Part Two of our blog series leading up to the Holiday Bazaar on Saturday is here and with it comes a full list of vendors who will be participating in this year’s Bazaar. The event, which is FREE to attend, runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday over here at PNG Field.
As of today the following is a list of vendors scheduled to appear at this year’s Holiday Bazaar and what they’ll be selling. There are no more vendor spots available for this year’s Bazaar.
2013 Holiday Bazaar Vendor List
Tara Henry – Scentsy & lotions
Jeremy Garner – Sports Memorabilia
Vicki Pike – Lia Sophia Items
Sheran Springer – Crafts & Tupperware
Cassandra Schmick – Crocheted Scarves, Purses + more
Debbie Locke – Avon products + crafts
Bonnie Schuh – Magnetic Jewelry & Beads
Cathy Ford – Scentsy Items + Take Shape for Life
Brittany Gile – Premiere Jewelry and Bows
Debra Rea – Cookie Grams
Lisa Miller – Hand Painted Wooden Items, Tutus – Personalized
Terri Dillree – Wooden Clocks
Mary McCoy – Candy, Wreaths, cozies for kids
Sister Paula – Wedding Soup Sale
Altoona Railroaders Museum – Toys, Books & Glasses
Altoona Dance Theater – Nutcracker Tickets
Danielle & Jessica Seifer – Hand Knitted Items
Shannon Felix – Origami Owl – Tastefully Simple
Maryann Weimert – Spicy Mustard
Roberta Burns – Misc. Christmas Decor & knitted scarfs
Myla Faust – Baked Goods
Christy Richers – Christy’s Custom Candles
Heather Russell – Russell Art & Imagery – Jewelry
Bobbi McAllister – Advocare
Christina Billock – Country crafts & home decor
Anita Rowles – Naked Bee lotions, lip balm and soap
Chastity Kienzle – Gold Canyon Candles
Annette Noel – Uppercase Living (Crafts & personalized items)
Michele Beck – Origami Owl
Kathie Mulhullen – Candy, Fudge & Fleece
Craig Wesner – Carved Flowers, Baskets & Pottery
Deanna Adelsberger – Purses, Boots & Jackets
Annette Thompson – Avon products
Erin Carlin – Tupperware
Lindsay Gahagan – Baked Goods & Holiday Crafts for March of Dimes
Jordan Markel – It Works
Terri Kline – Tastefully Simple
Ashley Walters – Ashley’s Crafty Kitchen
Christine Schezzini – Poochey Chef (Dog Treats & items)
Ben Kinsinger – Glassware, Hunting & Fishing Tools
Brandi Hopkins – Handbags & Purses
Priscilla Hauer – Pampered Chef
Chad Boyer – The Boyer Agency
Cathy McKool – Handmade Blankets, Scarves, Magnets + more
Susi Jolley – Bedford County Wilderness Search Team
Stephanie Dorsey – Crafts
Mandy Price – Pink Zebra
Linda Strong – Yard Sale type items
Chris Eckenrod – Pampered Chef
Valley Gospel Church – Soup, Hot Dogs & Hot Chocolate
Elizabeth Thorell – Small Wood Crafts & Handmade Ornaments
Mike Hammer – Free Hot Dogs, Hot Chocolate (while supplies last)
Jenn Benn – Rag Wreaths
Charloette Kifer – Lia Sophia & Flower Arrangements/Crafts
Kristen Swan – Sabika Austrian Crystal Jewelry
Rachel Stoehr – Rubberband Bracelets
Ruth Kephart – Handmade Woodcrafts and Sewing
Sherry Jesberger – Books
April Cramer – Girls Scouts (Baked Goods & Crafts)
Brooke McChessney – Brooke’s Beautiful Creations
Krila Townsend – KrilArt
Jen Hertzon – Autsim Speaks
James Straitiff – Turkey Jerky, Smoked Turkey Breasts & Wings
Talihia Rankin – Primitive Items, Furniture, Seasonal
Kim Parker – Hair Clips & Headbands
Lori Showalter – Food & Baked Goods
Frankstown SC – Popcorn, Cookies, Games w/Prizes
Monica Miller – Crochet Necklaces
Jake Sullivan – Patio Pals & Doll Baby Beds
Amy Rothrauff – Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Cinnamon Colony Chatman – It Works!
LaJune Rogers-Ransom – Stained Glass, Jewelry & more
Laura Walters – Beaded Bracelets
Donna High – Royal Beauty $5 Jewelry
Alicia Fisher – Country Woodcrafts
Ann Kimmel – Floral Arrangements, Earrings and more
James Gentile – Christmas Centerpieces
And if you’ve seen some of our other social media recently we also have an announcement about an All-Star Stop detail coming up later today. Here’s another sneak at what we’ll be announcing. Have fun guessing what it is!
After a short week in the office due to the unofficial best eating/feasting holiday there is, we’re back in the office and it’s a big week here in Curve, Pa. as we lead into our second annual Holiday Bazaar, which takes place this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. here at the ballpark. To help get you ready for the Bazaar on Saturday, we’ll be chatting it up here on the blog all week with various info of some of the things we’ll be putting on at the Bazaar.
