(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.
Loggers 9 final 14 innings
Today marked our 23rd game in 24 days- we’ve had one rain out. Words cannot begin to describe tonight’s game, but I will try. In the cool, buggy La Crosse, WI night, we played a 4.5 hour game that lasted 14 innings. Per usual, we got out in front of the Loggers early in the game, but sat on our lead. They passed us and made the game close to unreachable at 9-4 in the 7th, but good teams figure out ways to win. We scored five in the last three innings and forced extra innings. Both teams had numerous opportunities to take the lead or win the game, but no team did until Willie Argo (Illinois) knocked a leadoff single in the top of the 14th. He scored on a ball Jordan Owen hit off the pitcher’s glove and we held on to win 11-9. Due to the length of the game, La Crosse decided to cancel the post game fireworks show. I feel bad for the kids that stayed the whole game for the fireworks. Tonight’s weird occurrences go from a bunny on the field stopping the game to Tony Bryant (Oregon State) getting his first appearance in the 13th inning. It was a less than ideal time to bring Bryant in for the first time, but we had run out of relievers, so he got called on and pitched great.
One thing I noticed about the Loggers was that their team has gotten much better since the first time we played them in early June. At the begging of the summer, their pitching wasn’t bad, but their average pitcher was 84-88 mph. Tonight we got to see what happens when the permanent guys show up after NCAA postseason play. They threw guys from Texas, Oregon, Florida Gulf Coast, and other schools that are consistently in the top 50. Besides their sidearm righty, they pitched 2 righties and 2 lefties that were 90-93. From this point on, these are what the summer pitchers we will face will be around. As for our team, we have had our share of great arms from the beginning, but we are adding some pitchers from teams like Oregon State, Texas A&M, and Florida to make our rotation even more solid.
I also found out that my teammate at Davidson, Chris Lamb, will be coming to play for the Mallards. Chris is a left-handed starting pitcher and throws around 90-92. He had originally signed on for the summer, but was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 11th round. He decided not to sign currently and will be coming to Madison in a day or two. I am pumped!
I usually like to replay my at bats in my head, visualizing what pitchers did to me, so I can learn and become a better hitter, but I had eight at bats tonight and I will have trouble remembering them all. Wish me luck! Two and a half hour bus ride back- Lord of the Rings is on. I will be sleeping. First off day is on the 26th, I still have no clue what to do. Probably lift.
Photo by: Melissa Lee
Woodchucks 7 (2-5)
Mallards 6 (5-2)
Today marked the season opener of the newly improved Duck Pond. In the offseason, $1.8 million had been used to improve the stadium and the entire city of Madison had been anticipating this night. Throughout the whole day, the coaches and players were doing pregame interviews for ESPN Madison and local newspapers. When I got to the field at 2:45 for the 7:05 game, I saw a group of tailgaters already in the parking lot! Not only did they beat the players to the field, but apparently they showed up at noon- there are some crazy sports fans here.
Pregame was a lot of fun. I got to watch our pitchers take batting practice as a reward for pitching a shutout two nights before. There were some pretty awful swings by the group, but I was impressed by Zach White (Wake Forest), Cash Collins (Wofford), and Nick Sutherland (Minnesota State Mankato). In the locker room, instead of listening to music, the team listened to the MLB draft, and I heard two of my teammates from Davidson, Chris Lamb (11th round to the A’s) and Andy Bass (18th round to the Rays), go in the draft! I’m so proud of both of them because I know how hard those guys work on a daily basis. For the Mallards, we also had two guys get drafted- Ryan Bores (26th round to the Rangers) and Chris Burgess (30th round to the Rays).
After listening to the draft for awhile, we noticed fans began to pack the stadium. Tonight’s attendance was 6,511! Maynard Duck, the team mascot, despite having trouble in the pregame with the zipline, came soaring in from the right field stands and the game was underway. I had the night off, but the game was still more than anything I could ever imagine. I grew up in Omaha, NE and I honestly think that the CWS is the only thing that would top what I experienced tonight. The fans got on their feet when Jumpy Garcia (Texas A&M- Corpus Christi) went yard and when Travis Parker (St. Louis University) got two two-out RBI hits. Everything was great, even the announcer. If a fan catches a ball at the game, they can exchange the ball for a hot dog at the concession stand, so for every foul ball, the announcer yells, “WWWWWWeeeeiner.” Sorry, I’m immature, I thought it was funny though. Despite the loss, the fans still had a great time and the team signed autographs for about 30 min. after the game. I felt like a celebrity to all those little kids. Game again tonight at 7:05. The Mackesey’s will be there.
Speaking of celebrities, tonight’s random shout out goes to my sister, who danced on stage with Katy Perry at her concert. It is a long story, but apparently her group of friends tweeted at one of her backup dancers that they knew and he “hooked them up”- big time! Here’s the proof.