7-25-09 Canal Park

I decided to make a trip to Akron OH today.  The reason was two fold.  One, I found someone willing to part with 4th row Dave Matthews Band tickets.  Two, the Altoona Curve (Pirates AA affiliate) were in Akron for a weekend series.

I began by visiting a hotel in Akron OH to buy the DMB tickets.  I didn’t buy the tickets off just any DMB fan.  I bought them off a professional softball player.  Her name was Nicole Trimboli, and she is one of the stand outs for the Chicago Bandits pro softball team.  They had a series against Akron’s pro softball team.  If you’re not a softball fan, you’ve probably heard of one of her teammates – widely regarded as the most popular softball player of all time – Jennie Finch.

I didn’t meet Finch, but I met some of her teammates, one of whom I sold DMB tickets to.

Upon arriving at Canal Park, there was no batting practice, so I searched beyond the left field fence and found three baseballs.

One was a Major League Baseball, well used.  (And no, it doesn’t count in my official collection – only balls at MLB games do – regular and post season).

I then watched the Altoona Curve warm up, and snapped some photos of the Pittsburgh Pirates top prospects.

Jose Tabata stretching:
100_1963.jpgGorkys Hernandez chats with his girlfriend:
Pedro Alvarez signs a baseball for me.  That’s right!  I got him to sign an Arizona Fall League ball that I had with me.
100_1966.jpgDuring the game, we sat down the right field line, because all of the sections were basically empty.  I was hoping to get a game ball.  I wouldn’t have to wait long.

Up stepped the #1 prospect in the Cleveland Indians system, Carlos Santana.
top prospects.jpgSantana had 117 RBI last year, and already has 70 RBI this year.

Santana dug into the box and lauched a deep fly ball to left field.  It was a three run home run.  The ball bounced off a concrete walkway behind the left field wall, took a huge hop into some trees and disappeared.

I didn’t wait.  I left the stadium and ran the entire way to the area behind the left field wall to claim the ball.  I looked in the trees and the area behind the wall.  I didn’t see it.  Then I checked the water.

There it was.
It was floating towards a 20 foot high water fall.
If I didn’t act fast, the ball was a goner.  It was about 15-20 feet from the falls when I got to the scene.  I grabbed onto the railing, laid flat on my stomach and reached as far down as I could into the canal.  I was just barely able to grab the ball.

It was a perfect Eastern League ball, what I had been after all day.
It was also my first game home run ball of the season.  Although it won’t count in my major league official stats, it’s still a keeper.

Hopefully Carlos Santana becomes a star for the Indians in a year or two.

I stayed outside the park for an inning and a half, hoping to get another homer.  (If I wanted to, I could watch the entire game outside the park for free, and have almost a 100% chance of getting any home runs that came out.)
photo(174).jpgI re-entered the park, buying the cheapest ticket.

A few action shots:

Jose Tabata
100_1969.jpgPedro Alvarez (doing a Derek Jeter’esque time out request)
100_1972.jpgPedro would take the next pitch deep.  The ball cleared both bullpens and hit just below the scoreboard in right center field.  It had to be about 450 feet or more.  It was a bomb.
100_1971.jpgAlvarez congratulated at home plate:
100_1973.jpgPedro Alvarez now has 20 HR and 70 RBI’s this season.

The Pirates home run leader is Garett Jones with 10, and the RBI leader is Andy LaRoche with 37.

Needless to say, I can’t wait until Pedro Alvarez is on the big league club.

Here’s a look at today’s baseballs:
And the sweet spots (I decided to number minor league baseballs in black ink.  I do all baseballs obtained at MLB games in blue ink)
100_1977.jpgAnd by the way, since I mentioned Jennie Finch, how about a run down of the top 100 female athletes of all time?  I got these from the bleacher report

