16 Reasons

There are 17 home dates left in the IronPigs schedule.  16 of them are in August.  1 is in July–and the September dates are up in Moosic.  Here are some reasons to come out to the park this August to take in a game–despite the losing nature of the team.

  1. The Top Three:  Hernandez, Galvis, and Franco–while they’re still together–constitute a pretty exciting top of the lineup.  It’s worth watching.
  2. Middle Infield:  While we’re at it, the Hernandez and Galvis up the middle is probably the best double-play combo we’ve ever seen, or ever will.  Add in Franco at third and Jimmy Murphy or Russ Canzler at first, and that’s among the best infield for defense we’ve ever had.
  3. The New Guys:  Well, I don’t know who they’ll be, but there are bound to be at least a couple August additions to the roster–especially the way this year has gone.  I’d predict starter Adam Loewen and reliever Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez from Reading.  Perhaps one or both of outfielders Aaron Altherr and Kelly Dugan.  Could Adam Morgan pitch yet this year?  Could Jesse Biddle get a quick shot at AAA this season?  Could a trade bring a top-notch or at least interesting prospect?  It’s enough reason to stay tuned, is what I’m saying.
  4. The Old Guys:  The way things are going in the Phillies’ system, I’m now on guard for saying good-bye to some of our favorite guys during this “rebuilding” time:  It might be your last chance to see guys like Tyler Henson, Leandro Castro, and Greg Smith, whom we’ve come to know and love cheering for–among others.  If they can get rid of Steve Susdorf, they can release anybody.  C’mon out and cheer for your favorite players while you can.
  5. The Food:  I know.  I’m sick of ballpark fare this time of year, too.  But you know why the lines are so long in April?  Because you’re going to miss it!  Go ahead and get that Aw Shucks Corn one more time.  You know Philly Pretzels taste best at the game (and dipped in butter creme, gahhhhckahh (c) Homer Simpson).  Have a Boss Dog one more time!  You know you want it!
  6. The Weekends:  Look, you can go to Musikfest and the other stuff during the week.  August is packed with weekend games.  If you’re young, you can still go out afterwards.  If you have kids, there’s no better place to take them.  Get out of the house on the weekends!
  7. IronRail:  We might be in last place, but we’re still better than Scranton, right?  C’mon let’s get this thing clinched before we have to go up there on August 31.  Show me the trophy, baby.  Krammer wants some hardware.
  8.  Relaxation:  It’s the number one reason I go to the games.  There’s a certain nirvana to be achieved by grabbing a beer, sitting in your seat, and letting the game wash over you.  Win or lose.  Enjoy it, because it won’t be back until April.  Hockey’s exciting–but baseball is relaxing.
  9. STH Vouchers:  If you’re a season ticket holder, renewing for next year, there’s a kicker for you.  Take advantage of that added value in food and souvenirs (my kiddos usually get a hat or shirt out of it) during the last home-stand.  See my last post for details.  I’ll be getting $60-$80, man.
  10.  Giveaways, Fireworks, Trough Parties and the like:  We got gypped in July.  Take advantage of the stuff we’ve got  left.  There should be at least three fireworks shows and four “trough” parties left.  Enjoy.
  11.  Bacon:   Haven’t seen the new uniforms sets yet, on the field?  Wanna chance to grab a bacon hat, a black jersey, or a replica thereof?  C’mon out and get one–enjoy the game while you’re here!
  12. Attendance: We’re in third.  THIRD!  We might not win on the field, but we always win in the stands.  Let’s pack the park in these final games and get our attendance figures up a bit.  We deserve to be first or second (hey, Charlotte’s new so we give them a chance this year….)
  13. Warm:  Hey, feel that heat from the sky?  That’s the sun.  It wasn’t so good in April–and won’t be until May or June of 2015.  Enjoy it while you can.
  14. Take a Walk:  Ever just walk around the concourse for the whole game?  I bet you meet someone you know.  Maybe more than one!  C’mon out and be social.  You’ll be glad you did.
  15. Laughs:  They say that laughter is the best medicine.  I bet you laugh at least once during a game.  Hey, maybe you’re laughing ‘AT’ something rather than “WITH,”  but it’s still worth it.
  16. Friends:  None of us are getting any younger, you know.  Some folks we’ve seen multiple times over the season–we won’t see again until April.  Some, we may never see again.  Sure, some of us will get together at hockey games this year–but some won’t.  Folks may move away–or fall into poor health.  You just never know.  C’mon out and spend time with your friends while you  can.  You won’t be sorry that you did.

See you at the park,

@Kram209

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IronPigs Season Ticket Holder News and Renewals

I must have missed the email for playoff tickets this season….

