Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cincinnati/Indianapolis Trip Summary

From August 8-12th I was in Cincinnati and Indianapolis. This week I will summarize my trip.

On Friday, we had an early flight, so I woke up at about 6:20, got ready, and my dad, and my little sister, and me went to pick up my grandparents. After we picked them up we headed to the airport. We went through security and waited for our plane. Our plane took off about 20 minutes late, but it was still fine. We flew into Cincinnati and checked into an Embassy Suites in Covington, KY and went to our rooms. We hung out around there for about half an hour before heading over to the Reds Hall of Fame. Our hotel was on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River so we had to walk across a bridge to get to the Hall of Fame, which is right next to the Reds’ stadium. The Reds H.O.F. is very well done. When you first get there you go into a theatre that’s decorated like a baseball park and watch a short video about the history of the Reds. The room is very neat and so is the film. Then you go to the stairs that take you up to the main level of the museum. As you walk up the stairs, you see a collection of thousands of baseballs - one for every one of Pete Rose’s hits. It’s amazing how many hits he had. When you get to the top they have a room dedicated to the recently deceased Joe Nuxhall called The Ol’ Lefthander. Joe was a pitcher for the Reds and then a broadcaster for many, many years. They have a few other rooms, including a room that celebrates great Cincinnati teams through the years. In that room, they have a scene called the Great Eight, with life-sized statues of the Big Red Machine celebrating together. That room also has trophies for the Reds’ five World Series championships. There’s also a broadcast booth where you can make the call on some big moments in Reds’ history and people outside the booth can hear you. My dad and I made the call for Pete Rose’s 4192nd (record-breaking) hit. Lastly they have a big room with plaques for all the members in the Reds Hall of Fame, and that’s a very neat room. This year’s inductions included Barry Larkin and Cesar Geronimo. The plaques are suspended from the ceiling and are in order of when the players played. They’re a lot like the Cooperstown plaques. The Reds have done a great job on their museum and Hall of Fame.

After the Hall of Fame, we went into the stadium where we had club level tickets and ate at the 4192 Club (named after Pete Rose’s record breaking hit). They had decent food. I got a pizza and so did my sister. If you ever go there, don’t get the chili cheese dog. They are mini-hot-dogs that take about three bites to eat and the still cost $3.50. After that we went to the gift shop to get me a shirt. At the Reds, they have no adult smalls anywhere in the ballpark, so I had to get an adult medium. We went back to our seats just in time for the first pitch. The club level in Cincinnati is so much nicer than the Rangers because the concourses are air conditioned and they have TV’s so you can watch the replays of close plays (which they don’t show those on the jumbotrons anywhere).

This was our third game at the Reds’ new ballpark (Great American Ballpark) but our first since 2003 (its first year). My dad is from Cincinnati so he's a big Reds fan. The ballpark is in a good location, right on the river and on the edge of downtown. From our seats, we could look out of the ballpark and see the river. There’s a neat restaurant in the outfield that looks like a steamboat and fireworks and smoke come out of the smokestacks during the game.

We saw the Reds play the Astros. The game was a very good one that included two 4-run innings, five home runs, and 15 strikeouts by one team.

First 3 innings: In the top of the first, Kaz Matsui led off the game with a solo homer to give him 5 on the year. Carlos Lee also hit a solo homer in the top of the first off of Johnny Cueto (one of the Reds’ big pitching prospects) to give Lee 28 on the year. The Reds were scoreless in the bottom of the 1st and were also scoreless in the bottom of the 2nd. In the top of the second the Astros had men on 1st and 2nd with no outs, men on 2nd and 3rd with one out, and the bases loaded with 2 outs, but failed to score a run. In the top of the 3rd the Astros scored no runs, but in the bottom of the 3rd the Reds scored 4 runs. Here is what the Reds did play-by-play that inning:
- David Ross walks
- Johnny Cueto bunts for a base hit
- Jeff Keppinger hits a 2-RBI double
- Joey Votto grounds out
- Jay Bruce flies out
- Brandon Phillips hits his 17th home run of the year with Jeff Keppinger still on second
- Adam Dunn strikes out

Innings 4-6: Nobody scored in the 4th inning, although the Astros got men to second and third. In the top of the 5th the Astros forced a walk, got hit by a pitch and then singled with two outs to score Carlos Lee and cut the Reds’ lead to 4-3. The Reds didn’t score in the bottom half of the 5th. Johnny Cueto didn’t come back out in the 6th as he had 109 pitches through five innings. Cueto gave up 3 runs (all earned) on 9 hits in his five innings of work, but did strike out nine. Neither team scored in the sixth, although both teams got a man to at least second.

