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,



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Update on the July 1 Trip/Fundraiser

Markie with the first pitch

Markie with the first pitch


Things are a little crazy around here, and content a little slow to show up in “post” form.  However, while a complete report with pictures and story (as it’s etched in my mind…) are still forthcoming, I wanted to update everyone on the fundraiser portion of the project:

Today, a donation of $750.00 was mailed to the Choroideremia Research Foundation on behalf of the NoiseNation Fan Group and Angels for Mark.  The $750 was short of my goal of $1000.00; however, it was more than the amount contributed from the sponsors–so I feel like we gained something from the time and effort from this project.  Plus, we had a lot of fun, supported our team, and raised awareness for a good cause.

The trip and the project in general could not have happened without assistance from a whole “team” of people.  First, I’d like to thank the sponsors:

Digital Cloud Company:  An excellent source for communications services in the digital age.  There is no better source for business phone service–and more.

Philly Pretzel Company:  The only quality pretzels available at Coca Cola Park.  Please support them at their stands in Right Field and on the Third Base Line.  Also, stop by the club hallway on the way out to get a snack for the drive home!  They’ll have a retail location down by the arena soon, too!

Westgate Optical:  Quality eye care and eye wear products in Bethlehem for over 40 years.

The T-Shirts:

I’d like to thank NoiseNation Dan for the design, and Diamond Sportswear for the printing and finishing.  Extra T-Shirts at the conclusion of the project were given to the Angels For Mark Group for use in their continued fundraising and awareness campaign.  Several T-Shirts were provided to the sponsors, as well, for advertising purposes.

The Trip:

I’d like to thank the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders for their support, and ticket manager Robert McLane for his assistance with the ticket package.  As always, a thank you to Cheryl Pursell for the photos–more to be posted here soon–which will create a lasting memory of the day–as well as for the goodies for the tailgate party beforehand.  Another thanks to Dan for resurrecting the “oinK” sign for our use that day.  Thanks to Matt Provence and Jon Schaeffer for their support on the radio.  A shout-out to players who supported us:  Tyler Henson, Steve Susdorf, Jim Murphy and Cody Asche in particular–but there are others going forward, who may be involved with future projects.  And Ethan Martin, who threw a ball over to us at the end of the evening.

The Nation:

We’re ALL Noise Nation–thanks to everyone who purchased a shirt.  A project like this cannot happen without lots of good friends–even those who couldn’t make the game or wouldn’t wear the shirt.  It’s all about having some fun and doing some good along the way.  Your support is not taken for granted and does not go unnoticed.

The Marks:

One last thing–there will be other fundraisers and events to come:  It doesn’t end with our little project.  Please support the Angels for Mark group if you can.  But even if you can’t, please say ‘hello’ to Mark, Markie, and the whole DeVoe family if you see them around the park.  They are wonderful folks, and great baseball fans.


See you at the park,


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IronPigs Head to Break with Win

“Don’t mind telling you i get a little mad 
To get a [hit] … takes all the time I have 
Don’t misunderstand me 
I’m not getting soft 
All i want is a couple days off “

–Huey Lewis and the News


Let’s say you just worked 135 days straight.  Oh, but you had five days off–never more than one at a time.  That’s a grind, right?  Well, that’s the Minor League player’s work schedule from March 1 to mid-July.  As fans, we may find it difficult to get to all 72 home games in the schedule; keep in mind for every home game there’s another game on the road.  Plus the travel and the workouts and all the other obligations.  Major League guys seem to get one day off every week or so, but the MiLB guys have to grind it out a little more.  Now, it’s the break, and we wish the ‘Pigs Players safe travels, and peace and relaxation for the next three days.

The ‘Pigs go into the break on a semi-high note with a 5-2 win in Louisville.  The win concludes their 10-game road trip at 4-6.  Not what we needed for a team that’s now in second-to-last place 11 games back of Syracuse.  On the trip, they seemed to find ways to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.  A couple games where the hitting wasn’t there.  A couple where one of the bullpen guys gacked it up.  A time or two where a starter couldn’t go deep enough–not effectively anyway.