But, I did get the emails today about renewing my season ticket packages.  If you’ve been around here before, you know that I have a couple packages–a full-season club package with four seats, and a 36-game club package with two seats.  I’ll try to extrapolate and interpret the information from the two emails I received today with details on the 2015 season.  I’ll go line-by-line, but not necessarily in order.  I’ll try to be clear when I’m making assumptions or guesses.  Biggest news is at the end…

  1. Season Ticket Renewals will be available starting tomorrow, July 31.     Ticket renewals must be completed by October 3, though, or seats will be released to those on waiting lists and those desiring relocation.
  2. A $100 deposit will be required, per seat, to hold your purchase.    Of course.
  3. Ticket Prices will remain the same.     I’m guessing here, but the total season ticket price reflects the usual $15 per seat per game as has been standard over the past three years in the club level.  They didn’t let me keep my $14 price, but they didn’t threaten a 2015 increase, either.  One note, though:   They did mention that signing a 3- or 5-year agreement would lock in the current price over that term, protecting on from possible future increases.  Then again, now that the Club Level and everything in it has a corporate sponsor, you’d think I’d get a discount, huh?  Or, maybe a coupon for a free arthroscopy?
  4. Season Ticket Holder Gift.     I always like that pre-season swag, but never felt that it was a given.  I guess it is now–it’s listed as a benefit of being a season ticket holder.
  5. Renewal Vouchers.     Those who commit to the renewal and make their deposits prior to the end of the season (August 30 this year) will receive some “loaded value” vouchers to use during the final 8-game home stand August 23-30.  For my full-season club seats, the voucher is $15 per seat.  It’s $10 per seat for my 36-game club seats.  Kram’s take:  If you’re gonna do it anyway, you may as well get that late-season credit for food and gear.
  6. Unused Ticket Exchange.     This isn’t new.  But I did notice that it was listed as a benefit for the 36-game plans as well as the 72-game plans.  There were some serious restrictions on exchanges for the 36-game seats this past year.  This could be something new for the lesser plans, or it could be that whomever edited the email forgot to take it out.  Stay tuned.
  7. Loaded Value Is Back!!   We’ll get the loaded value ballpark credit for the first half of the season again next year!  It will again be $4 per seat per game for the full-season plans, and $2 for the 36-game plans.  I thought this worked really well this past season and I’m glad it’s back.  I’m not sure if it had any impact on getting fannies in the seats for the first half, but it sure was a help to me and my wallet.  For my packages it was worth $720 in free food and clubhouse store gear over the course of those 36 games–and we used almost every penny of it!
  8. PARKING PASSES!    This is the big one.  Season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase discounted parking passes next season.  For the full-season, the pass will be only $198.  That comes to $2.75 per game, which is a modest savings over the normal $3–but it is six free games assuming the parking price remains the same.  The 36-game plan has the option of a $99 pass–exactly half, and the same per-game rate.

 

There are some issues with the partial season pass–which I’ll not mention here.  However, this whole thing is something we’ve been calling for around here for some time.  I’m glad it has come to fruition.  That said, I hope this isn’t the precursor to the rumored $5 parking.  And, from a personal perspective, I hope that my four-seat package (which I’m likely to renew, but not positive) still qualifies for a free pass.  If you’re likely to miss more than 6 games (or 3 in the 36-game case) you’ll do better just paying as you go if it’s still $3.  And, it is nice to hand folks a parking pass when you give away tickets, too.  Each fan will need to decide what works best–but it’s a nice option to have and the small discount is at least a start.

In all, it’s good news.  We’ll do a “suggestion box” column again at the end of the season to tackle other subjects.

See you at the park,

@Kram209

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meLVin The Puck-Nose Pladoetle

Alternate Title:  “Dax is Gone; No More Beaver”

Through a series of YouTube videos, the Phantoms have introduced their new mascot.  No more Dax and Flex, I guess?  Well, whatever.  He seems nice enough, and there were plenty of clever parts to the video.  I smell Ryan Kelly’s involvement….

Please watch it all the way through…

here (won’t embed…)

More later,

@Kram106

 

 

 

 

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I Have It Figured Out

“You’re jammin’ me, you’re jammin’ me
Quit jammin’ me
Baby you can keep me painted in a corner
You can walk away, but it’s not over

Yeah take back your losing streak”

–Tom Petty, “Jammin’ Me”

———-

It’s the “dog days” of summer, and the IronPigs are losing at an alarming rate.  They’re playing hard, (see also: “2010, The Team That Gave Up”) but one night they can’t hit, and the next they can’t pitch.  It’s not a recipe for winning.

