Sunday started with a Blintz. A Blintz is a Polish pastry, similar to a giant crêpe, but filled with cottage cheese, and topped with fruit and sour cream. I get it, it sounds disgusting…but dang, is it good. When we talked to Mr. Mackesey, our family friend, the night before and told him we were going to Mr. Pancake (right across from Noah’s Ark), he went on a 10-minute rant about how good the blintzes were and invited himself to breakfast. We were excited to have him and the Mackesey’s there, but it meant that I had more pressure on myself to try the blintz. I ordered the strawberry blintzes, and it came out as three giant blintzes. They were delicious and so filling and it was the first time in probably 15 years that I haven’t finished my meal. Not only that, but I got shown up by Granny Mackesey who ate all three of hers.
We left Mr. Pancake around 10 and headed to Madison to look around on State Street. We started near the Capital building and walked down to the beautiful Union Terrace. Some nice cloud cover helped us dodge the heat. My dad was the jokester of the day and kept yelling to get out of the road when a bike or bus was 200 feet away from us, coming our way on State Street. He also thought every shoe, no matter how ugly, would be perfect for the girls. I found a really funny store called POP Deluxe and I got a coffee mug- pretty happy about it.
We had fun and saw some people learning how to sail at the College Union. I left them and headed to the field because it was a 5 o’clock Sunday game. It was a really cool night because it was our annual Pink in the Park Night. We had pink uniforms, including pink socks, hats, and wristbands, used pink bases, and had pink bats. Everything was auctioned off after the game (except the socks and wristbands) and all proceeds went to the Susan G. Komen For The Cure- Madison foundation. I don’t know how much the total donation was, but each jersey went for about $100 a piece! In my first at bat with the pink bats, I blooped a single to center field, driving in a run. I also had my best game in the field for the season, in front of my family. My family stayed for one more day and since we had an off day, we went to Noah’s Ark. My mom, my two sisters, and I ran around the park and rode every ride, while my dad enjoyed the wave pool. He’s not really into the real rides (chicken!). The Scorpion’s Tail was a favorite again. The lines weren’t too bad and we had a great time at the park. After a hot day at the park we went to the famous Tommy Bartlet Show. Tommy Bartlet, a former radio announcer, started a waterski show 50 years ago and it has grown and changed into what the show is today. The show had a clown waterskiing, a backwards-barefoot waterskiiers, jugglers, and other fun shenanigans. There was a really funny, old, juggling comedian. We had a great time at the show and I highly recommend it for anyone going to the Dells. aB
We had fun and saw some people learning how to sail at the College Union. I left them and headed to the field because it was a 5 o’clock Sunday game. It was a really cool night because it was our annual Pink in the Park Night. We had pink uniforms, including pink socks, hats, and wristbands, used pink bases, and had pink bats. Everything was auctioned off after the game (except the socks and wristbands) and all proceeds went to the Susan G. Komen For The Cure- Madison foundation. I don’t know how much the total donation was, but each jersey went for about $100 a piece! In my first at bat with the pink bats, I blooped a single to center field, driving in a run. I also had my best game in the field for the season, in front of my family.
My family stayed for one more day and since we had an off day, we went to Noah’s Ark. My mom, my two sisters, and I ran around the park and rode every ride, while my dad enjoyed the wave pool. He’s not really into the real rides (chicken!). The Scorpion’s Tail was a favorite again. The lines weren’t too bad and we had a great time at the park. After a hot day at the park we went to the famous Tommy Bartlet Show. Tommy Bartlet, a former radio announcer, started a waterski show 50 years ago and it has grown and changed into what the show is today. The show had a clown waterskiing, a backwards-barefoot waterskiiers, jugglers, and other fun shenanigans. There was a really funny, old, juggling comedian. We had a great time at the show and I highly recommend it for anyone going to the Dells.
