AKRON RUBBERDUCKS WEEK 14 (EL ALL STAR GAME) & LOCK 3
With the season at the half way point, the Eastern League will showcase it's best players in the All Star Game. One of the reasons I got the season tickets was because of the All Star game. This will make my first of any All Star week that I have attended. I'm excited to see the celebrity softball game, Homerun derby (two Ducks in the showcase) and of course the All Star game itself. Friday night concert in Lock 3 was Aerosmith tribute band Aeroforce.12 Jul
The EL All Star celebration kicked off with the celebrity softball game. Both teams had former Indians and local celebrities. Team (Carlos) Baerga vs Team (Dave)Wallace at first it looked like team Baerga was going to make it a laugher after posting a 10 run top of the 3rd inning. But, team Wallace answered with a two out 8 run rally in the bottom of the 3rd inning. In the end Team Baerga won 18 - 17.
The night was not over, as the top EL homerun hitters had their chance to show off their power in the Homerun Derby. There were two Duck players in the showcase, Bradley Zimmer and Nellie Rodriguez. In the first round I sat in my seat and watched on onslaght of power by the eight players. After the first round it looked like the two Ducks players made it to the second round, but after further review Zimmer had 7 HR and Rodriguez had 8 HR. Zimmer was out and Rodriguez was the last Duck to represent the local fan favorite. In the Second round I mover the the Homerun porch in left field. It was a made house. Hundreds of people (mostly kids and fathers) trying to catch the elusive homerun ball. Rodriguez tied for second and went on to the final round. With no chance at a ball I mover the the first base side and watch the final round. Rodriguez put on a power hitting clinic, but it was not enough as he finished second in the homerun derby. I usually don't stay for the firework show, but tonight I mad an exception. Lot of Ohio and local band music played to the fireworks.
I was driving to the stadium and I saw the Goodyear blimp as I drove into Hartville. When I got the the stadium the blimp arrived. I beat the blimp to the stadium? I guess the blimp got stuck in traffic.
I kind of thought that it would be crazy to try and get autographs during the All Star game, and it was. I could have gotten the VIP pass with my season ticket holder points, but there was no All Star team set and I did not have cards from every player. I thought it would be wasting my points so I did not do it, I was just a baseball fan. Former Indians manager Mike Hargrove threw out the first pitch to Carlos Baerga behind the plate.
Then, the EL All Star game was in full swing. There was even a flyover during the National Anthem. (Sorry no PIC) In the 5th inning after the third out all the kids where running down the stairs and leaning on the dugout asking for the player to throw them the ball and out of nowhere for the corner of my eye I see a ball thrown from the dugout by a different player, I grabbed it. My First game used All Star baseball. I don't know what player did it, but I will never forget it. The game was lopsided as the Eastern Division powered there way to 10-2 victory while pounding out 20 hits to the Western Division only collecting 5 hits.
The kick off to the second half of the season where the Ducks host the Erie SeaWolves for a four game series.Akron current 1.5 back in the division needs to start out of the gates strong and but a winning streak together.
Game one: I got to the stadium at 5:00pm to watch BP and hope for an All Star ball. No All Star ball, but did get four balls. Three were practice balls and got my first 2016 AZ spring training ball. Good thing I got a game used All Star Ball during the game, the team shop was selling them for $12 a piece.
I was at the Ducks dugout close to the entrance to the clubhouse. I wanted to get the coaching staff autographs. When they come out they stay close to that side, however they did not come out today until the last second and did not have time to get them. I did get four autographs before the game.
After a long week where most of the team had a few days off Zimmer and Frazier both had the night off. I noticed the Eric Stamets was called up to Columbus. Good for him and I wish him luck, but I think he was the spark plug Ducks. Whenever he was in the lineup the team did good. Now that Stamets is gone, Zimmer and Frazier has the night off it doesn't look good for the home team. Erie jumped on the board 4-0 by the second inning and added one more in the 7th. Nellie Rodriguez hit a solo homer in the 8th, but by then it was to late. Duck lost 5-3.
In the 8th inning the sun was setting and the sky was pink and purple. I moved to the first base side to get some good pictures.
After I took the picture I gave away three BP baseballs and wouldn't you know I got a foul ball off the bat of Akron's Jordan Smith.
Game two: I arrived early again for BP. I Called out Erie's Cal Drummond and later Tommy Collier and both of them threw me up a ball. To my surprise both balls were 2016 AZ Spring Training Balls. I would get three more balls at BP. Before the game I got eight Ducks autographs. During the game I called out Jeremy Lucas name as he was returning to the dugout after the third out and threw me the ball, but some old guy sitting next to me jumped out of his seat and snagged it from me. I let him have it, then I showed him the five I got a BP.
Michael Brantley rehab assignment with his second stent on the DL was in Ducks lineup.
He looked good in the field chasing down ball. With his bat he could not get a hit going 0-4. The Ducks won 2-0. On my way out of the stadium I gave three of the baseball away to kids.
I arrived at Lock 3 to see the last three songs of the first set of Aeroforce. The Second set was all early 70's songs. What a night of good old Rock n' Roll. At the end the guiterest threw out his pick and I chased it down. Then some lady came out of nowhere and jumped on me trying to take the pick away from me. I told her I would give it to her. She did not believe me and would not get off of me. Then, she said she would give me $5 for it. I still told I would give it to her. When we stood up I gave her the pick for free. She jumped on my and would not stop hugging me. It's only a tribute band with a common pick nothing special. Then her friend came over and started to hug me too.
Next Friday is Nightrain a Guns n' Roses tribute band. I have already talked Hiromi into coming with me. GnR is a special band in our relationship. The night before I went to see them live in Tokyo was the night I meet Hiromi. If I would have not gone to see GnR in concert we would have never meet. I'm hoping to post about this night next week... stay tune.
Game three: Newly enforce stadium rule NO early entrance to Saturday games, So I showed up at first pitch. It was a good pitcher dual lasting just over 2 hours. One bad pitch by Duck pitcher in the fourth that was hit for a homerun was the only scoring in the game. Ducks lost 1-0. The game was over and the sun did not even set yet, not good for a fireworks night. I did not stay for the fireworks so don't know if they still had it after the game or did they wait for the sky to get dark.
Game four: The final game of this home stand to see if we can split the series or do we start the second half of the season with a losing record? I arrived early for BP, there was not BP this Sunday. I did get to see the Ducks pitchers workout and got 8 autographs. I also got to walk the outfield pre-game to play catch, but I did not have anyone so I walked around taking pictures. I got a close up of a ball that got stuck in the outfield wall during the Homerun derby. The I took one of me making a catch at the wall and the with the Areos/Ducks Eastern League Championships
Michael Brantley was back in the lineup. His bat was nowhere to be found as he went 0-3. I got a game used foul ball toss up by Akron's JD Brown (pitcher), Ducks lost 8-5.
After a great start to the season, then a drop off at the end was the only thing keeping Akron alive. After the first week of the second half of the season the Ducks are 51-44, fall into third place and out of the playoff berth. Next week on the road for seven games, where will Akron stand in the playoff berth when they return?
Week 14 Haul
Games: 1 day 3 night 0 doubleheader Home record: 1-3
Akron's total: 38 games, 133 balls (56 give-a-way), 131 autographs, 2 bat, 9 SGA,
Games: 9 day 29 night 1 doubleheader Home record: 25-13
2016 baseball season total: 55 games, 165 balls (61 give-a-way), 216 autographs, 9 bats