Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Baseball Trip to Cleveland and Pittsburgh

This week I will describe my annual baseball trip with my dad.

Wednesday August 1st:

On Wednesday my dad and I flew to Cleveland to see the Rangers play two games against the Indians. There were four flight delays (weather, mechanical, flight in front delayed, and then a plane with a broken wheel in front of us on the runway). There were also two gate changes. We were on a small plane (American Eagle) and our flight took off two hours late.

When we got to Cleveland we got our bags and checked into our hotel, which was a Hampton Inn in walking distance of Jacobs Field. Almost immediately after we dropped our bags off in our room we went to the ballpark.

We got there when the gates opened at 4:30, but you could not leave the outfield area until 6:00 so by then batting practice was just wrapping up. And when they did let us out of the outfield you couldn’t go by the dugout or the first aisle next to it, which made it almost impossible to get autographs.

The Rangers ended up winning the game in 10 innings. Rheinecker pitched poorly allowing 6 earned runs on 8 hits in 4 1/3 innings. He ended up throwing 89 pitches. Rheinecker also gave up 2 home runs, one to Casey Blake and one to Jason Michaels. The Indians’ Paul Byrd didn’t do well either, allowing 4 runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 throwing 107 pitches. Frank Catalanotto had a big game going 2-4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had two RBI’s in his 1st game as a Ranger. Even though the Rangers scored 9 runs, they stranded 12 runners. After 9 innings the game was tied 6-6. The Rangers scored 3 runs in the top of the tenth (1 on a throwing error, 1 on Botts’ sac fly, and one on a Byrd single) and CJ Wilson shut the Indians down 1, 2, 3 to get his second save of the year. The game lasted 4 hours and 3 minutes.

Thursday August 2nd:

On Thursday my dad and I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the morning. It was really cool and my three favorite things about it were:
- The walkway with all the people in the Hall Of Fame
- The Beach Boys exhibit
- Giant guitars that they had inside and all around downtown, each painted different

My two least favorite things were:
- The all-clothes display
- The Doors exhibit

After that we went to the noon Rangers-Indians game. Before the game I got Salty’s autograph. Kason Gabbard didn’t do too well in his 1st game as a Ranger getting the loss allowing 3 runs on 8 hits in 5 2/3 innings pitched. After Gabbard was pulled, Wes Littleton came in and allowed 2 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. Wes gave up a solo shot to Victor Martinez. The Indians’ Jake Westbrook pitched great, improving his record to 2-6 and allowed 0 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings lowering his ERA to a terrible 5.40. The Rangers only got men on base 8 times all game, one of the times on an intentional walk (the Rangers’ only walk of the game). The Rangers only got two extra base hits. The Rangers eventually lost 5-0. This game only took 2 hours and 46 minutes.

Right after the game it poured and hailed. This was while we were driving to Canton to see the football Hall of Fame two days before the inductions. The Hall of Fame was awesome and while we were there I got one of the Hall of Famers’ autographs (Charlie Sanders, who was getting inducted that weekend). I liked everything in the Hall of Fame except the video, but my three favorite things were:
- the Super Bowl room
- getting Charlie Sanders’ autograph and
- the room with the busts of all the Hall of Famers

Afterwards we ate at a restaurant called Damon’s Grill near Canton. It had good food and it had a trivia game that was really fun. My dad and I came in 4th place both times we played and about 25 people played it both times. Afterwards we drove back to Cleveland.

Friday August 3rd:

On Friday my dad and I took a tour of Jacobs Field, but we couldn’t go onto the field or into the dugout because of the rain the day before. Instead they took us to the visitors’ clubhouse, which was pretty cool.

My three favorite things at Jacobs Field are:
- Heritage Park, which is a new area they built this year. It has plaques for all the members of the Indians Hall of Fame, plaques on the ground describing great moments in Indians history, and a wall showing the 100 best Indians players of the Indians’ first 100 years.
- The Bob Feller statue and
- How it’s open to downtown

My least favorite things at Jacobs Field are:
- The gate times (you can only be in the outfield seats until an hour before the game)
- The jumbotron (it’s junky with a lot of ads) and
- The out-of-town scoreboard doesn’t show all the games at once. It rotates between them.

Afterwards we went to the site of old League Park, where the Indians played from 1910 to 1946. The ticket office and part of the stadium wall are still there but are very run down. It’s also in a bad area of town. There’s nothing where the field was except a field of grass.

After that, we drove to Pittsburgh. At the Pittsburgh Hilton, our room wasn’t ready until 90 minutes after check-in time and when we got to our room there was only one bed even though we asked for two, there was no chest to put your clothes in, and you couldn’t see out the windows. I wouldn’t recommend it, even though it’s in walking distance of PNC Park.

At the Reds-Pirates game that evening they were giving out Josh Gibson statues, so my dad and I both got one. The gates opened at 5:00 PM, but you can’t get to any seats until 5:30. I got two autographs (Bobby Livingston and Javier Valentin).