I split up the home stand because there is a lot to cover and I have a lot of pictures to share. We got home late in the night, but I stayed up a little later watching MLB Network. I woke up pumped because my family was coming today. They started their drive from Georgia at 5 a.m. and drove 14 hours up to Madison. Apparently my sisters complained a lot on the drive. They would be here for three games and I was going to play the second and third one. They came straight to the field and my parents didn’t tell my sisters that I wouldn’t be playing that day- they felt it would engender more whining. So, they got to the stadium 45 minutes before the game and my parents broke the news…they were not happy campers.
Katie, my oldest sister, was upset because she just thought the family drove 14 hours to watch a normal baseball game at a normal baseball park…Well, let’s just say she was surprised when they showed up 45 minutes before the game and the parking lot was jam-packed. At that moment, she and my little sister, Lizzy, began to realize how special the Duck Pond is. Honestly, it’s a place that I cannot do justice explaining in words- you just have to see it.
Since three of my baseball buddies and I decided to live in an apartment in the fall, I have been searching for posters and signage for the walls. I have come across some really cool items at flea markets and thought I would swing by the Mallards’ Garage Sale to see if they had anything interesting. As soon as I stepped into the team store, I found it- a giant 3-foot tall sign with the old Mallards logo. I am excited to bring a little bit of MadTown back to my home at Davidson.
Since I had the day off I busted my butt in the weight room, did resistance sprints, and jump roping before the game. I rewarded myself with a shower, but unfortunately it was smoking hot and as soon as I stepped outside I was sweating again. In the first inning, Nate Theunissen (Central Michigan) hit a grand slam, the Mallards’ first of the year! Everyone in the stadium could go to Denny’s the next day and get a free Grand Slam breakfast! After the game I went to a pizza place in Wisconsin Dells with my family.
We were really lucky because we knew an extremely nice family from Wisconsin Dells. Not only did we meet up with them, but they lent us their lake-side condo for the weekend! The condo was pristine and had a magnificent view of the lake. Everything from the furniture to kitchen looked brand new. My favorite part of the condo, though, was the beds. Everyone of the beds had NAP blankets…if you do not know what NAP blankets are, they are the really soft ones in Sharper Image. I really did not want to wake up, but when we did, we spent Saturday afternoon swimming in Lake Delton.
As you can tell from the picture…I have some work to do on my abs…which I will begin doing as soon as I get back to school (once I get back with my personal trainer, Chaz).
The game went really well. We wore the throwback Madison Muskie jerseys that are pretty small and constricting. It was probably the most I’ve ever sweat in a game and my pants weighed close to 10 lbs. after the game. We won the game 3-2 and Nick Sutherland (Minnesota State- Mankato) had another great outing for us. I got an infield hit during the game, so I got the fear of having my parents drive all the way up for no hits out of the way. Any more in the second game would be gravy.
The heat wave was still coming on strong when we went to Waterloo, Iowa for our two-game trip. We left extremely early because we planned on stopping in Dyersville, Iowa, the site of the field from “The Field of Dreams,” on the way. After a few dirt roads surrounded by cornfields we arrived at the field. Everything looked the same as it was in the movie: the house, the field, the bench. I have probably seen The Field of Dreams a dozen times and it is my second favorite baseball movie, behind #61. We walked on the field and out to the outfield where the corn was. Just like the ghost players disappear in the cornfields at the end of the day, we took turns taking pictures disappearing into the corn.
We got to Waterloo and we hung out in their extremely nice locker rooms until game time. That is not being sarcastic…the visiting locker room is pristine with nice big steel lockers, a flat screen TV, a training room, and a coaches office. When we went out to the field, I got interviewed by a local reporter about the heat and how to prepare yourself for the hot days on the field. I believe it’s all about water intake. If you do not start chugging water when you get up, you will be toast by game time. The game was good. We came back from a 6-run deficit in the 7th and 8th to win the game. We got back to the hotel and I fell asleep at midnight with the lights on. That was my earliest bedtime of the summer!
