From the Bus
Richmond, Va. to Reading, Pa. – 257 miles (Travel time: 4 hours, 21 minutes)
Team Movies Watched: 0 (one was attempted but it was either video and no sound or sound and no video)
Broadcaster Movies Watched: 0
Broadcaster Books Started: Inferno by Dan Brown
Hours Slept: 1
A bus ride from Richmond to Reading could be bogged down by lots of traffic since a majority of the trip runs up I-95, which goes by Washington D.C. and swings around Baltimore. Thankfully, we did not hit much traffic at all on our trek to visit Baseballtown for the only time this season. That in itself is a bit of a disappointment because Reading is quite a fun place to come and watch a game with all the hoopla and events surrounding the baseball game.
Our entire squad made the trip over to Baseballtown, including RF Alex Dickerson who was involved in a scary play on Sunday afternoon in Richmond and was diagnosed with a concussion. Alex re-joined the team after the game on Sunday and will be evaluated over the next few days according to manager Carlos Garcia, who spoke to reporters in Richmond concerning Dickerson’s condition after the game.
Also travelling with the trip on the nearly five-hour bus ride was 2012 Curve shortstop Chase d’Arnaud, who joined the Curve on a Major League rehab assignment on Saturday. He played in the game on Sunday afternoon and will be with the Curve for most of the series against the Reading Fightin Phils.
Q&A: How long can one player stay on a “MLB Rehab Assignment?”
Since the Curve have had more than their share of Pirates players on the mend stop by Curve, Pa. for rehab assignments, we figured it might not be a bad idea to throw some facts out there about just how long players can stay on a rehab with any given club.
Firstly, players that are on ML (Major League) rehab assignments with their affiliates do not count against that club’s roster. The Eastern League maximum for players on a given roster at any time is 25. Players that are listed on the disabled list or on a ML rehab assignment do not count against that number.
Now the next question would be, how long can a player stay on a rehab assignment with a given team or, in more general terms, how long can he be on a rehab assignment, period. The answer to that question depends on which position you play. If you are a pitcher, you can spend up to 30 days in the minor leagues on various rehabilitation assignments before your parent club needs to make a decision to activate you. If you are a position player, you are given up to 20 days to spend on rehab assignments in the minor leagues.
There is a nice article that goes much more in depth than this general overview and it can be found here (it’s a bit old but you’ll get the gist of it). It takes into account other things like options, big league service time and more.
Can we still call them the R-Phils?
If you did a double-take when reading the paragraph earlier about the Curve going to play the Fightin Phils it wouldn’t totally be out of the question. That’s because Reading underwent a rebrand in the offseason, well kind of, and changed their team name from the Reading Phillies to the Reading Fightin Phils or if you’re going shorthand, just the Reading Fightins.
As we were on the bus over here, in between falling into a deep sleep and then waking up to read the new Dan Brown book Inferno, I began to wonder if I can still call them the R-Phils. That was the shorthand name for the team prior to this season, which they embraced with a logo and it was even on one of their jerseys. Technically, they are still the R-Phils due to the Phils at the end of the name but it just doesn’t have the same ring anymore.
I’ve decided that in this series (and the subsequent ones) that I’ll try my best NOT to call them the R-Phils.
One final note about this trip here to Reading. I’m quite anxious to see what uniforms the Fightins will be wearing because, quite frankly, they are MiLB’s equivalent of the Oregon Ducks when talking about uniform combinations.
Under the new rebrand, the Fightins have six, yes, six different potential caps that they could wear on any given day depending on if they are home or road. Along with the hat choices, the Fightins have four different jersey options to choose from. Needless to say, the starting pitcher’s decision on which jersey to wear just got a heckuva lot harder.
A few uncategorized tidbits that fit well under this title.
- This might be the best 1-2 hotel trip of the season through Richmond and Reading. I’ve finally been upgraded to “The Tower’ in our hotel in Reading, which I had only heard stories about from others around the league. It’s nice to finally be included in this elite group of individuals that need special keycard entry. Along with this “Tower” room also comes probably the biggest bed I’ve slept in, maybe ever. In my travels through Europe you sleep on what is called a European single, which is smaller than a regular twin bed. I’m pretty sure three or four of these would fit on this bed alone.