Innings 7-9: In the top of the second the Astros scored two runs due to a costly error by Nick Masset. Masset is a former Ranger who was traded to the White Sox along with Jon Danks for Brandon McCarthy, but more recently traded to the Reds along with Danny Richar for Ken Griffey, Jr. Masset had two outs and nobody on and then made the error. Humberto Quintero then made him pay with his first homer of the year to give the Astros a 5-4 lead. Nick Masset would leave after the inning, going two innings, allowing two runs (0 earned) on 3 hits while striking out three. The Reds would respond quickly, though, tying it up in the bottom half of the seventh on a Jeff Keppinger sacrifice fly to give him three RBI’s on the day. The eighth and the ninth were both scoreless so it then went to extras. Mike Lincoln would leave the game for the Reds after the ninth, throwing two scoreless innings and striking out two, to give the Reds’ pitching staff 14 strikeouts through nine.

10th inning: In the top of the tenth Francisco Cordero (another former Ranger) would come on to pitch and would just get massacred. He gave up four runs in total and he had two outs and nobody on base. After that the Astros’ inning went like this:
- Miguel Tejada doubles
- Lance Berkman walks
- Carlos Lee drives in two with a double (giving him his 100th RBI for the year)
- Hunter Pence hits a two-run homer
- Ty Wigginton grounds out to end the inning

In the bottom of the tenth, Javier Valentin and Jeff Keppinger both flew out and then Joey Votto grounded out to end the game.

The final score was 9-5 Astros. It turns out that we saw one of Adam Dunn’s last games as a Red (he was traded to Arizona later that weekend) and one of Carlos Lee’s last games of the year (he was injured later that weekend).

After the game, there were fireworks and it was probably the best fireworks show I’ve seen other than Disney World and Disneyland. My little sister tried to stay awake but fell asleep before the fireworks were over. We then walked back to our hotel and went to bed.

The next morning we got up and, after a great Embassy Suites breakfast, drove to Indianapolis to see our family. My great grandparents and some of my dad’s cousins live up there and we got to see all of them. We saw the cousins once and went to see my great grandparents about five times. My great grandma was having her 91st birthday and my great grandparents were having their 70th anniversary. On Saturday I got to play with my cousin Sam (the son of my dad’s cousin), his little brother Tim, and his little sister Gracie. All three are younger than me. I played Star Wars with Tim, and bubbles with Gracie. I just talked with Sam. My great granddad really likes Snoopy, so he gave me and my sister a lot of Snoopy things to take home with us. All of my family is very nice and I’m glad I got the chance to go visit them.

On Sunday night we flew home to Dallas and drove home at about 10:00pm.

Also, on Tuesday night, my dad, my sister, and I went to a McKinney Blue Thunder game. This was our first time to see them and we wanted to check them out before the season was over. They’re a new minor league baseball team that plays in the Continental Baseball League, which only has four teams. They play at the Ballfields at Craig Ranch in McKinney. The level of play is very, very low. It’s even below the Fort Worth Cats and Grand Prairie AirHogs. The stadium is at a park with a lot of little league fields and it pretty much is like a high school field. It has a statue of Joe DiMaggio outside the stadium, which is neat. There are about 1,000 seats in the stadium. You don’t even get tickets when you pay to enter - they just stamp your hand. The players roam around the concourse and use the same bathroom as the fans. The players and employees are very friendly. It was a good place to go to once, but it’s not a place that I would ever go to again.

Results of last week’s poll:
Out of Will Carroll’s three winners of the trade deadline, which one do you think did the best?
Yankees – 60%
Dodgers – 22%
Pirates – 18%

Come back next week for a Tom Grieve Trade Analysis.


Lynn Leaming said...

Glad you had another good trip! Sounds like Kate was a good trooper. It is really nice that you get to spend time with your grandparents making fun memories.

Ken Pittman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Pittman said...

Hey Grant - sounds like a great trip. Wish you could have been at the Little League Regional Finals on that Saturday night in Indianapolis. I was there and it was one of the most incredible games I have seen. Indiana was heavily favored over Ohio, but Ohio put up a strong fight. Ohio took the lead 4-3 in the bottom of the 4th and Indiana tied it in the top of the 5th. In the top of the 6th, Ohio got out of a bases loaded jam. After 6 (regulation), the score was still tied. It remained that way in extras through the 7th-10th. In the top of the 11th, Ohio ran out of their regular pitchers and Indiana scored 7 runs and ended up winning 11-4. Indiana did all that without their pitcher that pitched the no-hitter in the World Series in Williamsport (and unfortunately lost due to walk/errors/wild pitches).

If you come to Indianapolis around the same time next year, be sure to make it over to the regionals. I've been the last 3 years and it's a blast.


Weather Man said...

Have you been to an Airhogs game yet? Their little stadium is pretty nice. And generally, the seating is excellent. And if you don't care for that, they have a pool.

I enjoyed your Newberg farm report this morning, but you had Clinton going up against Spokaine, when it should have been Peoria. I am following Blake Beavan in his minor league trek on my blog. Anyway, take care.

grantlovesbaseball said...

Hi Ms. Lynn,
Thanks. It is really neat that I get to be with my grandparents so much.

Hi Ken,
That sounds like a very good game. I'll try and make it next year.

Hi weather man,
I have been to an AirHogs game and it is a pretty nice stadium. I noticed the mistake about Peoria, too and corrected it in the next report.