We’re going to work out of order for the heck of it and start with some All-Star Stop talk.
For those that have not heard, we’re hosting the 2014 Eastern League All-Star Game, we’re calling it the All-Star Clash, July 15 and 16, 2014! We’ll talk more in detail about the events on Day 1 (July 15) later in the week but let’s take a trip down memory lane to see some of the former stars that have played in past Eastern League All-Star Games as the game as featured some of top talent in the league (and eventually MLB).
2012 Eastern League All-Star Game:
The game was played just down the turnpike in Reading, Pa. and was won by the Eastern Division, 5-4, on a walk -off single by Binghamton’s Eric Campbell to score Troy Hanzawa of Reading.
Notable MLB players that played in the game just two years ago:
Darin Ruf (Philadelphia) – Ruf was the Reading Phillies first baseman in 2012 and had a tremendous year for Reading, hitting 38 home runs and batting .317. He went on to make his MLB debut later that season and hit three homers with Philadelphia. In 2013, Ruf played in 73 games for the Phillies and went on to hit 14 home runs while driving in 30 runs.
2011 Eastern League All-Star Game:
This game was played at the home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, and saw the West pummel the East, 8-3. The Curve were well represented in the 2011 game with future MLB’ers Starling Marte, Brock Holt and Jeff Locke all taking part in the game along with Aaron Pribanic (RHP). Holt was 1-for-2 in the game hit a two-run homer en route to being named the game’s MVP (the second straight year in which a Curve player took home the award).
Notable MLB players from the 2011 Game:
Starling Marte - Pirates left fielder and a former resident of Curve, Pa., Marte made a splash when he made his MLB debut in July of 2012, homering in his first at bat down in Houston’s Minute Maid Park. The former Curve centerfielder went on to have a solid first full season in the big leagues in 2013, hitting .280 with 26 doubles, 10 triples, 12 homers and 35 BI to go with 41 steals.
Jeff Locke – Locke, who was a native of nearby North Conway, N.H., had a stellar opening to his 2013 campaign with Pittsburgh that saw him garner N.L. All-Star accolades. The southpaw was 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA In 18 starts before the break and held opponents to a .202 batting average against.
Will Middlebrooks (Boston) – A third baseman with Portland in 2011, Middlebrooks hit .302 with 18 homers before being promoted to Pawtucket later in the season. He went on to make his MLB debut in 2012 with Boston, hitting .275 with 15 homers and 54 RBI. This past year, Middlebrooks blasted 17 home runs and drove in 49 runs in 94 games while playing at third for the World Series Champion Red Sox.
A total of 25 players from the two All-Star teams in 2011 have played in the major leagues.
Not only will the fans of Curve, Pa. and beyond get to see future stars of the big leagues on the field but they’ll also get to meet and greet the stars from both teams with the All-Star Experience, which is scheduled to take place before the game on Wednesday, July 16. Gates will open up extra early the day of the All-Star Clash and give fans the opportunity for an autograph and photo session with the Eastern League All-Star squads. Following the session, fans will then have the opportunity to watch both teams take batting practice before the Clash itself begins later in the evening.
The Holiday Season is Here!
Now that the calendar has swung to December the world has gone in to full-on holiday mode with the holiday season upon us. Here’s a few of the places we’ll be in the coming week with our mascots to help ring in the season. Also, as you can see from the photo above, we took a staff photo for our Holiday Card with the best sweaters that we could find. Some people didn’t get the memo and we had to do a little photoshopping but….we think it adds to the touch.
Curve Community Appearances This Week:
Thursday, December 5 - Altoona Curve mascot(s) will take part in the 8th annual Spirit of Christmas Parade in Altoona which begins at 6 p.m.
Friday Dec. 6 - An Altoona Curve mascot will be participating in the Tyrone Christmas Parade. The parade starts at 6:15 p.m.
We’ll be back tomorrow with more….
If you understood the reference in the title of this blog post, I commend you. It’s from a show called Sports Night, which aired from 1998-2000 on ABC and was another quality series by Aaron Sorkin. The title of this post was in reference to feeling the need to celebrate anniversaries and big moments only when they occur in 10′s and 5′s (not the 42nd or the 47th), which was a point brought up by one of the show’s characters when trying to run a 49th anniversary special on “The Shot Heard Round the World”. Since this post will concern itself with the Rule 5 and the Top-10 prospects in the Pirates system, I thought it was an appropriate time to at least ponder the topic…well now I digress.
It’s a busy week in the baseball world with 40-man rosters having to be finalized by the end of the day today (November 20) in preparation for this year’s Rule 5 draft. What is the Rule 5 draft….
