacency (I’m willing to bet money that at least one other guy on the team doesn’t like complacency either).

And the fans? Well, the fans will continue to bitch and moan and whine and go out on ledges and nail themselves to crosses and rail against certain players, the coaches, the management, the owners, etc., and remind the world about how much better the team would be if they were in charge because, well, that’s what fans do.

A few of them, however, will be left standing at the end of another long season of possibly sub-.500 ball (but not another 100 losses; I don’t know that this team has it in them to do it again), sad to see another fall encroach upon their summer fun even if their team was dreadful because they tend to focus on the short term–this game, this inning, this pitch–rather than the long term. Because that’s what fans do, too.

Here’s the thing, kids. I’m all about the journey. Sure, I want to win. I like winning. I can’t wait for a Cubs World Series win. It’s going to be sweet. But I’m just as interested in the trip as I am the destination. 100 losses is part of the trip. The sucky part of the trip to be sure, but in order to fully appreciate the end win, the whole journey should be experienced.  Zen, no?

At least that’s how I look at it.

But, of course, I’m sleepy.