Wednesday, April 27, 2016



Week 3
18-20 Apr

Binghamton Mets arrive for a three game series, before the RubberDucks head back out on the road for seven game in eight day road trip.

Game one: Once again I was there for Mets BP and on the third foul ball I hit another ballhawk milestone with my career 200th ball off the bat of Mikis De La Cruz. I finished the day with five balls and gave one away to a little girl (with her father) stand on the fence looking into the stadium watching BP. Being a season ticket holder I get the chance to get BP balls, while the kids watching outside the stadium do not. My goal is to give away 100 baseballs this season.

The RubberDucks had two MLB players back in the lineup for their rehab games. I moved from my normal location along the third base foul line to beside the clubhouse & dugout entrance and was able to get Michael Brantley to sign my SI cover, Lonnie Chisnhall to sign a MLB baseball and Indians number one prospect Bradley Zimmer on two cards.

There was one broken bat from a Mets player. After the game I asked him for the bat, but he already gave it to the bat boy... So close! The RubberDucks won 4-1.

Game two: Another double digit day of 15 baseball at BP. With a small crowd on a cool nigh it was hard to find kids to give away baseballs, but I did find 8 kids who where happy to take the baseballs from me (with their parents permission first). For the attraction of the night was an Alpaca in the left field course.

Chisenhall was back in the lineup playing CF for the second straight day. There was only 3 people seeking autographs so I went down and got Lonnie one more time on a MLB baseball and Indians number two prospect Clint Frazier on two cards. I think I will take a break from getting RubberDucks autographs for a while as the players start to see me everyday, they might stop signing for me. However, I will try to get any MLB player on rehab as they will not be in Akron for long. I don't have cards of any Mets players, but I do for next week when Altoona Curve arrive. I will try and get the visiting team for a few games then back to the Ducks. The RubberDucks won 7-2.

Game three: Did not make it to BP, just a regular fan tonight. Chisenhall no longer on rehab as he got called to the major today. Brantley remains in Akron and was in the starting lineup tonight. The first 5 inning took only an hour, but the next 5 inning (extra inning game) took two hours. In the ninth inning with the bases loaded, two out and full count Clint Frazier was at bat he striked out swinging and then broke his bat over his knee. Bottom of the Tenth inning was highlighted with Bryon Myles walk-off sac fly to left for a Ducks 3-2 win.

The RubberDucks sweep the series 3-0. Now with a  10-3 record first in the their division and holds a 3.5 game lead. 

Week 3 haul

Week's total: 3 games, 20 balls (9 give-a-way), 7 autographs
Games: 0 day  3 night  0 doubleheader   Home record: 3-0

Akron's total: 7 games, 53 balls (17 give-a-way), 26 autographs, 2 SGA Give-a-way $ ($2.00)
Games: 2 day  5 night  0 doubleheader   Home record: 5-2

2016 baseball season total: 21 games, 93 balls (23 give-a-way), 102 autographs, 7 bats

Altoona Curve for three game weekend series. 

Friday, April 22, 2016



After spending the last two summers crisscrossing America attending baseball games, we are going to spend this summer in my home town.  It always feel good when I have the chance to return home. Since we are staying in one spot all summer I wanted to live out another dream of mine as a season ticket holder of a baseball team. Besides, Hiromi will need "her time" and "my time" will be spent at the ballpark. Only a half hour away from our campground is the city of Akron and the Akron Rubberducks. The Rubberducks are the AA affiliate of the the Cleveland Indians. Their roster this year is stacked with first round draft picks and prospects. Located 30 minutes (or so) from Cleveland, major leaguers on rehab assignment will head to Akron, perfect chance to get Major Leaguers autographs. As a season ticket holder I get to enter the gates two hours before first pitch where I can see batting practice and players before the gates open to non season ticket holders (the stadium all to myself for batting practice balls... look out!), my name on the back of my seat, head of line at concision stands and I get to throw out first pitch before a home game. Akron will host the AA All Star game with the Home Run Derby, both tickets are covered in the package. If the team makes the playoffs those ticket are free too. With their roster it looks to be a fun and wild season. 

Throughout the season I will highlight the week at the ballpark with games attended, baseball caught, autographs, stadium-give-away and promotion items. I know there are going to be games I will not be able to attend, but as a season ticket holder I can hold that ticket and use it to bring someone with me to another game. No ticket goes wasted. More than likely it will be Hiromi for firework nights and/or bobblehead give-a-way games (can't save the tickets for All Star week or playoffs).

(Picture from 2015 season)

Week 1

Akron started the 2016 season on the road and don't return for their home opener until week 2 of the season.

Weekend series are Thursday or Friday - Sunday, to keep the games series in one post my stats for the week will run Monday - Sunday.