- We’ve got a big weekend in store when we get back to Curve, Pa. for Memorial Day with two fireworks shows, a ballpark replica giveaway and some good old fashioned Memorial Day baseball
- I was able to see a very late showing of the new Star Trek while we were in Richmond over the weekend. I thought it was on-par with the first and would recommend for the action-movie enthusiast.
- This new Dan Brown book Inferno is also quite good so far. I was able to burn through about 33 chapters on the way over last night from Richmond. Solid stuff so far and boy that Robert Langdon sure has a rough life sometimes. He and Jack Bauer should swap horror stories. Did anyone else ever want to see an hour of 24, which is returning by the way next year, where Jack just went to the grocery store and bought Life cereal for Kim, went to pick up his dry cleaning, got a Chipotle burrito and then fixed the fence in the yard? Riveting stuff.
With that, this edition of the bus blog is over.
In more ways than one we cannot wait for March to roll around because it means we’ll get to see many of your happy faces when the Pirates come to town to play the Curve on March 30 here at Peoples Natural Gas Field. We’re revving up over here with preparations and plans to make it quite a memorable day for those that make their way to Curve, Pa.
If you have been by our facebook page or checked out our twitter feed this week, you might have seen we also couldn’t wait for March to start filling out brackets so we made some of our own! That’s right we are one week in to our 15th season Bobblehead Bracket voting contest where you the fans are picking the winners of matchups to eventually determine who which player from the 1999-2003 era will end up on a bobblehead this season. The semifinals in the first bracket begin next Monday and will feature Curve fan favorite and overall #1 seed Adam Hyzdu taking on the #4 seed Jack Wilson. The other semifinal matchup has #3 seed Sean Burnett pitted against #7 seed Rob Mackowiak, who upset #2 seed Bronson Arroyo early last week.
Once we are down to our final two players, the finals will take place Wednesday, January 30 and Thursday, January 31 on facebook to determine the winner. The winner of this contest will be given away in bobblehead form on Saturday, June 8 to the 1,500 fans that stroll in to see the Curve take on the Binghamton Mets.
We will also be holding two other voting brackets a we approach the season to determine two other players to make into bobbles to be given away this season. The era breakdowns for those years will be 2004-2008 and then 2009-present. Be sure to watch our social media for when those contests launch.
Follow Us on Instagram and Pinterest
Speaking of social media, we’ve quietly been making our way on to some of the different social media platforms over the offseason months if you want to give us a follow.
Pinterest: Altoona Curve
We look forward to seeing all your photos and pins from your fun experiences at the ballpark all season long!
No Snow Down Under
While many in the upper northeast are experience snow bitter cold temps and snowfall, the boys down under in the Australian Baseball League are enjoying the summer months and also winding down their regular season. That’s right the ABL, which is 75% owned by MLB, has just a few days left in its regular season before playoff time. Fans might recognize both of the gentlemen in this photo courtesy of our old pal Tyler Maun as Quincy Latimore and Stefan Welch, who were both part of the 2012 Curve. The duo has been reunited in Adelaide playing for the Bite, one of the six teams in the league.
Latimore, who was recently dealt to Cleveland, is doing his second tour in Australia after spending the offseason between 2010 and 2011 playing in Adelaide. Welch, a native of Alice Springs, Australia, has played in the league since its inception in 2010 and will also represent his country in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
What’s also mildly funny about this photo is that the number 22 that Welch is wearing is typically the number that Latimore has worn during his pro career, even earning himself the nickname “The Double Deuce” down in Bradenton during his time with the Marauders in 2011. Also interesting is the advertising on the backs of the jerseys, wonder if the MLB game will ever get to that point.
At the time of this post, Adelaide is on the outside looking in at a playoff berth, sitting two games back with two games left to play.
For more information on the ABL, you can visit theabl.com.
Other Offseason Happenings
In other offseason league news, 2011 Eastern League Rookie of the Year Starling Marte added another accolade and award to his shelf when he snatched up the Dominican Winter League Playoff MVP honors for his stellar performance in helping Escogido sweep Aguilas. In the best-of-nine series (yes so the sweep was a five-game sweep), Marte was 11-for-21 while hitting .422 in 11 total postseason games. This came on the heels of a .304 average in 29 regular-season games with Escogido.
Helping Marte from the pitching slab in the playoffs was 2012 Curve lefty Kris Johnson, who was the winning pitcher in the series-clinching game. Johnson spun six shutout frames to help Escogido to the victory. In 32.1 playoff innings, Johnson gave up just four earned runs (1.11 ERA).
