Category Archives: Lehigh Valley IronPigs

2015 IronPigs Schedule Released: Good, Bad and Ugly

2015_IronPigs_Schedule_k0ljic2o

THE GOOD

  1. Opening Day at Coca Cola Park
  2. Closing Day at Coca Cola Park
  3. Plenty of Weekend games
  4. No home stand longer than 8 games
  5. A nice, busy June
  6. 12 games in 14 days at the end of July/beginning of August
  7. Plenty of April Games
  8. Shorter road trips for the players
  9. Fewer 2-game sets–Mr. Brundage should approve.
  10. A couple good candidates for vacation weeks in August, and one in July–for the fans.
  11. 222 game at Coca Cola Park April 7.
  12. With all 1:35 games on Sundays, plenty of chance to continue the post-game tailgate tradition–and plenty of chance to get over to the SteelHawks games if they’re smart and go for evening kickoff on Sundays when the ‘Pigs are home.
  13. Not listing the playoffs on the schedule is probably a good idea.  We’ll figure that out later….
  14. The late start to the season should ease conflicts with SteelHawks (somewhat) and Phantoms, and the late end to the season should flow into pre-season hockey quite nicely.

THE BAD

  1. Season doesn’t start until April 9!  We’re going to be champing at the bit, I’m telling you.
  2. With the season extending to a late Labor Day, September 7–could be a week without the best players as they could be called up September 1.
  3. New, uneven schedule has 18 games with Scranton–10 in Moosic, 8 in Allentown!
  4. Fewer games with Western and Southern opponents–some only in town for 3 days instead of 4.
  5. The busy April is good for baseball fans like myself, but tough on the attendance race.
  6. No 5:35 games on Sundays in the summer.

THE UGLY

  1. Only 8 games in August!  Unbalanced!
  2. The RailRiders get home field advantage in the race for the IronRail!

But, I’ll be there,

@Kram209

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Swuuunngg On and there it gooooeessss – “Fronconstein” FTW – ‘Pigs Fly

Haven’t posted one of these in a while – hasn’t been one to post in a while…

BUT

as a follow-up to the Cheryl/Kram/Jr. walk-off prediction and the come-from-behind (walk-off error) victory by Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons in the Williamsport LLWS here is the Voice of the IronPigs Matt Provence with a classic, emphatic walk-off homerun call courtesy of “Young Fronconstein” (TM M. Provence).

If you witness enough baseball at Lehigh Valley’s Coca-Cola Park, you know by the sound of the bat when a ball is jacked and Maikel (don’t call him Michael) Franco’s shot to left field was certainly a ‘no-doubter’!

Before we get to the Voice one final tidbit.

Phillippe Aumont with the win!

YES – that’s what it says!

Aumont pitched 2 PERFECT, stellar innings with 3 K’s and ZERO free passes.

Hold on a sec though – he threw 17 pitches – 15 of ‘em for strikes!

YES – that’s what it says!

So we’ll take Phillippe’s best outings of his recently improving year and transition to one of the best Provence calls – ever!

Walk-Off Dishing

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“I Called It” The Story of a Walk-Off

Except I didn’t.

Franco, following the obligatory pie in the face.  Photo courtesy @AngelsforMark

Franco, following the obligatory pie in the face. Photo courtesy @AngelsforMark

But let me step back a minute.

Junior calls all kinds of stuff.  He called a walk-off last night when we were down 5-0.  He’ll call anything, knowing that eventually he’ll be right in some kind of way.  Tonight, he called “three straight strike outs–because we’re horrible.”  I figured it would be something more crazy–like a line-drive double play to get Spears off second.

But you know, walk-offs are among my favorite things to see at the park.  A no-hitter?  A perfect game?  Never saw them.  Not yet.  A cycle?  I remember Michael Taylor’s night like it was yesterday.  And walk-offs?  Love ‘em.  Hanzawa had one earlier this year.  Castro’s had a few over the past two years.  Franco had one before, on a single to right. The home run variety are the best.  I’ve seen them from Blanco and Castro over the past couple years.

I thought about calling for the HR with Galvis at the plate.  It would tie the game and energize the crowd.  It would probably knock the closer out of the game.  But I just didn’t feel it…

However, with one run in (Galvis singled to right, scoring Spears) and Franco strolling to the plate, I felt it.  I turned to Junior and said, “I’m calling it.  Walk-off home run.”

He replied, “Baahh.”

But Franco was having a good at-bat by now.  He stayed away from some garbage pitches and crushed a foul pull-side.  The four adults in front of me were still enjoying their 32-oz beers and chatting about who-knows-what.  One of the women in the group answered her cell phone–which she had stored in her cleavage.

I’m not kidding.

I wondered if they knew what was coming.  A nice crowd was still on hand for an early-evening Sunday game.  The Kiddos got duffel bags.  A buddy had the IronPigs Suite.  (BTW, they should do more 5:35 games in the summer.  And, the IronPigs Suite has been re-done:  nice hardwood floors and brick wall facing.  Classy.  But I digress.)