The Rule 5 draft
The Rule 5 draft is not like the Rule-4 draft, which most common baseball fans know about but under a different name. That draft is simply the MLB draft (or amateur draft) that is held in early June of each calendar year but no one refers to it as the Rule-4 draft. Is it because people are only comfortable with things in 10′s and 5′s…. (probably not). Nonetheless, the Rule-5 draft takes place during the last day of the Winter Meetings (a Thursday), which are normally held in the first or second week of December. This year’s draft will take place on December 12 and will unofficially conclude the Winter Meetings (which we’ll be attending) in Orlando at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin.
How the draft works:
Teams pick in reverse order of the regular-season standings. Another caveat, teams must have 40-man spots vacant to participate in the Rule 5 draft. If you do not, you cannot make a selection (in the MLB phase anyways).
- If your team (for example we’ll use our parent club the Pirates) selects a player from another team in the MLB phase of the Rule 5, they must keep that player on their 25-man roster for the duration of the upcoming season and the selected player must remain active – DL time does not count – for a minimum of 90 days). In this example, the Pirates must also pay $50,000 to the team they took him from. If the Pirates do not meet the minimum requirements listed above, they must offer him back to his original club for $25,000. If the original club declines to take him back, then that player can go on waivers.
Any player that is selected in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 automatically is placed on the 40-man roster.
Who is eligible in the Rule 5?
Firstly, not just any minor league player can be taken. An eligible player must NOT be on his parent club’s 40-man roster and meet one of the following two criteria to be eligible:
- Players who are signed when they were 19 years of age (or older) and have played professional baseball for a period of four years.
- Players who are signed when they were 18 years of age (or younger) and have played professional baseball for a period of five years.
The Different Phases of the Draft
There are also a Triple-A phase and a Double-A phase of the Rule 5 and players selected in these rounds do not need to be added to the parent club’s 40-man roster or remain on an active 25-man roster. There are cash breakdowns for these levels as well, though
- If a player is selected from the Triple-A reserve list, the team claiming him must pay his former team $12,000
- If a player is selected from the Double-A reserve list, the team claiming him must pay his former team $4,000
That’s pretty much the gist of the draft and it still might be a tad overwhelming but when mentioned you’ll now know what the draft is and what it’s all about. It is put in place so that organizations don’t stockpile talent in the minor leagues and some of it can find its way to the big leagues with a different organization.
One of the most famous players to have been taken in the Rule 5 was Roberto Clemente. More recently, Josh Hamilton and Dan Uggla are a few other notable names.
As said above, the Pirates have some decisions to make as to who to protect by placing them on their MLB 40-man roster. For a solid list of players available, check out this article written by Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) that also covers some more Rule 5 information
Baseball America Top-10 Pirates’ Prospects
The collective minds at Baseball America reveal the Top-10 prospects in a team’s organization and a few days ago they named the Pirates Top-10 prospects. For the full read up, you can click here. Listed below are the Top-10
1. Gregory Polanco (OF) – Curve 2013
2. Jameson Taillon (RHP) – Curve 2012-13
3. Tyler Glasnow (RHP)
4. Austin Meadows (OF)
5. Nick Kingham (RHP) – Curve 2013
6. Alen Hanson (SS) – Curve 2013
7. Josh Bell (OF)
8. Reese McGuire (C)
9. Harold Ramirez (OF)
10. Luis Heredia (RHP)
As you can see from the list, four of the 10 have already spent some time in Curve, Pa. and we could see one or two back for 2014 plus the possibility of a few others maybe making their way to Curve, Pa. at some point later in the 2014 campaign.
The Affiliation Station
It also became official today that the Pirates newest minor league affiliate in Bristol (Appy League) will be known as the Bristol Pirates. With the addition of another affiliate earlier this month, here is a look at what the Pirates minor league system currently looks like.
Indianapolis Indians (Triple-A, International League)
Altoona Curve (Double-A, Eastern League)
Bradenton Marauders (High-A/Advanced-A, Florida State League)
West Virginia Power (Low-A, South Atlantic League)
Jamestown Jammers (Short-Season A, New York-Penn League)
Bristol Pirates (Rookie, Appalachian League)
GCL Pirates (Rookie, Gulf Coast League)
This blog has gone on long enough…Until next time
Mark it down folks, the first snow of the season fell today, November 12, 2013 here in Curve, Pa. and that means that winter is nearly here and then…Opening Day 2014! But that still is a bit of a ways off and we’ve still got some preparing to do. What have we been up to since the last blog…well…we shall tell.
2013 Holiday Bazaar Update
We’re now up over 70 tables for the second installment on our Holiday Bazaar, which takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 7 here at the ballpark. We still have spots left for vendors who’d like to purchase a table to sell their items for the event. Folks that are interested in grabbing a table (6′ table – $15; 8′ table – $20) can call 877.99.CURVE and ask for Emily to reserve their spot OR download the Vendor Form here and mail it to the ballpark
Altoona Curve Holiday Bazaar
Attn: Emily Erickson
1000 Park Ave
Altoona PA 16602
The Bazaar will also serve as the official grand opening of the restocked Curve Holiday Store for all the Curve fans on your holiday lists.