That will about do it for this week’s blog post and round up. We’ll see if we can’t get one of our new staffers to take a stab at the blog next week for a change of pace.
A few months back we had our first installment of meet our newest Curve staff members with hockey-extraordinaire Steffan Langguth, which went over quite well with all of Steffan’s fans in the area. In this edition of Better Know a Curve Staffer, we introduce you to one of Steffan’s new running mates in Luke Johnson, who has just joined the Curve as a Ticketing Sales Associate. Luke joins the Curve after spending the 2012 season as an intern with the Modesto Nuts of the California League, who by the way have a phenomenal logo set if any one cares to check it out.
Anyways, the Q&A with LJ:
CBB: First off, welcome to Curve, Pa. Luke. Great to have you on board. We’ll start you off with an easy question like what is the meaning of life? Too bold? Ok, seriously, your name is Luke. In a given week, how many Star Wars references do you get made about your name? Have you ever dressed up as Luke Skywalker for Halloween?
LJ: Thanks, it’s good to be in the world-famous Curve, PA. I would say around 4 Star Wars mentions is average. First week in Curve, Pa. was above average though, (Thanks Homan). Can’t say I ever dressed up as Luke Skywalker for Halloween, that would be too much.
CBB: Did you know that (according to Wikipedia) Luke was the 43rd-most popular baby name in the United States in 2006, up from 111th in 1987? I mean, there aren’t too many uber-famous Luke’s that come to mind. I can think of a few off hand and they would be Luke Perry from 90210 and “Cool Hand Luke”, the film with Paul Newman. Do you feel any extra pressure to succeed because your name is quite rare compared to Mike or Bill.
LJ: It’s an up and comer evidently, and Wikipedia doesn’t lie. Cool Hand Luke and Luke Skywalker are probably the most famous. I don’t feel any extra pressure to live up to the name but if I’m half as legendary as either of those ill consider it a win.
CBB: In reading up on your bio on our website, our fans can find that you like the Anaheim Angels (which, if you weren’t aware are now the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, ahem), the Anaheim Ducks, UCLA, the Minnesota Vikings & Timberwolves. Why such an eclectic mix of favorite teams? Were you aware that you have two things in common with the famous Gordon Bombay in that you A. Like the Mighty Ducks and B. Have spent time in Minnesota (he was the Minnesota Miracle Man, FYI)?
LJ: Well this is the first time I’ve been compared to Gordon Bombay so that’s an honor, and yes he is the one and only Minnesota Miracle Man. Growing up in So Cal, it was easy to become an ANAHEIM Angels (Angel Stadium is located in Anaheim, Calif. 35 miles south of LA) Anaheim Ducks and UCLA fan. The Vikings and Timberwolves come from me disliking the Lakers, Rams, Raiders and Lob City didn’t exist when I resided there.
CBB: When you found out that there is a Chipotle less than 2 miles away from Peoples Natural Gas Field, how excited did that make you on a scale of Chips and Guac (being the least excited) to Burrito (most excited)? The scale would go as follows: Chips & Guac—Tacos—Salad—Burrito Bowl—Burrito.
LJ: I would say Burrito with a side of chips and salsa and a drink. I’ve been known to eat a lot of Chipotle so the close proximity is definitely a plus. It will also make up slightly for the lack of taco trucks in Curve, Pa.
CBB: Have you ever gone by the nickname “LJ” or been referred to as “Grand Ma Ma”? (Editor’s Note: I seriously hope he is old enough to know who Larry Johnson is and for those that don’t know, I’ve included a link to the old Converse commercial below)
LJ: LJ has been used here and there, Cool Hand, Skywalker, Lukester. None have stuck though; maybe Grand Ma Ma is the next big thing. I did rock the Chuck Taylor’s as a kid. (Side note I had not seen the commercial until now.)
CBB: You are originally from Southern California near Rancho Santa Margarita, what do you miss most about being in California? In-N-Out is an acceptable answer….just saying
LJ: In-n-out for sure. Also: the beach, the weather, Angel Stadium, Disneyland, Taco Trucks (specifically the D St. truck in Modesto), the abundance of great Mexican food, the views on PCH, and 60 degree weather on Christmas to name a few.
