Category Archives: Lehigh Valley IronPigs

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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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,

@Kram209

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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…

Yawn.

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

Farewell, Steve Susdorf

We’ve been here before.  But, this one’s a bit different.

Steve Susdorf is a professional hitter. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Steve Susdorf is a professional hitter.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

“It can happen to you
It can happen to me
It can happen to everyone eventually

As you happen to say
It can happen today
As it happens
It happens in every way”

     –Yes
————

Part of our “mission” around here is to help folks get to know the players better.  “It’s more fun when you know who you’re cheering for” is part of my mantra.  But, in the world of Minor League sports, it means a lot of saying “hello” and a lot of saying “good-bye.”  And this one is a bit different.

In the short history of the IronPigs, since 2008, we’ve said good-byes to our favorite players before.  We said good-bye to Andy Tracy and Josh Fields at the end of seasons–when we knew change was coming and that rosters would inevitably turn over.  We said good-bye to Richie Thompson in the middle of the season, but with the consolation that he was getting the call to the Majors and realizing a goal that he’d been working toward for years.  We said good-bye to Jermaine Mitchell in the middle of the season, but we hadn’t known him for very long.

Now, we say good-bye to Steve Susdorf.  He’s been a member of the IronPigs family for the past three years, and one of the most consistent performers on the field.  He got the opportunity to play for the Phillies for a few games last season.  He has a .299 batting average, lifetime, in the Minor Leagues.  He had the best average of any IronPig this season, with over 150 at-bats.  And, ….

Well, there are baseball reasons.  And we’ll miss his production on the field and his contribution to the team. And we understand that sometimes this is about the Phillies and not about the IronPigs.  But this one is different because of the guy, too.  I think:  Steve has an appreciation for people that goes far beyond baseball.  Whether you’re a billion-dollar first baseman on rehab, or a schmuck who goes to too many IronPigs games, or a regular fan, or a Pastor or a parishioner, or a refugee–it doesn’t matter…. Steve has time for you.

A recent story:  Cheryl and I were recording some video pieces recently, before a home game.  I had wandered across the dugout to say hello to IronPigs radio producer Mark Perlman-Price.  As we concluded, and I stepped away, Steve appeared and said hello before I had an opportunity to say anything.  He easily could have waited for me to say something or for me to approach him.  He could have darted by and gone about his work.  After all, I was in his workplace, and it wasn’t an appropriate time for an interview or socializing.  But, he had time….

He had time, too, at a recent Saturday night Tiki/Trough party, to stop and say hello to DiPro, and Junior and myself.  He was with his wife Kelsey, and there were other players and wives and girlfriends around, but he seemed just as comfortable saying hello to us and spending a moment.

If you like, go back through our archives and re-watch the interviews and the “Day of DiPro” and all of that.  Or, better yet, click on this link to read more about Steve’s work in Haiti in the offseason:

http://bydavidwhite.com/2014/03/26/steve-susdorfs-true-mission-accomplished/

Here are some pictures from our archives.  We wish Steve well, of course, and we know he can hit.  He could land with an MLB team or an Independent team–but we know he’ll hit.  We also know he’ll touch lives wherever he lands on life’s journey.  His faith will guide him and everything will be OK.  I think Steve’s mission on this planet goes far beyond baseball, and the Horn and Bell Blog wishes him well and supports him in his life’s work, wherever that road may lead, baseball and beyond.  And if I’m not mistaken, there’s another auction scheduled for August 2, to benefit the Church in Haiti.  I hope that the IronPigs will continue with the auction as planned. I know we’ll be happy to support it.

susdorf

photo: Cheryl Pursell

Steve Susdorf:  "All he does is hit..." (c) Cheryl Pursell

Steve Susdorf: “All he does is hit…”
(c) Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Susdorf Photo: DiPro

Susdorf
Photo: DiPro

@Kram209

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

YCPB – I Had It All Figured Out

YCPB

I saw the acronym written the other day, and I had to look it up.  But more on that later…

I thought I had things figured out.  As Grady Sizemore came to the plate Wednesday night to lead off the game, sporting a near-.300 average but having hit only singles, I explained it to Junior:  “See, son, he’s getting himself ready for the Majors.  He wants to see lots of pitches, and it’s getting him behind in counts, so he has to shorten his swing.”

Grady goes to 0-2, having looked at the first two pitches.

“See, son, now he’ll have to…”

YCPB = You Can’t Predict Baseball

Or, maybe I’m just wrong. But Grady put the 0-2 pitch in the trough and so it went. I tried to explain how lefties were going to hit Jason Marquis hard, but Junior was hearing none of it. Neither was Jason, as the 1-0 lead held up until another adventurous Ethan Martin outing later in the game.  “Mr. Clutch” Leandro Castro hit an infield single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth for the walk-off.  It’s just about my favorite thing about going to the park every night–the chance to see the walk-off.