2014 Outlook/iCal/Google Calendars Available Now
Want your 2014 Curve schedule on the go? Look no further than our website as the 2014 schedule has been made into a .ics file that you can import into various different calendar programs. From there you can sync your calendars with your mobile devices and have the Curve schedule on your phone so you’ll never have to reach too far for a Curve schedule. The full 2014 schedule and a version with just the home dates for the 2014 season are available over at the site (click here to visit the page).
And speaking of calendars….
Early-Bird Pocket Schedule Sneak Peek
We’ve just wrapped up work on the Early Bird Pocket Schedules and we changed up the design a bit on the inside and wanted to share a sneak peek with everyone here. (Notice we didn’t say sneak peak….wouldn’t want to get caught by @StealthMountain – https://twitter.com/StealthMountain) We went with some circles in this edition and put the opposing team logos in to spice it up visually. As you can see, fireworks will be noted with the Yellow burst and will appear in the early-bird schedule. The schedules are expected to arrive sometime around Thanksgiving.
If you are looking for a PDF of the 2014 schedule with times, you can head over to the website and grab it here.
Thanks for Reading!!!
I also wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who checks out the blog posts we put together here on the Curve Ball Blog. Your readership and catapulted us to the 18th-most read MiLB blog in the Pro team category!! So again, thank you for reading and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment and we’ll answer as best we can.
Winter Ball Update
The Arizona Fall League regular season will come to a close this week over in The Grand Canyon State. Here’s a look at some of the top performing former Curve players that have played in this year’s AFL.
RHP Zack Thornton
Thornton had a few different stints with the Curve during the 2013 season and was by all and large successful in his time in Curve, Pa. That’s been able to carry over to the AFL where Thornton (entering play today) has an ERA of 3.29 in 10 appearances for Scottsdale this fall. He’s given up runs in just three games and allowed a total of eight hits in 13.2 innings with 14 strikeouts. His ERA was a 2.13 until his most recent outing on Nov. vs. Surprise, where he gave up two runs on three hits in one inning.
OF Alex Dickerson
The Curve OF who garnered team MVP honors as well as Eastern League Rookie of the Year accolades in 2013 has turned in a solid performance in his first trip to the Fall League. In 16 games, Dickerson has hit .290 with four doubles an drive in two runs.
Elsewhere in fall/winter ball…
Matt Hague (DWL) – .304 AVG, 2 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R (12 games)
Gregory Polanco (DWL) – .328 AVG, 6 2B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 13 BB, 14 R (17 games)
David Bromberg (VWL) – 1-2, 2.66 ERA, , 23.2 IP, 22 H, 7 ER, 9 BB, 15 K, .247 BAA (5 starts)
In closing, I’ll leave you with a pretty cool photo of Curve LHP Nate Baker that we found after the season had concluded. This was taken in Akron by David Monseur of MiLB.com.
And that’s a wrap for this week’s blog post!
Well we’re just about a week removed from our press gathering concerning the 2014 Eastern League All-Star Stop and the logo that came with it and we wanted to revisit the All-Star Stop logo and what made it come to life. It was the first in a frenzy of logos and new team marks that have been unveiled around MiLB over the last week and a half with one of those rebranding efforts occurring in our own league, which we’ll get to later in this post.
2014 All-Star Stop Logo
Step 1 – The Metal
As a staff we really wanted the final product of the logo to have a rustic, gritty, railroad-style sign feel to it so we needed to first go get some pictures of some rustic metal that we could layer and texture the final product of the logo with. So with that in mind, the first stop was to Danny’s Metals in Altoona, where Bill Bettwy and John Foreman were able to get some nice shots that would work perfect once we had the shape and text of the logo in place.
Step 2 – The Logo Framework
It was Bettwy who came up with the first layout of the design of the All-Star logo incorporating the Keystone found in the our main logo. As you can see, the frameworks was created but a few modifications were made between the first and ending product.
A second version of the logo brought a little more grunge with it….
From there, Foreman went to work and came up with the logo that you see at the top of this post . It’s pretty cool to see the logo without the rust layers (left) and masks applied (right) and with them in place.
So there you have it — the story of our 2014 All-Star Stop logo. We’d also like to thank Prime Sirloin Buffet in Duncansville for catering our All-Star Stop presser event last week. For more information on Prime Sirloin, you can visit them online here: http://primesirloinbuffet.com/.
Winter Ball Highlights
Most of the winter leagues are now in full swing as the end of the month of October approaches later this week. In the Arizona Fall League, 2013 Curve SS Alen Hanson will be participating in this Saturday night’s Fall Stars Game, which will take place at 5 p.m. MT and 7 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.com.
In the Dominican Winter League, 2013 Curve OF Gregory Polanco has hit safely in each of his first nine games for the Leones del Escogido. In those nine games, Polanco is crushing the ball, hitting .389 (14-for-36) with five doubles, three homers and eight RBI.