Breakfast was at of course, Burger King! I usually sit in the back of the bus, but this time I made the tactical choice to sit in the front. If you sit in the front, you get off first, order first, and get your food first. It paid off big. Gotta love 2 p.m. checkout days! We got back to the hotel at 10:30 and I slept.
The game was a bit more frustrating this time around. The one Northwoods League rule that has gotten us in trouble this year is the 35-pitch rule. If a pitcher throws 35 or more pitches in an inning, he cannot come out to pitch in the next inning. Earlier in the year, Nick Sutherland threw exactly 35 pitches and had to come out after the 2nd inning. This time around, Rusty Shellhorn, arguably our best starting pitcher so far this year got in trouble. One hitter had an extremely long at bat and got a hit, and he walked 2 more and gave up one hit. He was about 25 pitches into his first inning without recording an out. We got two relatively quick outs and he had a runner on first with 34 pitches in the inning. We decided that our best chance to keep him pitching was to try to pick off the runner from first. The first throw over was a perfect throw and a bang-bang play that the umpire called safe. After that, we tried picking the same guy off about 14 more times, unsuccessfully. I played first so Rusty and I got a lot of boos from the stands, but that was the situation we were forced into. We even tried to throw away a pickoff move, where Rusty threw the ball 10 feet away from me, hoping the runner would try to advance to second so we could try to throw him out. The ball bounced perfectly off the brick wall, but unfortunately the Bucks did not fall for our trap. Rusty decided to throw his 35th pitch and eventually got out of the inning, unable to return for the 2nd. It hurt to use our whole bullpen from the 2nd inning on, and we brought in two position players (Matt Maribal and Jordan Owen) to finish off the game. Unfortunately we lost the game, splitting the series with the Bucks.
(picture: Noah’s Ark waterpark- Day 2 of the break)
All-Star Break started off with a bang midday on Sunday when I got invited to brunch by Michelle (Jonathon Crawford’s host mom). I left with Jonathon Crawford, Zack Powers, and Denny Clement and headed to the Jet Room. The Jet Room is a neat little restaurant on the backside of the Madison airport, where all the private planes fly. Right outside our window was a little blue and orange colored jet. Besides the view, it was the best breakfast I’ve had this summer. Don’t get me wrong, I love my peanut butter and banana waffles I make everyday, but I had some awesome Eggs Benedict. On the way back, I drove through town and saw a big commotion on State Street. Apparently one Sunday in the summer (Maxwell Street Day) all of the stores and some local vendors set up outdoor shops. There had to be at least a thousand people on State Street, so I took the opportunity to “people watch.”
After a while of watching, I had to drive back home to watch the Women’s World Cup Final. U.S.A. vs. Japan. The U.S. had girls twice the size of the small Japanese, but we gave away two goals and they tied up, 2-2, and forced overtime. I had a busy day and had to leave for Sean’s (my host brother) baseball game. We left as soon as the U.S. scored their first goal in overtime and thought that would be enough to hold them. It was so painful listening to the U.S. implode on the radio. It was such a shame we lost, but at least Japan got something to be happy about after a devastating year. Sean’s game was fun and it was the first time I watched him play all summer. He plays in a local wood bat league where the players are 18-40. The other team had some really good guys in their 30s and beat Sean’s team by 12.
Highlight of the night was beating Spyro the Dragon, finally. Ryan and I worked so hard on it and finally the work paid off. Next up on our list of retro games we need to beat: Gauntlet Dark Legacy (PS2). After beating the game I went to the gym and kicked my butt at squats. It was a good off day.
Wisconsin Dells is a very touristy place, which my dad describes as a “mini-Vegas.” There are hundreds of hotels and it seems like all of them, like The Great Wolf Lodge and The Wilderness, have their own water parks. One hotel, The Carousel, even boasted that they had 9 pools inside!