And just now, the local Beats are writing about the horrid home record–the IronPigs are the worst home team in Minor League Baseball if I’m not mistaken.  But it’s not a new topic for the IronPigs’ cognoscenti–we’ve been talking about this for some time.  Whether it was my “Friday Curse of the Black Pants” theory, or my “Revenge of the Bacon Jerseys” theory or what–It was even discussed on the “APhiliated Podcast” with IronPigs’ Radio Producer Mark Perlman-Price and former broadcast assistant and current Voice of the Fightins Mikey the V.  @MtripleP and I discussed it on the pre-game radio show one day as well.  “Why are the ‘Pigs so bad at home this season?”

While it probably doesn’t have much to do with the new home jersey rotation, there were some other theories floated early on–aside from my silly “curse” posts:  First, the theory had to do with the weather.  It was a cold Spring, as most of us who attend all the games can attest.  Some of the cold road games were postponed, yielding a sub-par home record. Another theory, which I floated via radio call-in, had to do with the stadium.  The deep left field at Coca Cola Park had been a grave-yard to right-handed power hitters over the years, and was sapping this years’ line-up:  Maikel Franco, Jimmy Murphy, Cam Rupp, Tyler Henson, Darin Ruf, and others, with power, hitting from the right side, were crushing homers on the road a great deal more than at home–yielding a sub-par home record.

However, the weather’s nice now–wherever you go–and other teams with right-handed power seem to be doing fine here in Allentown.  The Beats have asked Mr. Brundage, but his answer is typical Manager-speak (para-phrasing):  “We’re doing the things to win ballgames while on the road rather than at home. I don’t know.”

So what could it be?  Reading between the lines today, I think I’ve figured it out:  It’s the change.

The transactions this year have been off the chart.  The number of players going up to Philly, down to Reading, in from Independent Ball, out to the waiver wire, and off and on the DL –has been craziness.  The movement is much greater at home, given the proximity to Philadelphia and Reading, and the likelihood that a player who has been moved won’t report until the team is home.  The roster turnover which impacts the team at home has unknowingly (or, “un-care-ingly” Phillies) created a team which doesn’t gel or execute as well at home.  Coaches and managers aren’t able to put the players in a good position to succeed given such rapid turnover.  It’s a detail thing–but it’s enough to where the team has struggled.  Several times, the team has been left short-handed at home, too, while waiting for players to get healthy and return for the road trips.

So, I hope we can get it together.  Playoffs are not likely in our future, and a certain amount of change will continue.  However, a couple moves from Reading and well-placed trades could result in a team that is fun to watch through all those August weekends.  Or, not.  Perhaps they’ll start to give up like that 2010 team, especially in light of the recent loss of clubhouse good-guys Steve Susdorf and Barry Enright.  But I don’t think so.  There’s too much talent on this team right now–and too many players with career trajectories in the balance.  We’ll see some good baseball down the stretch.  I’ll bet my black Friday jersey on it.

See you at the park,

@kram209

 

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EWSL Charity Event to Benefit Angels for Mark! 7/25/14

The Easton Women’s Softball League will be hosting its annual overnight Diamond Dreams tournament on Friday, July 25th at the Bob Rute Fields in Hackett’s Park, Easton, PA (off 13th Street exit). This year’s event will benefit Angels for Mark and his quest to save his sight through the efforts of the Choroideremia Research Foundation.

Since 2009, the EWSL has run this event with donations exceeding $60,000 benefiting both the Miracle League of Lehigh County and Northampton County!

8pm All Star Game EWSL vs Warren County Women’s League

10PM Double Elimination Tournament, with the championship game scheduled for 6:45AM.

Teams participating include: Shruty’s Pub, Huntington Fire Co, The Banshees, Village Square Wine (from the Warren County League), Cleats & Cleavage (also players from the Warren County league) and a team from the High Bridge NJ league.

There will be silent auctions and raffles galore including Phillies & Iron Pigs tickets and bobbleheads! The refreshment stand will be open. DJ Prime Time will be on hand to entertain.

Come on out and support a great cause and enjoy some softball!

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ALS Charity Softball Game August 9th. Everyone is Invited

The action doesn’t stop in Allentown while the Lehigh Valley IronPigs go on an eight game road trip in early August. On Saturday, August 9th the Allentown Patriots Old Timers will be seeking revenge against the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs Ball Girls & other staff members in a game of softball to raise money for the LV Walk to Defeat ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Please mark your calendars as this is one fun event you won’t want to miss.

The game will be played on Saturday, August, 9th at Patriots Park, 1026 St. John St. Allentown. Gates open at 4 PM and the game begins at 6 PM. In case of rain, the game will be played at 4 PM on Sunday, August 10th with gates opening at 3 PM. Parking and Admission is free, but donations would be gladly accepted.