Over in the Venezuelan Winter League, Curve RHP David Bromberg, who finished among the Top-10 in the Eastern League in ERA in 2013, has gone 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA in three starts for Navegantes del Magallanes.
At the time of this post, 15 former Curve players are playing winter ball. For a full list of the players and their stats so far, click the link below.
Holiday Bazaar Vendor Spots Available Now
Our second Holiday Bazaar will be coming up at the ballpark on Saturday, December 7 and we had close to 100 vendors on hand for last year’s inaugural event. Those that are interested in vendor spots for this year’s rendition can rent a 6′ table for $15 (limited availability) or an 8′ table for $20. If you would like electricity run to your table, add an extra $5 to your rental space. Vendors keep all the money from their sold items.
For more information and a Vendor Form, please click the link below:
Holiday Bazaar 2013 Vendor Form
Quack, Quack, Quack
Fans coming to Peoples Natural Gas Field May 7-9 will be some of the first fans in the Eastern League to get a look at the newest team in the league….the Akron RubberDucks. That’s right, formerly known as the Akron Aeros, the RubberDucks logo set was unveiled today and will be live and in color in Curve, Pa. during the opening homestand for the 2014 season. For those that didn’t get a look, here’s the new main logo.
Me personally, I’m pretty sure I’ll be going with “Canal Pond” instead of “Canal Park” from here on out when we visit The Rubber City, which would be April 25 for the first time in 2014.
Well, that’s a pretty good wrap for the last blog of October. See ya in November…
After a mildly decent hiatus, welcome back into the first blog of the offseason! It’s been quite a while since the last blog (ok, probably a pretty good while since we were in Portland or had just gotten back from Portland the last time I wrote). So what has been going on in Curve, Pa. since the season ended you ask?
Firstly, we had a great time hosting the Pirates Playoff Watch Party here at the ballpark for Game 1 of the NLDS. While the result wasn’t what we all hoped for, it was an awesome way to spend a beautiful early October night at the ballpark watching the Buccos play some playoff baseball. Some of our staff had the pleasure of heading over to Pittsburgh for a few of the NLDS games vs. St. Louis and if you caught our facebook post, the banner that everyone signed here during the watch party made its way on to the rotunda at PNC!
Unfortunately, the Bucs weren’t able to advance and get by St. Louis but it was an incredible ride nonetheless and we’re excited to see what they have in store for us next season with what we’re sure will include more former Curve players. Speaking of players, a total of 10 former Curve players went on to make their MLB debuts this season (nine of them with Pittsburgh), to bring the grand total of former Curve players in The Show to 111.
This year’s 10 were… () – Years w/Curve
Vic Black (2012)
Gerrit Cole (2012)
Brandon Cumpton (2012-13)
Phil Irwin (2011-12)
Kris Johnson (2012)
Andrew Lambo (2010-13)
Stolmy Pimentel (2013)
Tony Sanchez (2011-13)
Duke Welker (2011-12)
and last but not least, Robbie Grossman (2012), who debuted with Houston. And speaking of players…..
Winter Leagues Get Going
A good portion of 2013 Curve players have started or will shortly be getting their winter seasons underway! Yes, after a break and some time to unwind after the 2013 Curve season ended, a good amount of Curve players from this past season have already begun to play ball again in places across the globe. The Arizona Fall League, which is the most prestigious of the winter leagues, began play on October 8 and all but one of the Pirates players involved that were selected to go have played at least one game in a Curve uniform.
Heading out to the AFL were: Alex Dickerson, Alen Hanson, Phil Irwin, Gift Ngoepe, Jameson Taillon, Zack Thornton and Tyler Waldron. Joining them in Arizona (all are playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions) is pitcher Matt Benedict, who is someone that could see Curve, Pa. in 2014 after spending all of 2013 in Bradenton.
Playing in the Venezuelan Winter League currently are RHP David Bromberg and LHP Jhonathan Ramos while catcher Ali Solis is playing in the Mexican League.
Stats of all the active Pirates’ players participating in Winter Leagues can be found here:
There have been a few staff changes here in Curve, Pa. since the end of the 2013 season as two long-standing Curve, Pa-ers have moved on to new things. Longtime Community Relations Director Elsie Gibney has stepped away from baseball after having her first child near the end of this season. Elsie spent 13 seasons with the Curve starting in 2001 and took the community efforts of the Curve to new heights during her tenure here.
Also stepping away from baseball is John Foreman, who made the in-game entertainment inside Peoples Natural Gas Field what it was as the Director of Creative Services. John was also a double-digit staff member, having spent a total of 10 seasons with the club. His tireless work effort afforded our fans here an opportunity to get a Major League experience here in Curve, Pa. and he will also be missed.
Stepping into some of those shoes will be interns Courtney Simpson and Emily Erickson, who have both been added to the full time staff here at the ballpark. Courtney stays on as the Community Relations Manager while Emily will be the Special Events Manager and All-Star Game Coordinator.
Lastly, Steffan Langguth, who has been with the club for a few seasons now, has been promoted to Box Office Manager and I have been given the title of AGM – Communications.
