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!


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!

Pictures: My Last CornBelters Game of 2012

My last game was actually July 21st, but I didn’t realize it was going to be my last game of the season. I also didn’t realize until this week that I never posted the pictures I took from that game. How could I deprive you of that?

First pitch: Normal CornBelters vs. London Rippers
The Rippers uniforms look a lot like track suits.
Swing as they might…
…the Belters just couldn’t score.
Game worn jersey auction for the Special Olympics. The jerseys came straight off the guys’ backs.

The season wasn’t the greatest and I would have rather my last game of the season not be a blowout loss, but it I’m still going to miss sad to the see the season end.

And I can’t wait for next year.

2012 CornBelters Season Ends

I’m afraid I didn’t go to many CornBelters games this year. Aside from the Home Run Derby and the All-Star game, I only went to two. One was a suspended due to rain in the 3rd inning. The other was a blowout loss, but at least I got all nine innings in.

There were two reasons I didn’t go much this season. One was, of course, money. Not that the tickets cost much; those prices are quite nice. But the cost of gas and the cost of concessions add up and all told, it was money I couldn’t afford to spend even if I wanted to.

And the second reason is I didn’t really want to. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Corn Crib and I love the Belters, but this team was in such flux it was hard to get into a groove. It seemed like every other week a player was traded. I realize that the manager was trying to put together a winning team (that didn’t work out since they went 29-67), but as a fan, it was rough.

Part of the fun of last season was rooting for the players individually as well as the team. We knew the names and the numbers. The 2011 team was blown up pretty early and I was up to the challenge of learning the new guys and finding new favorites. But then the new guys didn’t hang around very long either. There was no time to get to know many of them because if you blinked, they were gone. Once Alvaro Ramirez got traded after the All-Star game, I gave up. There was no point. I didn’t know the team and wasn’t going to be given time to get to know the team.

I like going to ballgames, but for me, I like it when I can relate to the team I’m rooting beyond the numbers on the jersey. It was a lot of fun cheering for Mike Mobbs and Ramirez and Bobby Pritchett last year. I knew their names, knew their numbers, knew their walk-up music. It was like rooting for friends.

This season I was rooting for a bunch of strangers that I wasn’t allowed to get to know. It wasn’t as much fun. As such, I wasn’t as het up and driven to go to games. I feel bad about that.

I hope next year the players are able to hang around longer so the fans have someone to root for. Winning draws fans, but so does a little consistency.

Frontier All-Star Pictures

Here are a few more pictures from the Frontier Home Run Derby and All-Star Game.

The West Division signing autographs.
The East Division signing autographs.
Home Run Derby champ Russell Moldenhauer of the Lake Eerie Crushers mashes one during the first round.
First pitch from the West Division.
First pitch from the East Division.
Rich Mascheri of the Normal CornBelters on the mound.
Frontier All-Star Game MVP Joash Brodin of the London Rippers takes a few swings on deck.
The Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game were sparkly good times.








Frontier League All-Star Game

While everyone else sat at home and watched the MLB All-Star game one night and then no baseball at all the next night, I joined some friends to watch the Frontier League Home Run Derby and All-Star Game.

The Home Run Derby was fun. For the first round, Haley and I sat behind the plate and watched guys hit dingers mostly to right as the wind was really blowing out. For the final round, we moved to the berm where Haley’s husband Matt and son Walker were trying to catch some of the homers. Walker managed to get one. We were very proud of him.

I’m not going to lie, it was scary out on the berm. First of all, these balls were crushed. There’s a dent in the side of the clubhouse to prove it. And I was having a hell of a time seeing the ball. Until twilight, as soon as it came off the bat, I lost it. Then there was the herds of people tracking the balls. I’ve never been in a stampede, but I bet it feels a lot like that.

Russel Moldenhauer of the Lake Erie Crushers won. And with good reason. He murdered many baseballs that night.

The next night we took in the East vs. West division All-Star Game. We were rooting hard for the West (the CornBelters division) and it wasn’t looking for them early as the East very quickly put up five runs. Apparently, they didn’t use up all of their home runs at the derby.

CornBelter Alvaro Ramirez at bat for the West.

The West rallied a few times, but couldn’t outscore their pitching. They ended up going down 9-6. I’m proud to say that one of those West runs was knocked in by a Belter (Pat Trettel).

Despite the loss, the game was a good one and we had a lot of fun. Reggie the Purple Party Dude, Corny, and the Fun Crew kept the fans entertained. Haley and I and our mad dancing skills made the jumbotron a few times.

It was a great two nights in the Corn Crib.  Happy for our players that made the team: Pat Trettel, Pat McKenna, Alvaro Ramirez, and Rich Mascheri. Normal did a great job as All-Star hosts. Made me proud to be a Belters fan.

First CornBelters Game of 2012

On Sunday my friend Haley and I, along with her two kids, attended our first CornBelters game of the year. The season opened last Friday against the Windy City Thunderbolts and our game was a rubber match between the two teams. Unfortunately, the Thunderbolts weren’t the only storm in town. The game was stopped due to lightening after 3 1/2 innings and after a lengthy delay (most of which we waited out in the stands with only our freebie blankets to keep us dry!) the game was suspended.

The game will be finished when the CornBelters meet up with the Thunderbolts again in at the Windy City home field. However, for us damp fans, our tickets are comped for another game at the CornCrib because the CornBelters always take very good care of their fans.

Even though the game ended much earlier than we wanted and not the way we wanted, I still got a few pictures.

Home sweet home at the CornCrib.
2012 CornBelters warming up.
Justin Albert and Pat Trettle getting ready to get the game started.
Our favorite ex-Belter Mike Mobbs, now playing for Windy City.
The guys hanging out by the clubhouse while the Dancing Taco keeps the crowd entertained during the delay.
Sweet freebie CornBelters blanket.
New CornBelters souvenir cups advertising the All Star Game.

The Normal Cornbelters

Yeah, I went to a couple of more baseball games. This time I went to watch the Normal Cornbelters, part of the Frontier League  (it’s like indy baseball; they’re not affiliated with any MLB team, but MLB teams scout their players) at their field, the fantastic Corn Crib, which is only a thirty minute ride from my house.

This is their mascot, Corny. He's a cornasaurus, or so I'm told.

This is their second season in existence and I really wanted to go to a game last year, but really couldn’t justify spending the money (even though the tickets are cheap) as I had no regular income and I’m tight like that.

This year, Haley came to my rescue by inviting me to join her for a couple of games. It was a blast. We sat in the front row, we critiqued the walk-up music, we got to watch the between inning games by the fabulous Fun Crew, danced during the designated inning, and most importantly got to watch some good baseball.

This is going to become a regular thing for us. Having baseball in our backyard is ideal for us. We’ve already given a couple of the players nicknames. We can’t stop going now.

We’re in it to win it. Go Cornbelters!

We're also in it for The World's Greatest Bathroom. This sign is truth.