On Day 2, about twelve members of the Mallards set off for the largest waterpark in America, Noah’s Ark, in Wisconsin Dells. If you go to Noah’s Ark, make sure you get the $10 discount after filling up at Shell Gas Station. After a 45-minute drive to the Dells, we were there, ready to ride some watercoasters! There was one problem- there was a thunderstorm. Water parks will stay open if there’s rain, but not for thunderstorms. One really dumb lady when she heard that the water coasters were shut down temporarily asked, “Is the lazy river still open?” After a 30-minute delay, it was hot and sultry again and it was time to ride. We stayed there from 10 a.m. to the 8 p.m. close- a really long day. We left the park twice to eat two terrible meals- at Burger King and Taco Bell.
The best ride at the park was the Scorpion’s Tail (giant blue ride with the loop, right of center). You step into this telephone booth-like chamber and when the door closes, you hear a voice counting down “3,2,1…” At the end of the countdown, the floor drops out of the telephone booth and you virtually freefall for two seconds, building up speed for the eventual loop. The worst ride there was The Curse of the Crypt. Nick Sutherland, one of our pitchers, said he had ridden on it last year and said it was horrible. We interpreted that to mean that the ride was scary, so despite being scared, our bravado told us to check it out. It ended up being the dumbest ride I have ever been on. You walk through this cold basement for 10 minutes to get to the ride, and when you finally get there, you sit in a giant motion sensor room. The ride is based on optical illusions, but it was not at all scary, or good, for that matter. So, when he said horrible, he meant horrible. The Plunge (the two smaller blue slides) had the most bang-for-your-buck. The line was extremely short and you could race each other. Also, off the second jump, if you lift up, you can get some serious air.
The tallest drop, The Point of No Return (tall tan slide) was only okay. It is an older slide and scratched your back up on the way down. The ride should actually be named “The Atomic Wedgie,” and it was far from my favorite. The Stingray (tan half pipe on the left) was a great 2-person ride and Time Warp (not in picture) was another really fun one. We were exhausted from the sun beating down on us the whole day, so we drove back that night.
I slept in and went to Lake Mills with my host brother Sean. I went to Lake Mills in the first week in Madison because we have family friends who live on the lake. Even though I was a bit waterlogged from the day before, I am always up for a little tubing. I got into the boat with Sean, Leo (family friend) and a kid who plays for the St. Cloud River Bats, named J.R. Reynolds. He goes to Ohio University and was at Lake Mills visiting his cousin on his last off day of All-Star Break. Small world that we would both know someone in a town of less than 3,000 and be in the same boat on the same day. Sean and J.R.’s cousin tubed for about 20 minutes and it was time to switch. We turned off the boat, switched life jackets, and got in the tubes. The boat wouldn’t start. We determined that the battery was dead and we were in the middle of the lake. A nice family towed us back in and we swam in the lake a little and got burnt.
I would’ve loved the opportunity to playin the All-Star game but overall, it was a good All-Star Break. Note: “Break” is a relative term. I didn’t really stop moving the whole break, which is why I’m now posting about it a week later. But, it was a good time to step away from baseball, get two lifts in, and have some fun in the water.
We rolled to LaCrosse on Friday and anticipated a large crowd at the #2 fan-grossing summer ball stadium in America. There was one problem. It was pouring! Looking at the radar, there were giant red thunderstorm blobs across the MidWest. We still had to mentally prepare ourselves to play though. We ate at my favorite place, North County Steak Buffet and I had two tiny, but good, steaks and a salad.
The owners at LaCrosse expected a huge crowd and they did not want to lose money on tickets and concessions. LaCrosse’s coach even told us that we would wait all night to play this game if it came down to it. Game time was scheduled at 7:05. We showed up to the field at 4 for BP and then sat on the bus until around 8:05. Finally, they called the game because the field was flooded. They rescheduled the game for the next day, when we would play a 7-inning double header.