But now they’re off–and on win.  After seeing Grady Sizemore go to the Phillies, and Steve Susdorf leave the team, they’ve got that win, and something to look forward to.  In today’s game, Jason Marquis was scratched due to a “tight back.”  I was afraid he was exercising an opt-out.  Perhaps it was a “veteran” injury.  After all, it was termed “minor.” We’ll see, I guess.  But, the game must go on, and that meant a bull-pen game.  They’ve had their struggles on this trip, to be sure, but Jeremy Horst took the ball to start the game, and Martin, Neris and Garcia each pitched two innings each to keep the Bats (Louisville, that is) at bay.  Tyler Henson went 4-for-4 with a double.  Castro went 3-for-5, and Murphy and Canzler each had 2 RBI on a day they were playing without Franco.  Maikel was making his way to the Futures Game in Minneapolis to represent the World team.  Phillies SS prospect JP Crawford is there for the USA team, as well.

What’s on tap now?  Well, 11 games might be too much to overcome for a division title.  I guess you never know in the Minors, but it would be a bit of a long-shot.  We can look forward to a couple familiar faces returning, though.  OF Clete Thomas and SS Freddy Galvis should be back soon.  SP David Buchanan is already back, with Cliff Lee set to resume his spot in the Phillies’ rotation.  Who might be up from Reading in the second half?  You never can tell, but we could see MAG (Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez).  We could also see Chris Bootcheck and/or Matt Tolbert return.  Veteran Jake Fox is there, too, and could be a AAA guy at a moment’s notice.  One or both catchers could be back from Philly, as they decide whether to take the easy route and option Cam Rupp, or expose Koyie Hill to waivers via DFA first.  At the end of the month, the Phillies may make some deals, which could get some of our guys to the Bigs, or could land us some high-level prospects.  We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.

So here we go.  Enjoy the All Star festivities, both MLB and AAA.  Perhaps we’ll see you at the park Wednesday for the ticket holder picnic.  I’ll certainly be there Thursday and Friday for the games against first-place Syracuse.  Then, it will be time for me to get a few days off.

News still to come from me about the Scranton trip, the fundraiser part, and some bonus pictures from Jim.

Stay tuned,


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Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Checking in With the Phantoms: 96 Days Until the Home Opener

Two and a half years ago I wrote this post about hockey coming to Allentown.  Now, it’s less than 100 days until the home opener.  I’ve already signed my season ticket contract and picked up my promotional gift (two of the nicest left-handed hockey sticks I’ve ever seen).  Concerts are being scheduled, and there will be some pre-season games prior to the October 17 home opener.  It’s getting close folks.  You don’t believe me?  Take a look at this –at the time of posting, that live cam is showing the seats being installed in the main bowl, and some of the risers–the first 5 or 6 rows for hockey–in place.

Here’s another peak at the season ticket seating for hockey:

hockey seating

Image from the Phantom’s web page. Anybody ready for Kram106? I’ll be sitting near the top of 106, just across the aisle from the jokers who are paying more to sit in 105. There are approximately 21 rows in each section for hockey, with the first five or six on risers. I’m unsure about the rows for the upper level.

In case you missed it, concerts and events are already being scheduled.  The opening event will be the ’70s rock band the Eagles, on September 12.  Here’s the full list, as of this writing:

Friday, September 12: Eagles

Monday, September 15: Cher

Tuesday, September 16: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Friday, September 26: Rascal Flatts

Friday, October 3: Harlem Globetrotters

Friday, Saturday, October 10-11: Professional Bull Riders

As near as I can tell, tickets are still available to all of these events.  Tickets for the Eagles are getting low, however, plenty of the VIP, and “Platinum” seats upwards of $450.00 each are still available.  Here’s what the concert seating map looks like–at least for Tom Petty:

ppl concert seating

From the PPL Center Ticket Page. I’ll be sitting in 205 as it kept shutting me out when I was trying to purchase floor seats–and that was six minutes into the pre-sale. Whatev. They were cheaper up top.