Week's total: 0 games, 0 balls (0 give-a-way), 0 autographs, 0 bats
Games: 0 day  0 night  0 doubleheader   Home record: 0-0

Akron's total: 0 games, 0 balls (0 give-a-way), 0 autographs, 0 bats
Games: 0 day  0 night  0 doubleheader   Home record: 0-0

2016 baseball season total: 14 games, 40 balls (6 give-a-way), 76 autographs, 7 bats

14-17 Apr
Week 2

All winter since I got the season tickets I was thinking that the first week or so there will be a lot of season ticket holder arriving early for BP.... I was wrong, I was the only one there.

 It will take a few games to see where the best place to stand to get balls. Is it in the right field bleachers for BP homeruns, along the first or third base foul line to get toss ups and BP foul balls or will it be around the dugouts? Do I get autographs at BP or after the gates open? Trail and error until I find out what will work best for me.

My seat for the next 71 home games.

For the 2016 season home opener the Rubberducks hosted the 2015 defending AA Champions Bowie Baysox (Orioles) for a four games weekend series.

Last week these two teams faced off to open the season in Bowie and Akron sweep the 3 game series (one game postponed due to weather).

Game one had Michael Brantley on rehab assignment, but did not sign for many fan. With the Home Opener celebrations not many players signed either. I did get two autographs, but I still have 70 more games to get more autographs. During the Bowie BP I got 8 balls. Stadium give-a-way (SGA) was 2016 poster schedule. RubberDucks won 3-2.

Game two had Lonnie Chisenhall on rehab assignment, this major leaguer made time before the game to sign for fans. I got 8 baseball during Bowie BP and gave 3 of them away to kids as they entered the gates. I got five RubberDuck autographs. I found a hot dog wrapper on the ground and inside the wrapper was a stadium instance winner slip of $2. I took the slip to customer service and they gave me a two dollar bill. Rubberducks won 8-5.

Game three I arrived two hours early and the game was already started.. did they change the start time? No, there was a high school game so I got to see the last three inning before the minor league game started. Because of the high school game there was no BP. so I did not get any baseball. I got 9 autographs, but just like in spring training in Arizona Brantley passed me and did not sign for me ( I have video on my GoPro to prove it now). Today's SGA was RubberDuck soccer scarf. Brantley and Chisenhall where both in the starting lineup. Even though the RubberDucks had two MLB players in the lineup and the defense causing six errors the Rubberducks lost 14-5. No more high school game before a home game... got to have BP and fielding practice it showed today how important practice is.

Game four and final of the series. There was no traffic so I arrived half hour before I could even get in. Instead of make a line and waiting, I walk along the canal outside the stadium in left field. There was 7 balls just sitting along the fence line. I then went into the park for Bowie BP and got 10 more baseball. My NEW one game total 17 baseball in one game (shattering my old record of 8 in 2015 in Mobile, AL and 2016 in Akron the first two games of this year).

New single game record ... 17 baseballs

I gave 5 of them away to kids as they entered the stadium. I got 3 RubberDucks autographs before the game started. With the RubberDucks pitching giving up 9 walks a three hit batters while the starter only going 2/3 innings and giving up four run not many teams could come back from that, but they sure tried losing 9-5.

The RubberDucks split the series 2-2 with an overall record of 7-3. They remain in first place in their division with a 2.5 game lead.

Here is this weeks haul

Week's total: 4 games, 33 balls (8 give-a-way), 19 autographs, 2 SGA Give-a-way $ ($2.00)
Games: 2 day  2 night  0 doubleheader   Home record: 2-2

Akron's total: 4 games, 33 balls (8 give-a-way), 19 autographs, 2 SGA Give-a-way $ ($2.00)
Games: 2 day  2 night  0 doubleheader   Home record: 2-2

2016 baseball season total: 18 games, 73 balls (14 give-a-way), 95 autographs, 7 bats

Next Week
Binghamton Mets come in for a three game series.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016



We started on our way to West Virginia to stop by a few National Parks before heading to Ohio. However, when we started to see snow we started talking. Within a few minutes we got off I-77 N, made a U turn to warmer weather and headed  on I-77 S. We stopped in a small family own campground in Hiddenite, NC for a few day until the weather cleared to return north in the middle of next week.

At Hiddenite Family campground there are animals everywhere ponies, rabbits, goats and pigs. If you want to get away from it all Hiddenite campground is the place to be. Quite valley area with a flowing stream. We did not even have to unhook the car... just peaceful.

It was time to leave with lite rain in North Carolina. By the time we got to Virginia we had open roads and sunshine. We had to spend one night at the rest stop in Paradise City, OH. Next day... Home Sweet Home!

Summer in my hometown. Family, friends and lots of good times ahead.

Sunday, April 17, 2016



We stayed at Langley AFB FAMCAMP about an hour drive to Richmond. We saw the Virginia Capitol Building and three National Park in one day. On our way out of Virginia we make a stop to see  The Cleveland Indians High A minor league affiliate Lynchburg Hillcats.  