The temperature was 95 with a heat index of 100 to 105- Man, was it humid! My theory is that I have become a sissy when it comes to weather since being in Wisconsin. The first few weeks here were in the low-50s and this week it has been over 90 everyday. Coming from Georgia, 90s weather should not be bad, but since I have become a sissy, it was hot. We got to the field at 2 for BP for our first game at 5. I played first, which is usually an easy position, but I found myself panting. I am not out of shape. I work out 4 days a week and play everyday, that air was just thick. We won the first game by 1 and had 30 minutes before the next game. All I wanted to do was lie down on the bench and pass out. My jersey weighed 10 pounds due to the sweat.
LaCrosse brought some food over so we could fuel ourselves for the next game. They brought over Granola Bars, bananas, oranges, and grapes. Some of the team was hungry for more, but that fruit was just what I needed. It gave me some great energy for the second game and my first at bat I hit one off the fence in center. I played third and only got one ball. Somedays third is boring- but not usually. We got on the bus and I passed out. It was a long day of baseball and we had a 3-day All-Star Break coming up starting the next day.
(Notice: this is not our Coach).
Yesterday was Bacon Appreciation Day. I was confused at first to what that meant exactly, and to be honest, I am still a little confused. But, from what I gathered, it was a night where the concession stand made everything (2 foot long brats, ice cream sundaes, etc.) with bacon in it and there were different promotions involving bacon. The first 500 fans received small Piggy Banks, something my host brother, Ryan, had been looking forward to for a long time. When he found out he had a baseball game last night, the thought even crossed his mind to miss his game and get the piggy bank. But he got the best of both worlds- he played the game and I got him a piggy bank. The only problem was that the piggy bank didn’t stay closed…tough break.
The promotions were pretty funny. My favorite one was when the dressed three of the interns up in pink pig costumes and had 20 kids run out in the outfield and chase them (“pin the tail on the pig”). There was a chef contest in between innings where one of the contestants melted M&M’s on the bacon to make it blue, red, and yellow. I was extremely happy when they played clips from my favorite comedian, Jim Gaffigan’s, “Bacon” skit. If you haven’t heard it yet, listen to it now- as well as the “Hot Pockets” skit.
The game was really good. Estevan Uriegas (Texas A&M) pitched extremely well and our relief pitchers did a great job too. Travis Parker (St. Louis University) is a two-way guy who plays third base and is also a side-arm pitcher. He hit in the 4-hole last night after not hitting live pitching for 2 weeks. He had a great game and drove in 2 runs, helping us win, 4-1.
Right before the team meeting in the outfield, we were so excited that Jordan Owen and Estevan dumped the water cooler on coach. He was freezing. If you are a sports fan, you know this usually happens when a team wins the championship of their sport, but the win last night only brought us to 2-6 in the second half. The game broke our six game losing streak and we had so much fun that we needed to do it. Summerball!
Shout out to Gary “Big Dog” Breneman for getting us Quench Gum in the dugout yesterday. We had been missing Quench Gum for over a week and it might have contributed to the “W.”
Heading to La Crosse now- watching “Miracle.” Really looking forward to the pregame meal at North Country Steak Buffet. I think the whole team is.
I want to apologize for slacking on the blog lately. It’s been a productive past 3 days, I’ve gotten in two lifts, a haircut, got some new batting gloves, and eaten some vegetables. I feel pretty good about everything that went on the last 3 days except for the fact we’ve lost everyday this week (now at 6 straight losses).
I was planning on growing out my hair- but it looked awful and I needed to change it up. I was clueless on where to go to get my haircut and my host brother, Ryan, suggested SportsClips. I immediately ruled them out because of a horrific experience 8 or 9 years ago in Nebraska. (Flashback) When I showed up for my haircut, I was excited to transform a usually bad experience (haircut) to a good one with “sports.” There were tons of TV’s around the salon, but I didn’t have a chance to watch any of them because the lady painfully yanked my hair for 45 minutes. Not only did she yank my hair for 45 minutes, it was a terrible haircut. I will never go back to SportsClips. So, looking for alternate options, I found a GreatClips…much safer choice- and it was a really good cut.