The long drive off Maikel Franco’s bat wasn’t a surprise to me.  I knew it was coming.  Heck, I called it.  But, I did worry that it might hang up too long and get caught at the warning track in Left Field–where all manner of bad things have happened this season (injuries, phantom balls, etc.).

But it didn’t.  It went into the bull-pens, and the place erupted.  As it should.  Congratulations and high-fives all around.  Junior screaming, “YOU CALLED IT!”  I looked up, and Franco was only at second!  Powder-blue jerseys flooded the field.  How many players do we have?  25?  Seemed like 50 of them on the field waiting for Franco.  And I called it.

Except.

I didn’t.

Not first.

A whole inning earlier I received the following text from Cheryl Pursell:

“I left..  There will be a walk off now.  Let’s hope.”

Yup.

Cheryl called it.

 

See you at the park,

@Kram209

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Winding Down: Podcast, Roster and IronRail

We're "This Close" to contending... Photo: Cheryl Pursell

We’re “This Close” to contending…
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

While things are winding down over at Coca Cola Park, I’m still paying attention.  Here are some things you should know about as the 2014 season comes to a close:

  1. ICYMI, I had the opportunity to be a guest on the APhilliated Podcast, hosted by IronPigs Radio Producer Mark Perlman-Price.  It came out good, I think, and he certainly has access to better recording equipment.  You can listen to it here if you like.
  2. Tony Gwynn, Jr. is with the IronPigs now.  He’s starting in CF again tonight.  He’s a lot of fun to watch, and leading off this evening.  He’s hitting .474 for the ‘Pigs so far–over only a short time, I know–but worth catching.
  3. If you’re a season ticket holder, don’t forget to renew your seats or at least collect on your renewal award:  Some “loaded value” is available for the last home stand starting next weekend, but you have to ask for it.  Contact your ticket rep!
  4. I know it’s way too early to start thinking about next season, but that never stopped me before.  Of course, some free agent signings will impact the opening day roster.  But here I go anyway.  Here are some names to remember for 2015–even if they don’t start the season in Allentown:  Pitchers:  Adam Morgan, Jon Pettibone, Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle, Severino Gonzalez, Hoby Milner, Nefi Ogando, Adam Loewen.  Catchers Tommy Joseph and Sebastian Valle.  INF Carlos Alonso, Brock Stassi, KC Serna, JP Crawford.  OF: Cameron Perkins, Aaron Altherr, Kelly Dugan.  Player/Coach Jake Fox.
  5. IronRail:  There are four games remaining with Scranton–two here and two up north.  The ‘Pigs lead the season series 8-4.  The evil RailRiders must win all four games to retain the coveted IronRail trophy via the totally arbitrary tiebreaker.  It’s our only chance to take home some hardware for this season, so…

See you at the park,

@Kram209

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Farewell, Clete

In today’s transactions, Clete Thomas was released by the Phillies organization as they activated pitcher BJ Rosenberg.  Clete hadn’t been getting much playing time lately, as the Phillies continue to evaluate Leandro Castro and Tyler Henson as potential call-up candidates, and young Cameron Perkins gains experience.  Now, with the addition of Tony Gwynn, Jr., Clete becomes the roster casualty.  Here’s hoping he can hook on somewhere with the possibility of a September call-up as a defensive, base-stealing OF.

Alas, I feel like we got cheated out of as much Clete as we could have had–I bet he does, too!  As the season began, this year, Clete was our most productive and consistent player and was leading-off games quite reliably.  He had always played well against us in the past, and I saw a little “Richie Thompson” in him:  He was a rangy lefty, leading off, stealing bases and playing excellent defense in CF.  I know, Clete has more MLB service time, but as a Coca Cola Park regular, Richie’s who he reminded me of.  It was just that aggressive play which resulted in his injury in left field.  “Thanks for diving into the wall for making that catch, Clete.  Here’s your two broken ribs.  Also, get out there and hit one more time.”

Well, that’s not how it went–but it’s how it ended up.  By the way, I think maybe the IronPigs need to take a look at the left field wall and corner after all the injuries and ball-mishaps of this season.  That could be a nice off-season project for them.

But I digress.  A thank you to Clete, today, for his hard play and effort.  And, well-wishes as he continues on from here.  Hopefully he doesn’t come back to haunt us in future seasons.

Here are some Cheryl Pursell photos from the “library:”

See you at the park,

@Kram209

Clete Thomas taking one for the team. - Cheryl Pursell

Clete Thomas taking one for the team. – Cheryl Pursell

Clete Thomas  Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Clete Thomas
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Clete Thomas celebrating his HR. - Cheryl Pursell

Clete Thomas celebrating his HR. – Cheryl Pursell

Clete Thomas' Lead off Homer! - Cheryl Pursell

Clete Thomas’ Lead off Homer! – Cheryl Pursell

Clete Thomas - Cheryl Pursell

Clete Thomas – Cheryl Pursell

  Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

From Spring Training:  @CherylPursell

From Spring Training: @CherylPursell

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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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