Here are some Cheryl Pursell photos from Wednesday–Thursday was rained out–and stay tuned afterwards for some quick updates:

Sizemore turns on an inside pitch for an 0-2 lead-off HR Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Sizemore turns on an inside pitch for an 0-2 lead-off HR
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

More Sizemore.  Could be the last time we'll see him at The Coke. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

More Sizemore. Could be the last time we’ll see him at The Coke.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Lars Davis with his first AAA base knock.   Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Lars Davis with his first AAA base knock.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Could be the last time for Marquis, as well.  A nice job, but one has to wonder how it will translate to the next level. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Could be the last time for Marquis, as well. A nice job, but one has to wonder how it will translate to the next level.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Marquis benefited from some really nice defense:  A perfect 5-4-3 started by a Franco dive.  A Murphy dive which could have been a double.  And, this 6-4-3 featuring the bare-handed exchange by Tyler Henson. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Marquis benefited from some really nice defense: A perfect 5-4-3 started by a Franco dive. A Murphy dive which could have been a double. And, this 6-4-3 featuring the bare-handed exchange by Tyler Henson.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Knigge continues to impress. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Knigge continues to impress.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Ethan continues to struggle. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Ethan continues to struggle.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Big Tyler Henson Knock in the 10th Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Big Tyler Henson Knock in the 10th
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Sizemore not "big-leagueing" us--putting it all out there in the field. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Sizemore not “big-leagueing” us–putting it all out there in the field.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Franco with a 4-4 day:  It was all singles, but he's seeing the good pitches and getting good contact. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Franco with a 4-4 day: It was all singles, but he’s seeing the good pitches and getting good contact.
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

"3-2-1 Castr-OFF!" (c) PigsRadio Photo: Cheryl Pursell

“3-2-1 Castr-OFF!”
(c) PigsRadio
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

The mob searches out Castro for walk-off celebraish Photo: Cheryl Pursell

The mob searches out Castro for walk-off celebraish
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

And they got him... Photo: Cheryl Pursell

And they got him…
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

The ‘Pigs are beginning a 10-day road trip to Rochester, Indianapolis and Louisville–and then head right into the All Star Break.  Only Luis Garcia is going from the ‘Pigs.  It will be two weeks until we see them again, for a quick two-game set versus Syracuse on July 17 and 18.

A full report on our game in Moosic is forthcoming.  I loaded all of Cheryl’s photos and now only need to tell the story.  It was a great time, had by all. Well, except a guy named Rob.  We’ll get to that.

Following the Moosic game report will be an epilogue–a report on the money we raised for Choroideremia research.

Now, back to the IronPigs game on my phone:  The ‘Pigs are in the process of gacking up a 6-2 lead via questionable pitching by Hector Neris.  It appears he was left in too long, and Phillippe Aumont has been brought in to put out the fire.  So I’m trying to say we’re losing 8 to 6 right now.

Have a great 4th everyone, see you at the park eventually,

@Kram209

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Today’s The Day: Join Us to #InvadeMoosic –Support #IronPigs and @AngelsForMark and @ChoroideremiaRF

shirtfront_draft

Tickets and alternate T-Shirts remain for our trip to Moosic today.  Please consider joining us even if you haven’t already.  Just drive up there and find us.  T-Shirts and Tickets to benefit Choroideremia.org (100% of what we collect!)

 

Directions:  Set your GPS for:  235 Montage Mountain Road, Moosic PA.  Or, type that in to Google Maps before you go.  Figure on 1hr, 20mins travel time.

 

Tailgate:  Lots open at 5PM, although we may begin a bit early.  Tailgating is at the direction of the parking staff, but my experience is this:  There is one main access road to the stadium and parking.  I believe we’ll be to the left, and again to the left.  In any case, look for the flags.  Email: KramOf209@gmail.com or Twitter @Kram209 if needed.  Tailgate will break up around 6:30 or so to make our way to the stadium.

 

Soccer:  Word is, there’s a soccer game.  We’ll have it on the radio during the tailgate if possible.

 

Menu: Hamburgers and Hot Dogs.  Sodas and Water.

 

What to Bring:  Bring your shirt if you already have it. Bring your ticket if you have it.  Bring your bells and horns.  Bring your preferred soda or water if needed for the tailgate.  Bring a folding chair for the tailgate, if you need one.

 

See you in Moosic,

@Kram209

PS:  Pigs won 9-7 last night.  IronRail stands at 7-4 Pigs.

 

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