This week has been hard for the team- we have lost 6 straight. Hopefully, we can end that streak tonight against Waterloo. We have not fielded well or hit well during this skid. Last night Nate Theunissen (Central Michigan) ripped an oppo bomb in the bottom of the ninth, which brought excitement to the dugout and the crowd. Jordan Owen (UT-Martin) also crushed a groundball that skipped up and hit their third baseman in the head. He was okay, but man was that ball smoked.
Congrats to Derek Jeter (amazing), Robinson Cano, and Prince Fielder for their accomplishments this week. It was awesome to see Cano’s dad throwing to him in the Homerun Derby.
Going to workout after the game today. Getting after it- can’t wait to bring all that I’ve learned to Davidson in the fall.
We have not played well so far in the beginning of the second half. We are 1-3 so far and have made over 14 errors in our last 4 games. Nick Sutherland (Minnesota State) thinks it is connected to the mustache he is growing.
We have lost some players this week. Niko Fraser (Elon) and Trey Watkins (LSU), both outfielders, went home this week, as well as Brent Kuper (Parkland CC) due to a concussion. That left us with only 3 outfielders and 1 catcher. We picked up an outfielder, Andrew Wasmund (Madison College), and two catchers (Matt Mirabal- Illinois State & Kyle Moody- St. Scholastica). All three of these guys can hit and will bring a lot to the team in the next month.
Four Mallards got nominated to this year’s All-Star game. Two pitchers (Rusty Shellhorn and Matt Milroy) and two position players (Nate Theunnisen and Jordan Owen) will represent our team on July 18th in Wisconsin Rapids.
Last night my host brother, Ryan, wanted to play some video games and we decided to switch it up and not play FIFA. We instead busted out his PS2 and played Spyro the Dragon PS1 game. It was so much fun- and pretty easy. The graphics were horrible and I remembered most of the game from when I played it 8 to 10 years ago. We spent 2.5 hours straight playing the game and are now 26% (according to the game) done. Pretty good night.
We are on the bus to Wisconsin Rapids, the team that has beaten us the last two games. Hopefully we can break through and get the hitting and fielding back to its previous level. We are watching Major League. Great bus movie. I’ve also recently found Moon Chaser (the Droid version of Angry Birds) on my phone and have been playing that a lot on the bus- probably too much.
Today we get to wear some throwback Madison Muskies jerseys with trucker hats. Fun fact, Jose Canseco played about 50 games for the Muskies a long time ago (probably before the ‘roids).
Can’t wait until my family comes out to Madison in a week and half!
We got in at 2 a.m. Wednesday from Eau Claire at had to leave for Green Bay at noon on Thursday. So, we only had ten hours at home, but I still managed to get in a lift before we left. I’m trying to get bigger/ work off all the horrible food we eat on the road. As soon as I get back to school we will start lifting 3 days a week, with a fourth, beach-body workout on Saturday morning with my buddies Dwayne and Chaz. It is key that I keep a regular schedule of 3 days a week to maintain strength. Jordan Owen (UT Martin) has been lifting 6 days a week- nuts!
On the bus we watched Never Back Down- I slept since I’ve seen it a dozen times. That is pretty typical of bus movies. Anchorman is always a favorite even though everyone can quote every line.
Last night was the first game of the 2nd half and we played a definite contender in the Green Bay Bullfrogs. We were frustrated about not winning the first half, so the 4-3 victory against the Bullfrogs was a great way to start the second half. All three times we have played at Green Bay I have been the Beer Batter. In our second meeting, last week, I struck out in the second inning and the fans were ecstatic. Only one week later and the same exact thing happened. You are welcome Green Bay fans.
The only bad part of the game was the mosquitoes. Unreal! Before the game I had two bites on my neck and face and, by the end of the game, my legs and arms were covered with bites. They were persistent despite me constantly killing them in the dugout and me using OFF! They even bit through my socks. Not a huge fan of Green Bay now because of the mosquitoes, but apparently Wisconsin Rapids this time in summer is worse.
