Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Game 15: Getting Stuck in the Wheelchair Lift at Progressive Field

Before the game at Progressive Field we spent almost an hour in Heritage Park. There is a good amount to see, but really not that much. Most of that time was spent getting down to the different levels of the little terraced area. They have two wheelchair lifts to get down to the two lower levels of it. To get down to the first we had to track down an usher with a key to operate the lifts.

Getting down to the next level was not too hard to start to do since the usher hung around. Actually ended up there did not work out so fast, though. Almost to the bottom the lift stopped and Dad and Mik ended up stuck in there until a maitenence guy came and got it to go down. Basically the lift platform is out of alignment and it rubbed against the bottom door hitting the lock and locking up the lift. They were only stuck for about 15 minutes and it really was not that bad of experience. Of course, I did not mind at all since I was not actually stuck, but even Dad and Mik did not mind much, as they knew they were working on it all along. Not just in this incident, but throughout the experience at Progressive Field the staff were very friendly and helpful.

As we were exploring the bottom level and before going back up out of the Heritage Park they brought us three Indians baseball caps. The caps came in handy for Mik and Dad since the sun actually came out after the game had a 20 minute rain delayed start. Mik really thought the hats were cool, but he does not want to get stuck in any more lifts if he can help it even if he does get free stuff. Not that it was the first time that has happened, as wheelchair lifts tend to have trouble like that quite regularly.

Game 15: Milwaukee Brewers 9 @ Cleveland Indians 8

We got to the park a little after they opened the one gate that lets you into a small part of the park opened at 4:30pm. At least that part included some good food, since Mik was really hungry. It also included the area called Heritage Park, which is a three level area that honors the Indians that are in the Baseball Hall of Fame and other significant players and moments in Indians history. We ended up in this area until they opened up the rest of the park at 6pm, but more on that in a whole separate post later, as that experience deserves its own post. It was something that could have made the ballpark the worst, but actually in the end at least Mik has declared Progressive Field the best park so far.

The game was definitely the best one we have seen so far. Perhaps almost the best game I have ever seen in person, however, the walk off home run by Zimmerman in the Nats Opening Day game at their new park last year still rates the top game experience for me. The Brewers took an early 3-0 lead with one run in each of the first three innings. The Indians then scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 4th to tie it up.

The Brewers again took the lead in he 7th by scoring 3 runs and increased their lead to 8 to 4 with a run in the top of the 8th. The Indians again made it only a 3 run deficit with a run in the bottom of the 8th, but the Brewers then tacked on another run in the 9th. So going into the bottom of the 9th the Indians were down 4 runs (8 to 4). With one out they scored on a double after getting a single and walk. Then the bases ended up loaded and Garko hit a 3 RBI double to tie up the game, but he tripped and ended up being tagged out for the second out of the inning. The game went into extra innings. The winning run came for the Brewers in the top of the 11th with a sac fly.

Even Mik got into the game, as he is a little bit of an Indians fan since he was an Indian in his first year of Challenger Little League. He did mostly play his PSP and he did want to leave at first when it went into extra innings, but he ended up putting his PSP away by the 11th and actually watched the game. He was even rooting for the Indians to at least tie it up in the bottom of the 11th even though he wanted to hit the road and that would happen sooner if the inning ended without the Indians scoring.

He is actually sort of getting into the trip. At least he is looking forward to the next game. Besides the Dbacks game, going to a game at an old park like Wrigley Field is the one thing that has him excited. Perhaps that is because we keep showing him things like where the home plate for now gone parks are and the dilapidated League Park we drove by in Cleveland. He wants to see what an old field that is actually kept up looks like.

Mik’s Mini Bat Collection: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

At the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Mik got a bat with the Museum’s logo on a natural colored mini bat. The logo is in simply in black ink on the bat, but it is not just a simple logo. The logo includes a ballplayer in the middle of it.

Baseball Museum 5: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

Since the Negro Leagues Museum did not open until 12pm on Sunday and we had the afternoon game that day (June 14, 2009), instead of going before the game, we ended up going to it after the Kansas City Royals game. We got there around 4:30pm and it closed at 6pm. It worked out to be just about enough time to see it, but barely. At least it did work out and we did not miss it entirely because it was worth seeing.