CBB: Being new to Curve, Pa. you have yet to really be overly-influenced by our mascot crew yet as they’re hard at work at their desks in the offseason and don’t have time to campaign for votes. But if you had to pick, right now, which of our four mascots do you like the best?
LJ: Well, my vote is for sale. Perhaps a friendly royal rumble is the best way to decide my favorite. Al Tuna ,they tell me he’s the rally mascot, would be a solid sleeper bet, a Steamer and Diesel Dawg combo could pose a threat, but I would put my money on Tenacious, someone who looks that intense all the time has to be legit. This could change once I seem them all in action in March, though.
CBB: You listed travelling as one of your interests. Where are some of the places you have visited and some places you would like to visit?
LJ: I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to quite a few places in my life. All over California including: San Diego, Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe. I‘ve also been to Seattle, Hawaii, Banff Canada, Hilton Head S.C., Savannah, Ga., Charleston S.C., Chicago, Washington D.C., and most recently Paris. Some places I would like to visit are: NYC, Toronto, Montreal, Barcelona, London, and Italy.
CBB: Help us settle a territorial linguistic debate please. Your fellow ticketing associate Steffan Langguth claims you “have a catch” while as the editor of this blog I claim you “play catch”. Who’s side are you on?
LJ: It has been known since prehistoric times that you “play catch.”
See sorry Ray Kinsella, but you goofed up on your line (at the 1:58 mark of this clip below)….it’s not “have a catch”.
PirateFest 2012 Recap
You might have seen a few posts from the Curve on our social media sites this past weekend from PirateFest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. The three-day event was quite packed with nearly 17,000 fans coming out to get a glimpse of the Bucs (16,986 to be exact). That attendance total was 400 fans higher than last year’s event and it was the largest-ever attendance at PirateFest (16,839 was the previous highest set two years ago).
If you came out to check out the festivities, you probably stopped by our booth as did some of the former Curve players that were in attendance. Below is a giant collage of some of the happenings surrounding the Curve booth over the weekend. A big thanks to all the former Curve who stopped by and we can’t wait to have them all back for the Pirates-Curve Exhibition here on March 30th.
If you turn on SportsCenter or even pass by the MLB Network over the next few days, you’ll be destined to be inundated with any potential trade rumor because it is that time of year in baseball season when the entire baseball community descends on one place for the yearly Winter Meetings. This year, the meetings have returned to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. and kicked off yesterday (Monday) with the Red Sox nabbing Mike Napoli for three years and $39 million while the San Francisco Giants re-signed Angel Pagan to a four-year, $40 million contract.
While what goes on with the MLB teams usually takes center stage, there is plenty for minor league clubs to do as well as the annual gathering with the Trade Show being the hot spot for the best and brightest ideas that teams might implement in the coming season. The Curve contingent of owner Bob Lozinak, C.O.O. David Lozinak, senior adviser Sal Baglieri, GM Rob Egan, AGM Matt Hoover and Dir. of Merchandise Claire Hoover made their way to Nashville Sunday night and this is the first in a series of diaries where Rob will detail the day’s events of the Curve staffers.
Monday’s Entry: Support from Hurdle Made Exhibition Game Possible In Altoona:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Almost before the final pitch was thrown in the May 2000 exhibition game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Altoona Curve at then-Blair County Ballpark, fans were asking Curve staff when the major league club would come to Altoona again. Now, less than four months from the Pirates’ return visit to Altoona for the March 30 exhibition game, Curve officials attending the Baseball Winter Meetings here had the opportunity on Monday evening to discuss some of the many details related to the game with various Pirates’ staff. All were pleased to hear of the fans’ tremendous interest in the game and that standing room tickets were already on sale.
President Frank Coonelly, Senior Vice President and General Manager Neal Huntington, and Assistant General Manager Kyle Stark were instrumental in making the game a reality when discussions heated up last winter. However, before they would commit to bringing the Major League club to Altoona, they wanted to get the support of Clint Hurdle, who was gearing up for his second season as manager of the Pirates. Sometimes that’s not an easy conversation for front office executives to have with managers who are concerned about the toll the extra travel may have on the players. In fact, in 2002, the players union bargained to require that exhibition games against minor league affiliates occur before the regular season so that rare off-days during the season weren’t occupied by a road trip to one of their affiliates’ towns.