Upcoming Community Appearances
Thursday Oct. 24 - A mascot will take part in the PSU Altoona Homecoming Parade which begins @ 6 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 26 - The Altoona Curve Staff will join the 77th Annual Hollidaysburg Halloween Parade which will begin @ 6 p.m.
And with that, I think the first blog of the offseason has come to a close.
Until next time…
From the Bus
Curve, Pa. – Trenton, N.J. (255 miles, Travel Time: 3 hours, 55 minutes)
Team Movies Watched: None (Waaay to early for that)
Broadcaster Movies Watched: –
Hours Slept: 1.5 hours (we left at 7:30 a.m.)
Trenton, N.J. – Manchester, N.H. (316 miles, Travel Time: 6 hours)
Team Movies Watched: 42, Flags of our Fathers & one other one I can’t remember
Broadcaster Movies Watched: –
Hours Slept: 1 hour
Manchester, N.H. – Curve, Pa. (515 miles, Travel Time: 9 hours)
Team Movies Watched: 10,000 B.C., Ocean’s 13, The Longest Yard
Broadcaster Movies Watched: G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Wreck it Ralph
Man oh man what a long road trip with, as you can see, a lot of bus rides mixed in. In actuality, it’s not even the longest road trip of the season for the Curve, who have an eight-game trip to bring them into the final homestand of the regular season over Labor Day Weekend. But nonetheless, it was our second trek back up to the upper Northeast part of the U.S. and it treated the team well.
The bats were quite alive in the series with the Fisher Cats, accumulating more than 10 hits in each of the four games played at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Altoona finished the trip, 5-2, but was just a break away from possibly even going 6-1 if things shook out differently in Trenton but that’s the game of baseball.
Since we were back in one of the extreme Northeast, I figured it’d be of value to rent a car when we went to New Hampshire to explore some sights from in and around the town of Manchester.
First on the To Do List was a trip to Waterbury, Vermont, which is the home to Ben & Jerry’s Factory although it’s actually not where the first store opened up. In fact, the first store opened by the duo was actually in Burlington, VT and the factory was built years later to accommodate for the extra production needs. Other thing that could be learned from the 30-minute tour (which was $4) was that the two actually went to Penn State and took a correspondence course in 1978 on ice cream making. The rest, as most people say, is history.
Is the tour worth a two-hour drive each way? Probably not since it starts w/a six minute video and then you see the production plant (which doesn’t operate on weekends) but nonetheless it was still cool to see and if you’re in the area it’s totally worth it. Not part of the tour but one of the cooler parts of the place in general was the Flavor Graveyard, where, if you could guess by the name, they have paid homage to flavors that just didn’t make it. A few of the ones that surprised me that didn’t make it are pictured below.
When I was leaving the Factory Tour, with ice cream in tow of course, and no, I did not take the vanillavator (code word for elevator) I asked what else was around the town of Waterbury to see. They told me about the Rt. 100 diet.
The Ben & Jerry’s Factory is just one stop along what has been dubbed the “Rt. 100 Diet”, which consists of many different places that send calorie counts soaring into the thousands. Along other places on the Route are The Alchemist Brewery (local microbrew) as well as the Cold Hollow Cider Mill (Apple Cider), which I stopped to check out. Places I didn’t make it to: the Cabot Cheese Annex, the Lake Champlain Chocolate Outlet (I don’t really like choc.) and a winery. I’m pretty disappointed I missed the cheese annex as I’m a huge fan of cheese.
Cold Hollow Cider boasted that it had “legendary” cider donuts, which immediately drew my attention and they were pretty darn good. The cider, also not bad, and pretty reasonably priced.
Since it took two hours to drive back to Manchester, not much else was done on Saturday but before we got out of town on Sunday I arose early to visit the Red Arrow Diner, which has been featured on Diners, Drive In’s and Dives. I went there last season as well and the food was too good to pass up again. It’s located in downtown Manchester and usually boasts a pretty decent wait time. However, since it was 7:45 when I got there, not many were in there and the service was quick. They even had Sourdough Toast!
It’s a place you definitely gotta check out if you’re up in the area. There’s two locations in Manchester and at the one I was at, they had plaques at each seat of a famous person who sat there to eat. Not sure if they actually sat in that seat or if it was just to let you know who’s eaten there but the seat next to mine apparently was sat in by Guy Fieri.
As for the ride back, it was an interesting one as we found out mid-bus that Alen Hanson would be joining the club when we arrived back in Altoona for tonight’s series opener with the Binghamton Mets.
If you look at the Curve roster, it kind of resembles the Baseball America Prospect Handbook with Jameson Taillon (No. 2), Gregory Polanco (No. 4), Alen Hanson (No. 5), Alex Dickerson (No. 11) and Nick Kingham (No. 17). It’s going to be a fun last few weeks of the season as the Curve’s most recent five-game streak has propelled them to fifth place in the division. Entering today’s series opener with the B-Mets they are 7.5 games out of first and an even seven out of a playoff spot. Plenty of time to catch Erie/Harrisburg.