The exhibit is mostly a timeline history of colored people playing baseball. Of course, the main focus is on the Negro Leagues, but it follows the history from the 1800s through to African Americans beginning to be allowed into the MLB and causing the downfall of the Negro Leagues. The exhibits have a lot of information and a good amount of artfacts and such.

For the most part the images and things display make sense and are explained by nearby signs. However, quite a few items seem interesting, but have absolutely nothing to explain their significance. It seems they have stuffed too much stuff in this small exhibit and ran out of space to put signs to explain some of the things, which is a shame because some of the cooler looking things seem entirely insignificant because they have nothing identifying them.

At the end of the time line history there is several rows of lockers. The lockers are like a sort of Negro Leagues Hall of Fame, although I am not positive they call it that. Most lockers have the uniform of the player and a plaque telling about their contribution to professional baseball. There is also a display of baseballs signed by people that played in the Negro Leagues including many on Negro Leagues Museum balls, which were signed specifically to be in the museum.

Overall this was a great museum to visit. There is so much packed into it that it really does take some time to get through. I know we did not even really see it all even because we were kind of rushing to get done before 6pm and get some things at the gift shop. Mik even liked the little theater they had with a documentary playing.

Kj’s Baseball Collection: Patriotic Royals

The Royals did not have that great of a selection of balls. I really hoped to find a 40th anniversary since they came in the same year as the Padres or at least Kauffman Stadium one. They had a lot of Kauffman Stadium stuff that also had the 40th Anniversary logo including Mik’s mini bat, but that design was not on any baseballs. At least the staff was helpful and looked around to make sure they did not have any. I ended up choosing one that has stars and stripes on one strip and a white strip that has a blue and red Royals logo.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Game 14: Atlanta Braves 2 @ Cincinnati Reds 7

Today we encountered our first actual rain delay of the trip. Mik and Dad got really impatient with it and kept nagging to leave, but I made them stay until the game was finished or officially canceled. The first rain delay occurred about 45 minutes into the game at the top of the 3rd and lasted until almost 10pm. They then finished the top of the 3rd before calling another rain delay, which did not last very long (maybe, 30 minutes). The game was then finished out with no more rain at all (it sprinkled between the two rain delays and the first two innings before the first rain delay).

The game did not end until almost 12:30am, but I think it was worth sticking it out. Dad and Mik were not so motivated and did not care if we had even a rain canceled game because we have seen a game here before back in 2004 when Ken Griffey Jr was at 499 home runs and going for his 500th. I kind of thought it was important to try to see the whole game of whatever games we go to that do end up finishing. Plus it ended up being a decent game, especially in the 8th inning.

The Reds got on the board first with a run in the bottom of the first inning. They increased the lead with a run in the third and the fifth. The Braves then began to come back with a run in the sixth and a run in the eighth. The Reds then secured their lead with four runs in the bottom of the eighth. The hitting was decent, but there were a lot of walks and the pitching by both teams was not that great. The game kind of dragged on because of the mostly poor pitching. It felt even longer with the rain delay, but I guess if you take out that time it was not that long of a game. Most interesting was there were no home runs at all, which seems a little odd when there was a total of 9 runs scored. Anyways I thought it was a good game and well worth staying until the final out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Car Sticker Update: Kansas City Royals

Tracking down a sticker for the Royals was almost as hard as for the Twins. At the main Team Shop they had none and the employees really tried to help us find one, so we know we did not miss them there. We ended up getting a simple KC car magnet for $1 there. Later Dad found a player sticker sheet at the upper level shop and got that even though it was $15 because it had two stickers that Dad combined to make a good logo sticker on the American League side of the car for the Royals.

Now the American League side of the car has 5 team logos. That is not how many we have seen, as we have actually seen 6. However, we lost the Chicago White Sox cling on the down pour tornado warning day in Denver. Dad is going to go get a sticker one at Walgreens or the sports store he got the cling when we are back in Chicago to see the Cubs later this week, so if we had to lose one that was the best one to lose.