After the game I watched Family Guy with my roommate Parker Schrage and then I went down to check out the pool. At our last hotel in Eau Claire the pool closed at 10, so by the time our games were over, the pool was closed. At this hotel in Green Bay though, the pool was open until 12, so I got in and swam laps. Swimming is one of the best workouts you can get and it is really good for strengthening baseball players’ arms and for working out soreness. Needless to say, my arm felt great today after my pool workout last night. The best part of the pool was there was a basketball hoop! I relived my glory years of JV basketball shot around for a while. I also threw down some sick dunks- something that I could never do.
Today was the first day on the road we didn’t have mandatory breakfast, but we were allowed to eat at the hotel. I went to the hotel and ate some egg patties, sausage patties, cereal, oatmeal, and a banana. Not too bad. When I got back to the room, I planned on blogging, but I looked over at Parker Schrage who didn’t wake up for breakfast and was still asleep. I decided I wanted to be like that guy, so I passed out until we had to check out.
We rolled out at noon to the movie theatre- the default time killer. The two movies guys went to see were The Bad Teacher and Transformers 3. I went to see Transformers 3, and it rocked my world. There were so many beautiful girls and explosions, the perfect mix for a guy movie. The bad news was that there was no Megan Fox, the good news was that there was Rosie Huntington-Whitely. Pure beauty with an accent. Shia LaBouef has it figured out. The old Even Stevens (great show) star is now on screen with the most beautiful women. As for the movie as a whole, the plot and the action made Transformers 3 the best movie I’ve seen this year. I can’t wait until next week when HP7 Part 2 comes out!
On the Green Bay trip we went to Hardee’s for lunch twice. You know what that means- 2 for 2 with Hardee’s milkshakes. I am pretty sure I am addicted. I tried to resist ordering it today and the next thing I knew I had already finished the tasty treat. Good thing I worked out before I left and I will be working out tomorrow morning.
A lot of the team had Hardee’s milkshakes, never a good idea before games. My freshman baseball team once went to Waffle House, and Hardee’s has the same effect. We played awful today and lost 10-0. To make matters worse, while I was sitting in the bullpen during the game, Jeremiah, their 7 foot tall Bullfrog mascot, pointed at me, motioned for me to come over and then hit his hand to his forearm (motioning he wanted to have a smack down with me). I refrained from a verbal or physical altercation with the ugly mascot, but I do believe our new, meaner looking, Maynard G. Mallard mascot could kick his butt. It was my friend and teammate’s, Daniel Gerow (Davidson), last game for the Bullfrogs. He will be going home to Texas to play in a Texas Collegiate League, lift, and spend time with his family. We also saw our friends Michelle, Ann, and Ryan who drove from Madison today. Thanks for coming!
Song of the day: “Counting to 100” by Matt Wertz
Fun Fact by Parker Schrage: New-ish hit band Bon Iver is from Eau Claire, WI. They are featured on the recent Kanye West album and just came out with an album of their own.
This picture was from right before we left- I like taking pictures of barns. There will be more.
I am on the bus right now, reflecting on the trip. It was a disappointment overall that we lost the last two games of the first half and ended up losing the first half, which would’ve helped us secure a playoff spot. Here are the events that went down:
I stayed up the night before doing laundry, packing, and writing several letters (yeah, snail mail rocks!). It wouldn’t have been a problem, but I woke up early to lift so I only got about 5 hours of sleep. I got a good upper body/ab workout, got to the field in time, packed and we rolled out at 11:30.
The drive to Eau Claire was about 3 hours, I want to say we watched two really short movies. It was July 4th and Eau Claire usually brings out pretty good crowds- so because of the holiday, it would be packed. Whoever made the schedule made it right. The final 3-game series of the first half went down between the #1 and #2 teams and started in front of a sellout July 4th crowd. I had the day off, but I wished I had played. We crushed the Express the first game, 11-2. Our hitters totaled 16 hits on the night, and it should’ve been 17. The official score keeper called a play on the pitcher who came off the mound to the right, made a full extension dive, twisted, threw from his knees, and threw the ball away an error. It was definitely an infield single, but it doesn’t really matter. Anyways, Willie Argo (Illinois) hit a bomb and we silenced their sell-out crowd. Now we were only 1 game away from clinching the first half (we were 1.5 games up with 2 games left).