100. Ashley Harkleroad, tennis
99.  Christa Alves, surfer

98. Candace Parker, basketball

97.  Anni Friesinger-Postma, skater

96.  Sandra Gal, golf
95.  Jeannette Lee,
94.  Katarina Witt, skating

93.  Kari Traa, skiing

92.   Hope Solo, soccer

91.  Biba Golic, ping pong

90.  Mia St John, boxing

89.  Gretchen Bleiler, snowboarding

88.  Logan Tom, volleyball

87.      Erin Phillips, basketball

86.  Hannah Teter, snowboarding

85.  Kimberly Lansing, poker

84.  Missy Gibson, surfer

83.  Ashley Constantine, surfer

82.  Kiira Korpi

81.  Kajsa Bergqvist, high jumper

80.  Jennie Finch

79.  Sasha Cohen, figure skater

78.  Christina Vukicevic, hurdles

77.  Amy Acuff, high jump

76.  Lolo Jones, hurdles

75.  Dallas Friday, wakeboarder

74.  Gabrielle Reece

73.  Vera Zvonareva, tennis

72.   Jamie Sale, skater

71.  Trish Stratus, WWE Wrestler

70.  Clair Bidez, snowboarder

69.  Victoria Azarenka, tennis

68.  Allison Baver, speed skater

67.  Alina Kabaeva, gymnast

66.  Misty May, volleyball

65.  Ana Paula Mancino, volleyball

64.  Lacy Schnoor, freestyle skiier

63.  Amanda Beard, swimmer

62.  Lara Gut,  skiier

61.  Natalie Gulbis

60.  Linn Haug, snowboarder

59.  Milene Domingues, soccer

58.  Juliana Veloso, swimmer

57.  Victoria Vanucci, tennis

56.  Daniela Hantuchova, tennis

55.  Laisa Andriolo, soccer

54.  Danica Patrick, NASCAR

53.  Caroline Wozniacki, tennis

52.  Tatiana Grigorieva, pole vaulter

51.  Bianca Cruz, softball, and Jason Pridie’s girlfriend

50.  Liv Boeree, poker

49.  Tanith Belbin, ice dancer

48.  Ashley Force Hood, NHRA Funny Car driver

47.  Maria Verchenova

46.  Claudia Toth, curling

45.  Anna Rowson, golf

44.  Stephanie Rice, swimming

43.  Maria Kirilenko, tennis

42.  Alona Bondarenko, tennis

41.  Kristi Leskinen, freestyle skiier

40.  Michelle Waterson, karate

39.  Maria Sharapova, tennis

38.  Ashley Massaro, pro wrestler

37.  Jenn Brown, softball

36.  Miesha Tate, MMA

35.  Allison Stokke, pole vaulter

34.  Torrie Wilson, WWE WCW Wrestler

33.  Anna Kournikova, tennis

32.  Gina Carano, MMA

31.  Nastia Liukin

30.  Zlata, gymnast

29.  Blair O’Neal, golf

28.  Jennifer Barretta, pool

27.  Heather Mitts, soccer

26.  Anastasia Luppova, billiards

25.  Taira Turley, football

24.  Tapai Szabina, handball

23.  Kyra Gracie, Jiu-Jitsu and grappler

22.  Bia Feres and Branca Feres, swimmers

21.  Lindsey Vonn, skiier

20.  Anastasia Ashley, surfer

19.  Alex Morgan

18.  Sophie Horn, golf

17.  Brie Bella and Nikki Bella, wrestlers

16.  Sara Galimberti, track

15.  Maria Kanellis, WWE

14.  Amanda Coetzer, tennis

13. Lokelani McMichael, surfer and triathlete

12.  Anna Semenovich, ice dancer

11.  Melanie Adams, Pole Vaulter

10.  Tania Archer, sprinter

9.  Stacy Keibler, WCW and WWE Wrestler

8.  Ana Ivanovic, tennis

7.  Lauryn Eagle, pro boxer

6.  Kim Glass, volleyball

5.  Leryn Franco, javelin

4.  Shanelle Loraine, billiards

3.  Malia Jones

2.  Niki Gudex, cyclist

1.  Alana Blanchard, surfer

Hopefully that makes this entry a little more interesting, since it was a minor league game I attended.
Minors Statistics:
Minors Game: 4 balls (3 hit, 1 thrown)
Minors Season:  6 balls (5 hit, 1 thrown)
Minors Career:  6 balls



  1. padreleigh


    Way to go!! Can’t wait to read the story. It was nice that the sight got mentioned in the story. Too bad your name didn’t get mentioned in the article. It would be nice to get mentioned. I’m getting tired of seeing the same couple of names getting mentioned in EVERY article. Apparently there are only two ballhawks in America according to the press.


  2. ijwx87

    When do you think Pedro Alvarez will be in Pittsburgh?
    I think by this time next season or closer to end of next season.

  3. 333greystreet

    It would’ve been nice to have had my name mentioned, but at least there was some degree of recognition.

    If I had to make a wager on it, I would say Alvarez will be up in Pittsburgh in early/mid June of 2010 – just like they did with McCutchen.

  4. districtboy

    This is starting to get interesting…Santana now has tied an Akron record by homering in his fourth straight game.