With this in mind, Coonelly and Huntington approached Hurdle to propose the idea. It turns out there was no need to worry. While he was manager of the Rockies, Hurdle had participated in an exhibition game in Colorado Springs (Rockies’ Class AAA affiliate) and saw the impact that it had for the minor league franchise and its fans. As he said to Curve executives Monday, exhibition games are a way to tangibly thank the fans and the minor league affiliate for what they do in aiding the development of their players. He said it’s one thing to say “thank you”, but that actions speak louder than words. On behalf of the Curve and its fan base, I would like to say “thank you” to Clint for being supportive of the exhibition game and promise that we will continue taking action to support the Major League organization’s objective of developing players to the fullest while they are in Altoona.
In addition to connecting with the Pirates’ staff, the Curve contingent of Bob Lozinak, Sal Baglieri, David Lozinak, Matt Hoover, Claire Hoover, and yours truly were busy on Monday attending the Bob Freitas Business Seminar with breakout sessions and roundtable discussions. The seminar offers insights into how other clubs and executives operate successfully in a range of areas: sales, marketing, ballpark operations, merchandising, and community and media relations. This is always an invaluable part of the Winter Meetings for minor league clubs as they share new ideas with one another that will help serve the fans a better experience when they come to our ballparks. What works in Reading, just might work in Altoona. The greatest form of flattery is seeing an idea we came up with Altoona being used by other teams with success in their markets.
Tuesday and Wednesday will feature several trips to the Baseball Trade Show for the Curve staff. The show has hundreds of exhibitors showing off their products and services that have an application to our operation. We’ll also be attending the Eastern League Meeting and learning more about the latest national marketing inititives of Minor League Baseball. I’ll update you on those activities and let you know all of the baseball celebrities we spot in and around the Opryland Resort in Thursday’s morning’s journal.
Steamer Claus Helicopter Entrance
If you missed Saturday morning’s Holiday Bazaar here at the ballpark, you missed quite a good time and some pretty nice weather for this time of year in Blair County. Our lovable mascot Steamer also made a splash at the Bazaar with his grand entrance via the STAT Medevac helicopter from Altoona Regional Health System. A video clip of Steamer’s entrance is below.
I think that’s all we’ve got for this edition of the blog. A big thanks to Rob for writing today’s entry and we’ll hear more from the Winter Meetings as the week progresses! And on a personal note, I hope the Curve staff runs into some filming of the ABC show “Nashville”, which has been pretty good thus far in the first half of its first season.
Win or go home. That’s the motto from here on out in the baseball season as we’ve hit playoff time with the new wild card games starting tonight before the best-of-five series begin over the weekend. Agree with the new format or not, it’s here and will sure make for some interesting games tonight and it also gives additional MiLB front office staff members some additional hope. Because of the diverse makeup of most minor league staffs, there usually are a few people who have vested interests in the playoffs, which can make for a fun office environment during playoff time.
In our office in particular, we’ve got our head groundskeeper Ben Young pulling for his hometown St. Louis Cardinals tonight, who would go on to play the Washington Nationals if they can squeak by the Braves. However, ticket account manager Steve Yeager, who is a native of Reading, Pa., somehow roots for the Braves. So we have a Young-Yeager matchup going on tonight. As for the rest of the office, GM Rob Egan will be pulling for his hometown Detroit Tigers in their series with the Oakland A’s that begins on Saturday. Leading the contingent of Orioles fans in the office will be Manager of Concessions Glenn McComas and Dir. of Ticketing Chris Keefer, who have both “Buckled” in for the playoff run. I myself will be hoping for a second San Francisco Giants World Series title in the past three seasons as they’ll face off with Dusty Baker’s Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS.
As for predictions, here’s what I’ll go with:
Wild Card Round
Atlanta over St. Louis: I just can’t see the final season in the tremendous career of Chipper Jones coming to an end with a bow out in the first round of the playoffs, especially with Atlanta playing at home for this game tonight in Turner Field. While “The Chop” is one of the most annoying chants in all of professional sports in my opinion, the Braves will Chop the Cards and proceed to face the ‘Nats in the other NLDS matchup. In a promotional note though, the Braves gave away these Glow in the Dark Tomahawks this season, which are pretty darn cool. Making the promotion even cooler was that it was sponsored by Mellow Mushroom, which is a pizza chain that started in Atlanta and has PHENOMENAL, yes, all-caps worthy, pizza and Parmesan pretzels!