The Reds hit four home runs during the game, including Ken Griffey’s 589th career home run and Adam Dunn’s 29th home run of the year. The Reds’ Matt Belisle pitched well, getting the win, improving his record to 6-8, allowing three runs in six innings pitched. Ian Snell of the Pirates got the loss (7-10) allowing 6 earned runs in 5 innings, throwing 104 pitches, including over 30 in the 1st. The Pirates’ reliever, Jonah Bayliss allowed 6 runs in 3 innings, throwing 63 pitches. Both Jeff Keppinger and Scott Hatteberg had three RBI’s in the game for the Reds. Ken Griffey and Alex Gonzalez both had three hits in the game. Only two of the Reds starters didn’t get at least one RBI in the game (Matt Belisle and Norris Hopper). The Reds won the game 13-4.

Saturday August 4th:

On Saturday we took a tour of PNC Park. Their Club Level is amazing, much better than the Rangers’. The concourse of the Club Level is all enclosed, carpeted, and air-conditioned. My three favorite things of PNC Park are:
- The openness – you can see the river and downtown from most seats
- The out-of-town scoreboard, which shows all games including the inning, number of outs, and runners on base, and
- The statues – they have statues of Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente, and Honus Wagner outside the stadium and seven Negro League players (including Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige) inside the stadium.

The only thing I don’t like about it is the bullpen placement. One bullpen is right in front of the other.

Afterwards, we saw the Exposition Park base paths in a parking lot. The Pirates played there from 1891 to 1909 and they have the location of home plate and the bases painted in one of the parking lots between the Pirates and Steelers stadiums. Then we went to the location of Forbes Field, where the Pirates played from 1909 to 1970. It was awesome. They still have Forbes Fields’ outfield wall standing, the flag pole that was in play in front of the wall, and home plate (in the floor of a building that’s where the infield used to be). There’s also a plaque in the ground showing where Bill Mazeroski’s home run went out in the 1960 World Series.

They were giving away Homestead Grays T-shirts at the Pirates game, which was Matt Morris’ Pittsburgh debut. He pitched well but his stats don’t show it. He allowed 5 runs in 6 1/3 innings. He also went 2-for-3 with a home run. Bobby Livingston pitched really well for the Reds allowing only 2 runs in 5 1/3 innings, but he went 0-for-2. Adam Dunn, Javier Valentin, and Edwin Encarnacion all had 2 RBI’s for the Reds while Nate McLouth had three RBI’s and Jason Bay had 2 for the Pirates. Ken Griffey struck out three times. Jack Wilson, Adam Dunn, Jeff Keppinger, Ronny Paulino, Edwin Encarnacion, Nate McLouth, Jason Bay, and Matt Morris all had a home run in this game. Going into the bottom of the ninth,, the Pirates were winning 7-6, so they brought their closer Matt Capps in for his 1st save opportunity since July 5th and he allowed a solo shot to the 1st batter he faced, which made it go to extras. Capps came out again and allowed a 2-run homer by Adam Dunn. In the bottom of the tenth the Pirates got one run, but lose 9-8.

Sunday August 5th:

On Sunday, we flew home with no problems. We had a great trip.

If you go out to the ballpark this month, there’s a nice article about me on page 9 of the August Rangers game program.

Results of last week’s poll:
Which player that the Rangers got has the most potential?
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 44%
Engel Beltre – 24%
Kason Gabbard – 12%
Elvis Andrus – 9%
Neftali Perez – 6%
Matt Harrison – 3%
Beau Jones – 3%
David Murphy – 0%

Come back next week for part three of the Doug Melvin trade analysis series.


Ken Pittman said...

Hey Grant-
Enjoyed reading this blog. You have had a great chance to see many awesome places. Any thoughts on the Little League World Series this year? I was at the regionals in Indianapolis this week and the team from near Cincy, OH (Hamilton) is very good. So is the team from Texas that won in the Southwest regional. Have you ever been to the Little League World Series? I went in '05 and I think it's one of the best baseball environments there is. I hope to go back sometime - maybe even next year.

Lynn said...

Glad you and your dad had such a great trip! Sounds like you got to see a lot of cool stuff. I would have never thought the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was in Cleveland? I think I would have liked the Beach Boys better than the Doors too. Like the picture of you and your dad in the dugout.
Hope you have a fun couple of more weeks before school starts!

grantlovesbaseball said...

Hi Ken,

I actually just got back from Indy, I was there for my great grandma's 90th birthday. I went to see an Indianapolis Indians AAA game. I have no clue about what teams are good in the LLWS, I don't watch it, but I've heard it's good.

Hi Mrs Lynn,

I'm not sure why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland. I'm a big Beach Boys fan. I'll have fun before school starts, but I'm not looking forward to when it starts.