As always, if you want to follow along with the Curve on the road and some road trip adventures, following along on Twitter @altoonacurve or on the instagram @altoonacurve.
That’s all for today.
From the Bus
Curve, Pa. – Akron, Ohio (199 miles, 3: 21 travel time)
Team Movies Watched: –
Broadcaster Books Finished: Inferno by Dan Brown
Hours Slept: 1.5 hours
Akron, Ohio – Binghamton, N.Y. (383 miles, 5:53 travel time)
Team Movies Watched: American Pie, Shawshank Redemption
Broadcaster Movies Watched: The Great and Powerful Oz, Upside Down
Hours Slept: 1 hour
Binghamton, N.Y. – Curve, Pa. (251 miles, 3:51 travel time)
Broadcaster Movies Watched: Warm Bodies
I sincerely apologize for the distance between posts but it has been quite hectic around here, especially coming off the last road trip from Binghamton and then turning around and playing again over the Fourth of July Weekend. It was quite the fun weekend in Curve, Pa. over the weekend and was made even more fun by the video that we’re sure you saw and might even think it’s fake.
For a certainty I can tell you the Foul Ball in a Cupholder video is most certainly real as the ball did indeed land just to my right outside the broadcast booth. It was the weirdest thing I’ve seen at a game in Curve, Pa. since I started working here and it’s probably one of the oddest things I’ll see on a baseball field ever. Big props should go to Justin Rhodes, who caught the entire thing on film and helped make the video even remotely possible.
If you didn’t catch it earlier this week, here ya go.
The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
During the team’s last visit to Akron, I took a morning to go out and visit the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, which is about 45 minutes away just outside of downtown Cleveland. Admission into the Rock Hall was $22 for my adult self and overall I think the Rock Hall is a place that you can spend 3-4 hours in or 1-2 hours in, depending on how much and how intricately you’d like to be.
Me? I was on the 1.5 hrs range, rolling in right when it opened at 10 a.m. and leaving a little before noon. There’s definitely a lot of neat exhibits but man there’s also a lot of reading. Learning some of the history of Rock n Roll was cool but I thought looking at some of the memorabilia, etc. was the neatest part of the museum. However, there are only so many versions of different guitars, so many outfits and so many setlists that you can see.
That being said here’s photos of a few things that stuck out during my visit
In the above photo, No. 48 is what stuck out to me the most – the Sony Discman. I’m 99.9% sure that’s the exact same Discman that I owned and played my first CD on back in the mid 1990s. Remember when discs used to skip and then you had to like balance the Discman on a pillow so that it didn’t skip when you went over bumps in your car? Then eventually it went to like 20 and 30 second anti-skip protection. Thank goodness those days are gone but nonetheless it was nostalgic to see this fine piece of history to remind me how far I’d come since listening to Mr. Big and his one hit wonder.
This guitar was one of the other neat things that I saw while at the Rock Hall. It was totally, impeccably clear! It was used by one of the guitarists in Metallica back in the day and was one of the most unique guitars that jumped out at me. It was filled up with water as well that you could see swirling around as he played it. That’s unreal.
The Last Akron Trip
Nate is currently on this trip to Akron, which is the last that we’ll be making this season. A couple of interesting facts about the trip I was on, though, before we go.
- The Quaker Square Inn, which is where we stayed the first two trips, is no longer an operating hotel. We can proudly say we were the last people to stay in the hotel, as it is now being converted into a dormitory for the University of Akron students to stay in.
- The trip to Akron and Binghamton as a whole incurred 5 hours and 36 minutes of rain delay time.
- The photo below was one of the more heart-warming moments I’ve seen in the game since I began calling baseball in 2006. Our game on Saturday, June 29 was delayed two hours (1:58 to be precise) before we played Game 1 of the doubleheader that night. Dave Wilson, who calls games for Akron, had brought his son to the ballpark for the games and he usually just hangs out in the booth and watches Sponge Bob Square Pants, etc. Well with the first game being delayed by 2 hours, we didn’t start Game 2 until 10:31 p.m. This shot was taken sometime around 11:30 (the second game finished after 12:30 a.m.) and Dave’s son had long been passed out. Except wanted to fall asleep next to his dad. So Dave did the remainder of the game like so. #DadoftheYearAwardWinner
Nate will be on the call this weekend in Akron and then the Curve return home next Monday to a jam-packed homestand, which includes a long-awaited appearance of the Human Cannonball in Curve, Pa.
I’ll have the next trip to Trenton and New Hampshire, which is looking like it will include a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Vermont, time permitting.
Altoona to New Britain Connecticut (6 hours, 1 minute; 369.9 mi.)