After the game, we got food, I forget what it was but it wasn’t enough. Around 11, some of the guys were still hungry so we decided to walk to Hardee’s. I was craving another one of those milkshakes. We got there…it was closed. Went to Wendy’s across the street so we could get Frosty’s, but we were 5 minutes late. So we had to settle for Taco Bell. They have the Fruitista for desert.
We walked through the drive-thru at Taco Bell. They were not happy with us. We tried to order but the four of us didn’t weigh enough to set off the sensor to the voice box. We all jumped up and down and nothing happened. We asked a car full of college kids behind us to pull up, they agreed, and we ordered. When we got to the window, they refused to serve us, but our food was made and we had money for it. Apparently it is a security problem we could’ve reached in and taken things. Well, with a car, you can open the door, step out, take things, and then drive away at a really fast pace. I finally got my Cheesy Gordita Crunch and a Fruitista (my 3rd choice).
We woke up and got on the bus at 10 for mandatory trip to breakfast. We drove back and forth several times through Eau Claire for 33 minutes and eventually got to Burger King. That was a huge let down. But I got the Ultimate Platter, which is actually a pretty good amount of food, and we ate for free. We went to Whiskey Dicks for lunch- I can’t make that up. We had 6 different options for lunch, which was a nice change- I went spaghetti.
There weren’t many fans at the game, which was surprising because of the implications of the game. If we won, we clinched with one game left. If we lost, Eau Claire still had a chance. I cannot and will not say that the umps cost us the game, or even that their calls were wrong (I am bound by texted agreement), but I will say that there were a lot of really close calls in the game that went the other team’s way that could have drastically altered the result of the game. Baseball is a game of inches and there were a ton of bang-bang plays. Unfortunately, they got some key calls and they won the game.
I went to Applebee’s with the Eade’s (my best friend Eric’s parents), who made the drive from Minneapolis. I talked baseball with them and about Eric who is in Spain, and they hooked me up with some awesome brownie cookie things. I had about six from when I walked in the hotel to the time I got to my room.
I finally finished The Girl Who Played with Fire, great ending. The rumor was that we were going to drive to a closer Burger King. We made a different turn, passed one Burger King and got excited. We ended up just taking a different route that took 26 minutes to get to the same Burger King. Next time I will wake up a little earlier to eat at the hotel’s free breakfast buffet.
We passed the time by going to Action City, an arcade place outside of Eau Claire. They had go-karts and the trash talking began. About 12 of the Mallards players raced at one time, bumping into each other, and having the time of our lives. Everyone was having a great time, except for Justin Scanlon (Michigan State). He was by far the worst driver and wrecked 3 times in the 4 minutes we had on the track. We had to stop each time and wait for the attendant to turn around Scanlon’s car. I will give him that he has a hurt shoulder if he wants to make an excuse.
The game was a tough one. Both teams went back and forth and they beat us 7-5. There was a lot of energy in the dugout and we gave everything we had, just fell short. It is rough that we lost the last two games and lost the first-half. All we needed was one game. Even though Eau Claire won, Battle Creek ended up winning the first half due to a head-to-head tie. The one positive is that we still have the opportunity to win the second half. Second half starts tomorrow.
S/o to my little sister, Lizzy, who has earned $12 so far in agreement with my parents to clean her room everyday for $1. Keep it up!
Songs of the day:
“Outstanding” by The Gap Band (oldie but a goodie)
“Lips of an Angel” by Hinder (sorry Steven Hummel- music expert- if you ever read this…you might de-friend me for liking this song).
Everything by Ace of Base (all songs by them). Possible walk-up for next year.