State Capitol 

First stop was the Capitol Building. The dome is small and can't be seen from the street level. The entrance is unique then an other Capitol Building we have been. The entrance is from the street  where you walk underground until you reach the inside of the building. When the Capitol Building had remodel work done, there was rotten wood and water leaking behind the walls. This gave them the two year remodeling to place the underground entrance.  

3 National Parks

Next, we headed to Maggie L Walker, born in 1864 this African-American was born free. At an earl age she found her place in the church St Luck. She would go on to graduate high school, further her education at night after work all day. She was the key to the success of the community where she started black business in town next to successful white businesses. She would go on the be the first African-American woman to be president of a bank. Other while known African-American like Booker T Washington would visit  Maggie in her home. In her latter years, she was confined to  wheelchair, but that did not stop her. She had wheels placed on her living room chair so when other saw her at home she did not look like someone who could not walk, but someone who was still work hard for the community.

After a quick lunch break we were only a few block from the Chimborazo Medical Museum, We wanted to see the Richmond National Battlefield, but that is located in a different area. Chimborazo is part of the Richmond NBP so it was still good.  Wounded soldiers would stay here to recover. The wounded was separated in hospital tent by the state they were born. If the soldiers made it to Chimborazo after miles of traveling in house back wagons they had a 98% chance of recover from their wounds or amputations.  

The last National Park for the day was close to our campground at Colonial Parkway. There is a 23 miles driving path to several battle sites along the bypass to Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown. If you see one open battlefield they all start to look the same open fields. However, the Yorktown National Park visitor center has a battlefield next to the building and is the location where the French along with the American forces fought to won the battle over the British.


Arrived at Calvin Falwell Field two and a half hours before the gates opened. Good thing we did because when we arrived we went to the top level of the parking lot that was one way. I had to ask the worker in the ticket window to help me move the parking barrier gates so I could turn into the lower level of the parking lot. I missed the turn when we pulled in to go down to the lower level. They had us park on the far side of the parking lot on a hill. I had to use my tier block just to be safe that the RV did not roll down the hill.

There is a $2 discount of tickets with a military ID. Calvin Falwell Field marks my 60th different baseball stadium I have been to, to see a game.

I was hoping to see BP, but the weather must have been to cold. The team did not have BP on the field, they must have had BP inside the cage. I did find a ball while walking to the gates. I was able to get 10 autographs before and after the game. The Hillcats Anthony Santanders shattered his bat in three pieces during the game. After the game I asked him for the bat and he pulled it out of the dugout trashcan to give to me on his way to the clubhouse. The name on the bat was Francisco Mejia. He is currently the Cleveland Indians number ten minor league prospect. Now I got to get him to sign the bat. If I don't see him this season (currently plays for Lake County Captains in OH), definitely in Arizona spring training 2017.

It has been hard for me to get autographs and take pictures at the same time. So I got a GoPro chest strap so I could record getting autographs. The video turned out pretty good for the first time using it. I'm hopping to get enough video to make a really good baseball Youtube video someday. FYI, Lynchburg Hillcats (Indians) won 5-4 over Winston-Salem Dash (White Sox).


West Virginia, but saw snow and made a U Turn.

Friday, April 15, 2016



Stayed at Weston Lake Recreation Area on Fort Jackson just 30 minutes to Columbia, SC. Visited our first city named after a number, the world largest fire hydrant and when we are in the State Capitol why not stop and see the Capitol Building.

Ninety Six NHS

No one knows for sure how the town got it's name, but it's believed that the town was 96 miles away to Cherokke settlement. The British Forces occupied this area. The Patriots saw it as a weak point and attacked. However, with the fort in a diamond shape had all angles covered for attack. The patriots dug trenches over the open lower grounds. In the dark of the night the Patriots placed a 30' tower in front of the diamond fort to shot down into the fort. The British placed sand bag higher for protection. This was the longest siege battle in the war (if I remember right 28 days long). In the end the Patriots received to many casualties and retreated and the British won. But, because British reinforcement was so far away the British burn the village along with the fort and returned to Charleston.
   Standing in the foot step of the Patriots

 Reconstruction of the tower (Not 30')

Capitol Building

We had street parking just half a block for the Capitol Building.  Most of the other Capitol Buildings are open floor in the center on the building, not South Carolina. It's is furnished like a high end hotel lobby right in the center of the dome.

Worlds Largest Fire Hydrant

Just a few blocks from the Capitol Building on our way back to Fort Jackson is the Worlds Largest Fire Hydrant. Not much to say here, the picture says it all.

Weston Lake Recreation Area on Fort Jackson
 What a view! Early morning as the sun was coming up warming the lake water to get the mist floating on top of the lake.
 Not sure what in the water in SC to make this pine cone soooo big.
 Collecting fire wood for dinner on the open flames.
 Cast iron pizza and cherry pie for dinner.

Virginia here we come!