June 16-17, 2012 Bowie Baysox at Erie Seawolves Jerry Uht Stadium Erie, PA
Seawolves vs. Bay Sox? Have I lost my mind? Yes, and possibly yes. My original plans were to head to Baltimore for the Orioles vs. Tigers series then continue on to DC for the Nationals vs. Mets series. However, nearly all of my friends are either broke or too obsessed with working their lives away at minimum wage jobs. I guess in the “Real World”, it’s pretty hard to just drop everything and go on a Roadtrip for 10 days. In “Rick’s World”‘, it’s not unusual for me to just hop in the car and disappear for weeks at a time. Anyways, I really didn’t feel like going all the way to Baltimore by myself for over a week. I did some homework and decided on a mini trip to Erie, PA for a few days. Why Erie?
Erie is home of the Erie Seawolves, AA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.
Erie would be hosting the Bowie Baysox. The Baysox are led by another pair of MLB top prospects, Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop. According to the MLB TOP 100 PROSPECTS LIST, Manny Machado is current ranked #3. Schoop is currently ranked #91.
Machado pictured on the left and Schoop on the right. Photo courtesy of The Baltimore Sun. One of my goals for the trip was to obtain an autograph from Castellanos, Machado, and Schoop. I’m usually accompanied on my trips by Hunter or one of my other guys friends. However, I was accompanied on this trip by my friend Jen. I don’t know what the heck I was thinking but I planned a little romantic camping trip. I called SARA’S CAMPGROUND and inquired about camping on the beaches of Lake Erie for a few nights. I was told that for $25 a night, I could do just that. I stopped at my local Walmart and purchased tent, air mattress, sleeping bags, and a few other camping necessities. After my shopping spree, it was time to pick up Jen then of to Erie we would go.
Here is a picture of my camping buddy. (Sorry Jen, this is the only photo I had of you) LoL. We arrived in Erie around 1pm and checked in at Sara’s Campground. I was advised not to set up the tent till later in the evening so we made the short drive over to Jerry Uht Park and it was time to let the ballhawking begin. Below are a few random photos.
Here is a view from outside of the ballpark in RF. As you can see, there is a large net above the RF Wall to protect the cars driving past from being struck by a flying baseball. If you have ever shagged balls during BP in Erie, you can attest to the fact that the net is useless. Yes, the net does prevent a few balls from leaving the ballpark. However, 90%+ of the home runs clear the net and leave many with massive dents in their vehicles as well a few broken windows.
This is the area behind the RF Wall. As you can see, vehicles are lined up like sitting ducks waiting to be struck. I shagged balls in RF during BP and there were a few times I would purposely miss a ball just to see what kind of damage it would do when it struck a vehicle.
This is the area below the CF Scoreboard. Great spot for finding Easter Eggs after BP. I found 9 alone in Day #1. I don’t know exactly how many balls I snagged on July 16th during BP, but I’m guessing the number was close to 50. There is a guy who sits in the Parking Lot on the first base side during games who buys the decent looking balls for $3 each to get autographed. I sold him 20 balls during my first day. I’d have to say it was quite possibly the easiest $60 I’ve made in quite some time. Jen didn’t quite get my obsession with chasing the baseballs around and was even more confused when I told her I’d rather wait outside during the game to chase foul balls and to possibly catch a home run. I was fully prepared for her to get crazy and demand for me to take her home but she seemed cool with it and headed into the ballpark to watch the game. I’m pretty sure that after I told her it was “Buck Night” and she could get 24oz. Beers for $1 each all night helped a lot too. As Jen sat inside getting wasted, I spent the majority of my time behind the RF Wall hoping for a home run. We checked on each other periodically during the game. I checked on her to make sure she wasn’t passed out in the seating area from drinking too much, she checked on me to make sure I wasn’t hit by a car while chasing balls.
Nick Castellanos was playing RF for the Erie Seawolves. Castellanos is a 3B but his path to the bigs is currently blocked by Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers are looking for a way to get him to Detroit as fast as possible so he was making his debut in the outfield on July 16th. I got a text message in the bottom on the 2nd Inning that Jen was bored and she wanted me to come inside for a little bit. GRRRRRR, that’s all I thought. I went inside and spent a few innings with her. While inside, I took a few photos.
During the 3 innings I did spend inside the ballpark, I managed to get asked quite possibly every question about baseball by a visibly intoxicated Jen as well as miss a 3rd Inning Buck Britton Home Run that cleared the wall in RF. I went back outside of the ballpark in the 5th Inning and was followed by Jen. I promised to her that I was only going to stay for 1 more inning then we could go. I could tell she was annoyed but oh well, I warned her before we left about how it’s not a good idea for people to come to a game with me.
In the 6th Inning, Nick Castellanos homered to RF and luckily I was outside this time to retrieve the ball. Within 30 seconds of the ball coming out, I was approached by the guy who bought 20 balls from me earlier for $60. He offered me $100 for the Castellanos HR ball. Without even thinking about it, I said sure and Jen just stood there in shock. She wanted to know how the hell I made $160 from selling “stupid *bleeping* baseballs”. Jen says that she doesn’t even make that much working for 3 days. I found that pretty amusing. The guy told her that if she caught a home run hit by someone else during the game, that he would also give her $100 for it. I have to admit that offering a drunk girl money to do something is not a good idea. They can get quite obnoxious and at the same time entertaining. I’m guessing that Jen had at least 12 beers during the game so keeping her distracted so I could stay for the rest of the game wouldn’t be a problem. Below are a few more random photos.