Movies watched: The Dark Knight, The Blindside, Million Dollar Baby
New Britain to Altoona
Movies watched: I am Legend, The Mist, National Treasure
Broadcaster hours slept (0)
Books Read: Inca Gold by Clive Cussler
From the Bus
Portland, Maine to Curve, Pa. – 578 miles (Travel time: 10 hours)
Team Movies Watched: 4 (The Town, Dumb & Dumber, Gladiator, Act of Valor)
Broadcaster Movies Watched: 1 (Wreck it Ralph)
Broadcaster Books Read: Inferno by Dan Brown
Hours Slept: 3 hours
Man oh man was that a bus ride from Hadlock Field into Peoples Natural Gas Field Sunday night and into Monday morning. We left at 5:30ish and arrived at home in Curve, Pa. sometime around 3:30. What do you ask do we do on a bus for 10 hours?
Watch movies is a big one, as you can see from above the team watched four different movies with some varying genres. The Town put Ben Affleck back on the map and is a solid choice and then it was followed up by a classic, great bus film in Dumb & Dumber. Those are as good as money, those are IOUs. Classic.
I did not really watch much of the last two movies on the bus as I started the highly-recommended Wreck It Ralph, which was as advertised: awesome. A good cast and a very funny, creative storyline that isn’t just for kids but I think adults and even the younger generation can relate if they played video games at all growing up. One of my favorite scenes in the film comes when Ralph goes to a Bad Guys Support Group meeting where he joins a session with Dr. Robotnik (Sonic the Hedgehog), M. Bison (Street Figher) and Zangief (Street Fighter) among others. I won’t ruin any more of it because it’s just so classic that it should be on your must-rent list.
It was also a pleasant bus ride after the explosion of offense that occurred in the final game with Portland. Alex Dickerson’s seven RBI set a new career-high for the Poway, Calif. native but did not set a team franchise high. That record is still held by Alex Presley, who drove in eight runs back in 2010. The five homers hit by the team in general are a season-high but also did not set a franchise mark, which was set with seven home runs on June 19, 2004 vs. Erie.
Places from the Road
This road trip I had a chance to hop in a rent a car and check out some of the awesome sights that I’d missed in Portland from years passed and I wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again. So, I jumped in my Toyota Camry and headed on out to the Portland Head Light, which is located in Cape Elizabeth and was about 20 minutes from where our hotel was in South Portland. It was a beautiful place to see at 9:30 a.m., especially when all the tourists had not yet shown up. It’s also part of the Fort Williams area and there are lots of trails, etc to walk around and explore along the cliffs.
Construction began on the lighthouse in 1787 and it stands 80′ tall and was opened in 1790.
After taking in the beauty of the lighthouse, it was then time to take a 30-minute drive north to Freeport, Maine to check out one of the more known businesses to come from that area in the company L.L. Bean. I mistakenly put the directions into my iPhone and ended up at the corporate headquarters, which is obviously not where I wanted to go.
I found out I was only one mile away from where I wanted to be, which was the L.L. Bean Village (http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/1000001706) in downtown Freeport and man oh man was it cool. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a piece of their clothing but I had no idea what I was in for when I arrived there. It is as it sounds, a village. It has its own car drop off area so that people can be dropped off and then can go park their cars. The “flagship” store, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (crazy, I know). It’s also not just one building but many. There is the main retail building but then there are separate stores for different things. Into hunting and fishing, there’s a separate store for that in a separate building! Same thing for housewares/home stuff, winter things. It’s crazy.
This is the main boot that sits in front of the flagship retail store (and also atop the bullpen at Hadlock Field where the Sea Dogs play).
It was not the only place to shop I found in Freeport as it is just the center of what is pretty much a shopping town. There are outlets, upon outlets upon outlets and, well, people can get into trouble with the pocketbook if they aren’t careful.. Also nestled into this town, I found a local donut shop that made a. fantastic donuts and b. an option to make-you-own donut. You choose your donut, the frosting and then the topping. I did not try but it’s a pretty sweet idea.
Last, but certainly not least, I ventured into Old Port, which is the touristy-part of downtown Portland where you can satisfy your seafood delight. Last season, we had a team dinner at DiMillo’s (http://www.dimillos.com/restaurant/), which is a super fancy place to grab some seafood. Without that kind of option this time around, I headed down to a local eatery on the water to get some clam chowder and, to fulfill my quota for lobster, got some lobster meat put on top of my salad (for an extra $12.95 of course).
The only thing that could have been better would have been if the bread bowl was of sourdough and not regular french, but hey, it was still awesome.
With that, I’ll leave you with a shot of the Maine Monster from below, which sits in left field at Hadlock Field and is the same height as the Green Monster in Boston, but shorter in width. It’s 315 down the line and (at least over the weekend) it seemed easier than previously thought to put one over the monster. Also of note, when Portland hits a home run, they have a lighthouse rise out of center field (behind the wall), much like the apple at Shea Stadium, and it shoots out fireworks. Pretty neat.
Well, that’s it for this edition of the road blog. We’re back at home starting today versus Reading at 6 p.m. for a nice six-game homestand. 12 of the next 15 games will be played here at home so we hope to see you soon!