Here are some nuggets I learned at my ticket signing for the Phantoms this week:

  1. There are a butt-load of season ticket holders.  The seat map for hockey is tremendously full.  They are currently selling partial season ticket packages only to those on the waiting list–they haven’t even started public sales of those yet, let alone single-game tickets.  They don’t have the most season tickets in the league, but there are motivational signs throughout the ticket office promoting that as a goal for the ticket staff.  Impressive.  If you’re thinking about season tickets you’d better get moving.  And tickets in the expensive “club” section are almost gone.  So much for letting them talk me into upgrading…
  2. The seats are nice.  I was able to see the regular seats, the club seats, and the suite seats.  All very nice.  Of course, the club seats are slightly bigger and could be a bit more apart.  The suite seats are bigger yet.  But, not tremendously so.  I had to ask to figure out which were which, in fact.  Very nice padded seats, all.  They all seem nicer than the Wells Fargo Center seats in Philly.
  3. They are thinking about sound.  Arenas can be horrible places for concerts sometimes because of the acoustics.  Metal and concrete reflect sound like crazy, and it’s difficult to get a pleasing auditory signal to the concertgoers.  They’ve already thought about that, and strategies are being implemented to assist with the sound quality.  One of the Brooks brothers is a huge concert fan, I understand, and this has been a point of emphasis.  We’ll see how they do, but it was encouraging to hear that they’re already thinking about it.
  4. The season ticket package includes 38 home dates, 2 preseason games, and 2 playoff games, for a total of 42 games.  In the event that the team doesn’t play in the playoffs, the two extra games will be credited towards the following season.  Most season ticket holders have a 3-year or 5-year contract. The price is locked in for the first two, with an increase of no more than 3% for the third year.  It’s unclear when the pre-season games will be for this first season, or whom they will be against.  Any chance of a Flyers exhibition?  We’ll see.  I would guess one would be the weekend before–perhaps Columbus Day–and one during that week.
  5. The final schedule should be out in August.  There will be very few mid-week games.  Most will be Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  There will be the occasional mid-week tilt over the holiday periods of Thanksgiving, Christmans, and New Years.  A couple extras will be sprinkled in, but count on mostly weekends.
  6. They know the ticket process for concerts is not perfect.  The hockey side isn’t completely in control of it, and the promoters, and the bands themselves have a lot of say in how things are done.  Phantom’s STH do get some pre-sale ability–but then, the “Cyber Club” of the arena does, too (just sign up!).  It’s not clear if one group or the other has access to better seats–they are chosen for you during the purchasing process.  Personally, I did very well with my Eagles tickets (I think…) as I used my American Express (promoter) pre-sale code.  I did much less well with Tom Petty, using the Phantom’s code.  I have no idea if this is a coincidence or a computer problem or what.  I don’t know how many concerts I’ll go to down there, but we’ll try to keep up with info that we hear and learn.


Now, let’s take a look at how the Phantoms are doing with those things I suggest so many months ago:

  1. Invest in Parking and Travel Solutions:  According to the Morning Call, there has been a traffic study in and around the arena district and with respect to the parking lots.  In addition, there will be an “app” for your smart phone to help you find parking (just try looking at that while you drive!  Kidding.  Have your passenger do it!)  I did see a parking map, for the first time, the other day in the print version of the newspaper.  I believe it was in regards to this study with this article  but the image is nowhere to be found now.  We’ll update going forward.  I believe the bottom line is, that there will be enough parking, and the flow from the many points of access will be tolerable.  The key will be getting cars into those spots that are available. The city and the team are concerned and working on it–and don’t have their heads in the sand (or elsewhere) at this juncture.  It’s a start, but I’m telling you they need to continue to work on it.  On my way downtown to sign for my ticket plans the other day, I made four wrong turns, almost plowed into two mini-vans which were parked in the middle of the street for no apparent reason, and almost drove off the closed portion of the eighth street bridge.  And, this was with the benefit of a satellite-guided navigation system in my car, and full daylight.  I admit it’s not my best thing–and construction in the area was part of the problem–which will hopefully be concluded somewhat before September 12.
  2. Concerts:  They’ve already exceeded my expectations for the amount and quality of the acts they will be able to book.  Good for them, and I hope it continues.
  3. A co-tenant:  The SteelHawks are the number one candidate.  I wrote about it earlier today, here.  I wouldn’t mind seeing indoor soccer or a D-League NBA team, too.  I won’t be in for Lacrosse, probably.
  4. Make it NICE:  Everything I see tells me that they are.  I am hopeful.
  5. Good A/V:  Everything I’ve heard is good.  We’ll see.
  6. Family Friendly:  I think so.  A number of the restaurants downtown should have some kiddo possibilities, especially before and after matinee games and events.  I felt OK walking around downtown the other day when I was down there exploring.  Yes, it was daytime.  And, yes, I am somewhat oblivious at times.  But I’m hopeful, here, too.
  7. Keep the Philly Connection:  They have, and then some.  First, with the introduction of Chickie’s and Pete’s as the sports restaurant.  Then, in case you missed it, they’ve worked in cooperation with the Reading Royals and the Philadelphia Flyers to make the Royals their AA-level partner.  Read more about it here.
  8. Realignment:  Yup.  It was announced this past week. The Phantoms will play in a division with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (Penguins), Hershey (Capitals) and Binghamton (Senators), in addition to Norfolk (Anaheim).
  9. Concessions:  TBD.  But, with the number of new eateries downtown, I don’t think I’ll be going hungry at games.
  10. Group Sales:  The do have a couple of special group areas, including one right on the ice where you can watch the players enter.  They also have some other spots blocked off for group sales.  They’ll be OK–they have enough season ticket holders on three- and five-year deals to get things rolling even without a ton of groups.
    Just a snap--the yellow seats are 3-year plans and the blue ones are 5.  Red ones are unknown.

    Just a snap–the yellow seats are 3-year plans and the blue ones are 5. Red ones are unknown.


  11. Conventions and Meetings:  Well, already we have Globetrotters (basketball exhibition) and Bull Riding (rodeo, prob similar setup to some X-games stuff) so there’s that.  I’m sure they’ll find stuff.  Need to develop a quality reputation with the parking and the facility itself–as well as the comfort of the performers–though.
  12. Vuvuzelas:  We’ll see.  It will be interesting to see the kind of atmosphere they promote.  I wonder how raucous it will be.  It will be interesting…

See you at the arena,

Kram 106




Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey

Mid-Year Yawns

It’s that time of the year. Baseball just hit the All Star break and both the Pigs and Phillies are riding the basement of their respective divisions. Our beloved Steelhawks fought hard but lost their Championship game last night ending the this year’s arena football season. It’s hot outside. The memories of winter have officially faded away. Most are thinking of a vacation. Some are thinking of hockey in the near future.

I’m thinking about a new furnace and create excuses to avoid mowing the lawn…


Really, it’s a welcome break for us sports fans. This is pretty much the one week of the year where we willingly accept invites to picnics, parties and nights out without the pressure of missing a game. We’re not checking our phones to see away game scores. We’re not contemplating tailgating or rain delay strategies. We are burning through Netflix sports movies like a crazed junkie.

Maybe it’s time for a nap.

Sure, I could throw in some motivational words about Roller Derby at this point. I usually do. I’ve been trying to get you to come out to derby for years. Here’s a photo if you’re still not convinced.

Photo by our good friend Jim Rhoades

Photo by our good friend Jim Rhoades

Although that photo provides us with an entertaining illusion… it’s still a real fun time.

Next Lehigh Valley Rollergirl’s home bout is this Saturday, July 19th at 5:00pm in Schnecksville. I’m sure I’ll post more details later this week.

Until then… enjoy the day.

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Filed under Lehigh Valley IronPigs, LV Roller Girls, Steel Hawks