Seawolves Slugger Jordan Lennerton led off the 9th Inning with a HR that landed in the construction area in CF. I scurried over and scooped it up for my 2nd Home Run of the day. The guy who purchased the Castellanos HR from me earlier must have already went home because he never came out after the Lennerton blast. Jen spent innings 8 and 9 chillaxing in the AC in my car. Instead of sticking around for autographs like I had hoped to do, we headed to the beach to setup the tent. I knew it was going to be a disaster. Surprisingly, even though it was pitch black outside, we managed to get the tent up. After rolling around all over each other sweaty and miserable for an hour or so, Jen had the genius idea to go for a swim. We spent the next 2 hours splashing around Lake Erie hoping to get cooled off. I’m pretty sure the cold water also helped Jen sober up. LoL. At around 3am, we made our way back to the tent and somehow fell asleep. We were awaken at 6am though by some very obnoxious kids running around the beach. Really people, it’s 6am… I wasn’t a “Happy Camper”. HaHaHa. Jen also wasn’t too amused. We both probably smelled pretty bad from sweating and from the water and were also not too happy about being in a zipped up tent when it’s 85 outside. There was also condensation stuff inside the roof of the tent dripping onto us. I’ve been waiting a long time to use this word, but my Romantic Camping Idea was an EPIC FAIL. At around 7am, we stopped at Bob Evans and had some breakfast then it was off to find a hotel to cool off and hopefully get some rest.
The Sheraton in Erie ended up being our destination. I would like to give a quick thank you to the guy who bought the Castellanos HR from me. You essentially paid for our hotel room and made up pretty happy. We explained to the lady at the front desk about our horrendous stay on the beach and she promised the hotel would be a lot more romantic than a tent on the beach. Anyways, we both got a much needed shower then layed down to nap for 7 hours. Yes, a 7 hour nap. We both woke up feeling refreshed and headed off the Jerry Uht Park for Day #2. Below are a few random photos.
The Jordan Lennerton HR I got the previous night landed in the construction area above. I had a few goals for this game. I wanted to get my Lennerton HR ball signed, obtain signatures from Machado, Schoop, and Castellanos, and snag as many balls as possible during BP. BP was once again a blast, I’m pretty sure I caught at least 30 more baseballs today. I ended up selling another 20 balls to the guy on the first base side for $60. I also told him about our horrible stay on the beach. He then told me he owns a hotel on 12th St and if he would have known we were headed to the beach to sleep in a tent, he would have given us a free room. He extended an open offer for our next trip to Erie and asked that I take it easy on him the next time he wants to buy a HR Ball. I promised I would and then headed into the ballpark. Yes, I headed into the game. I had promised Jen that I would watch at least the first 5 innings with her inside. Castellanos homered in the 3rd Inning. Luckily, the ball was hit to CF and bounced off the scoreboard and came back onto the field. Phewwwww… I headed out to RF in the Bottom of the 5th Inning.
Can you read the sign that says “CARD”? Jonathan Schoop homered over that sign in the 6th Inning and the ball landed in the construction area. I used my Usain Bolt speed and raced over and scooped up the ball. I was pumped. After getting the Schoop ball, I headed back inside to talk to Jen to explain how we needed to stay after the game so I could get autographs. She told me I was a creeper but for some reason agreed. Now, I’m going to do a quick photo recap of what happened.
Upon arriving at the hotel, I decided to see how many baseballs I had left from BP. Please keep in mind that I sold 40 balls already. Well, guess what? I had 40 more in my possession. 80 balls in 2 days of BP is just insane. I absolutely love Minor League Baseball. LoL
I did forget to mention that I got the Lineup Card from the Seawolves Dugout on the 16th. I like collect Lineup Cards from Minor League Games I’ve attended. I probably have close to 100 from the games I attended in the Florida State League last season. Below are photos of some of the balls I missed during BP that bounced off of the road behind the RF Wall.
This is one of the coolest items I’ve had signed in quite some time. Seatback from Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick, MD. Home of the Frederick Keys. Current Baysox Star Manny Machado played there last season. The story of how I obtained this Seatback in the first place makes it that much cooler. Anyways, right after I had my HR Ball signed by Schoop, Manny came over and asked if anyone wanted anything signed. Machado and Schoop are like Peanut Butter and Jelly. You won’t find one without the other, they are inseperable. I’m not sure how everyone else feels about Machado but I think he is one heck of player and a really nice guy. Usually players of his caliber are ignoring fans and come off as ignorant pricks. Manny seemed like a genuinely nice guy and made sure everyone who had something to get signed got it done. There were only 3 of us waiting for autographs though. LoL. After asking what the Seatback was, I explained to him it was from Frederick and he proceeded to ask if I wanted anything special inscribed on it. Being the idiot that I am, I asked if he would write “To: Rick”. WoW once again, I probably should have asked for something like 2010 1st Round Pick. Machado gave me a hella big autograph then hoped on the bus and headed to the team hotel. I proceeded to hop in my POS Camaro with Jen and headed to the Sheraton. After a relaxing night in the AC, I woke up feeling like a million bucks. We stopped at Pizza Hut for lunch then I dropped her off and went home and slept some more. I heart me some sleep. Pirates vs. Marlins coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I’m taking my ballhawking to a new level this coming series. Check back soon for details.