There will be plenty of activities and entertainment to make for enjoyable day. In addition to the softball game, there will be raffles, silent auctions and other activities including an opportunity to take home memorabilia from your favorite Phillies players, including Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and others.

Entertainment will be provided by the Ironpigs mascots, the Caribbean Steel Rhythms Band from 4:30 – 5:30 and Kim Bydlon performing the National Anthem at 6 PM plus other songs between innings.

All proceeds from the event will benefit Donna’s Dugout and the LV Walk To Defeat ALS.
2014 ALS Charity Softball Event

Photos of the 2013 ALS Charity Softball Game (below) courtesy of Rodney Heintzelman.
2013 ALS Charity Softball 01
2013 ALS Charity Softball 02
2013 ALS Charity Softball 03
2013 ALS Charity Softball 04

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A Whole New Team

Well, not really.  But, maybe…maybe the IronPigs could use some fresh blood…

Enright -- Photo Cheryl Pursell

Enright — Photo Cheryl Pursell

ICYMI, our friend from the 209–Barry Enright–was released by the Phillies organization yesterday.  This came following a poor outing Thursday night where he yielded some very hard hit balls.  He’s had a couple of those outings this year–as well as some very good ones.  As I said in a preview when he was signed this past winter, Barry is a fly-ball pitcher who needs to live on the corners and trust his “stuff.”  However, lately he’s gotten too much of the plate several times, and maybe didn’t have his best stuff, and a very good hitting Syracuse team is going to make any pitcher pay for those mistakes (just ask Sean O’Sullivan after last night, huh?).  The Phillies organization thought that it might be better for Barry to hook on somewhere else if he wasn’t going to get a look with the big team this season.  Don’t forget, Barry had a couple really nice outings, too, not to mention a couple that were squandered by the bull pen.  And, he can handle a bat.  Section 209 at Coca Cola Park is a long way from area code 209, but we kind of adopted him as our own up there, and we wish him well.

Clete Thomas  Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Clete Thomas
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Today brings a couple more moves:

OF Clete Thomas and INF Freddy Galvis return from the DL, where each had been mending from broken bones suffered on the left-half of Coca Cola Park.  Thomas from ribs he broke diving into the left field wall (and he batted after…) and Galvis from a broken clavicle suffered after tripping on Maikel Franco trying to get a foul ball behind third base.

Freddy, from Spring Training.  Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Freddy, from Spring Training. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

To make room on the roster, INF Edgar Duran and RP Tyler Knigge were sent to Reading.  Duran played reasonably well, but was a liability at the plate sporting .171.  Knigge had been pitching lights-out at one point–he rose to the brink of my confidence ratings and looked to be knocking on the door of the Majors.  However, he has had a few really bad outings in a row.  My hope is that it’s something minor which can be corrected with some additional work in Reading, and that we’ll have him back soon. I hope that he’s not injured in some way.

Also assigned to the IronPigs today was LHP Jo-Jo Reyes.  He had been pitching in Korea (2-7, 6.55) this season, and has 70G of Major League experience.  He’s 29 years old.  He’s also a veteran of the International League having accumulated 16-10, 3.01, in 58 games, 47 starts.  It’s unclear whether he will be used as a starter or out of the bull pen, but with the addition of Buchanan and the loss of Enright we’re back at 5 starters.  I imagine he’ll be used to help eat up some innings with the doubleheaders on tap, and from there it will depend on if Buchanan and/or Marquis are needed in Philadelphia.  Reyes had been signed on 7/9, but had been in Clearwater on the IronPigs DL nursing an injured Velandia.  I had not heard any reports of his pitching there, so we’ll have to get a look to see what we have.

Tonight starts the first of two days of double-headers.  It seems that as good a team as Syracuse has, they cannot get control of their weather up there.  I bet Brundy is just thrilled with this.  I bet the only thing he hates worse than a two-game series is a two-double-header series.  But, perhaps the ‘Pigs can use their new players and the adversity of the 4-games-in-two-days to steal a game or two from the powerful Chiefs.

I worry somewhat, that the loss of a couple really good clubhouse guys–Susdorf and Enright–will cause the team to spiral even worse than what the last two days showed.  Those were veteran guys–fan-friendly too–who could be a stabilizing force.  It doesn’t look like it’s going to be our year, but still, we would like to see a competitive team down the stretch and not go completely in the tank (see also: 2010).  But, ultimately, I think Thomas and Galvis are established and talented players who will help, and any potential trades from Philadelphia could open up an opportunity for playing time from any player on the AAA roster.  It behooves them to continue to play hard and play winning baseball as much as possible.  Finally, we might also see the return of Chris Bootcheck from Reading, who had a nice outing the other day, and MAG who has been dominant in Reading’s ‘pen.  We should be OK.

 

See you at the park, maybe later,

@Kram209

 

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