Baltimore over Texas: In the other series tonight, I’m taking the O’s because the Rangers are reeling having lost the division on the season’s final day following two straight World Series appearances that resulted in losses.
With those predictions in mind, here’s the rest of the playoffs
San Francisco over Cincinnati: NL MVP candidate and batting champion Buster Posey and the bunch from the City by the Bay will dispatch of the Redlegs in four games with solid outings from Matt Cain and, yes, even Barry Zito. Ryan Vogelsong (Curve, 2002) will be crucial in the run for the Giants if he can retain the form he found over his last three starts (1 ER in his last 17.0 IP).
Washington over Atlanta: The Natitude that carried the Nationals to the best record in baseball will also carry them through the Braves and into the NLCS. It’ll be tough for Stephen Strasburg to watch but he’ll have to do so nonetheless. Nats in four.
Detroit over Oakland: While Oakland is a team possessed, taking the AL West crown on the last day of the season, they haven’t fared well in the playoffs once they get there. I’m biased and going for another Oakland collapse in the playoffs. They’ll go up in the series but eventually fall in five games. Oh, and Detroit has that Triple Crown guy, Cabrera, too.
Baltimore over New York: These two teams split the 18 games they played against one another during the regular season but the O’s have an awesome logo redesign and that will be enough to put them past New York.
Washington over San Francisco: The Nats went 5-1 against the Giants in the small sample size of six games but the Giants pitching staff gave up 45 runs in six games (which is 7.5 runs per game). That’s awful and they did it against the Giants better pitchers in Cain (3 R, 6.2 IP), Bumgarner (8 R, 14.0 IP), Vogelsong (8 R, 2.2 IP) and Lincecum (12 R, 7.1 IP).
Detroit over Baltimore: Baltimore’s magic will run out in the ALCS when they run into Justin Verlander and the Tigers. I bet is a solid series tho, with it going six games. The two teams split six games during the regular season.
Detroit over Washington: At least Strasburg can help the Nats next time they get to the series.
With the first week of October in the books, we look forward to watching a handful of Curve players begin their offseason play in the Arizona Fall League next Tuesday, Oct. 9 with the Scottsdale Scorpions. Vic Black, Brandon Cumpton, Matt Curry, Kyle Kaminska, Adalberto Santos and Tyler Waldron all spent time in Altoona in 2012 and will be participating in the AFL alongside Gift Ngoepe, who was an infielder with Bradenton in 2012 and could find his way to Curve, Pa. in 2013. We’ll try and provide some weekly updates on their progress this offseason. Fans can always visit mlbfallball.com as well for the latest updates with action from the AFL.
A few of those players also are in the twittersphere if you’d like to keep track of them throughout their time in the AFL:
Matt Curry – @MattyCurry17
Vic Black – @Vic_Black_2
Adalberto Santos – @SantosSwag
Tyler Waldron – @Twallywaldron
What We’re Watching This Offseason
With no baseball games, we actually have to figure out how to cook and fill our nights during the long baseball offseason. For some of us here in the office, that means trying out some of the new fall TV lineups. Here’s what some of us have been watching thus far:
Parenthood – We’ve got a pretty good following of people on staff who watch this show (both of the Hoovers, Corey Homan, myself, the Keefers and Elsie Gibney). A solid choice for some good family drama, plus its set in the City by the Bay so it has to be awesome right (biased opinion). Tuesdays, NBC – 10 p.m.
Grey’s Anatomy & Scandal – The Shonda Rhimes back-to-back dramas can be the talk of the office come Friday mornings. Thursdays, ABC – 9 p.m. & 10 p.m.
Revolution – A good chunk of the office staff is still in recovery mode from the loss of LOST a few years back and this J.J. Abrams related show is trying to fill that void this season where Alcatraz last season did not. Mondays, NBC – 10 p.m.
The Walking Dead – Season three premieres October 14th. This one is a favorite among the Curve broadcast team. Sundays, AMC – 9 p.m.
Glee – We’ve got a few Gleeks in the office, one of which is our newest front office member Whitney Jones. Others on the staff also dabble in this show but some just fast-forward to the musical numbers to avoid the rest of the drama. Thursdays, FOX – 9 p.m.
Breaking Bad – Ticket Account Manager Steffan Langguth has been trying to convince me for months that this show is one of the best on television but I can’t ever get through a full episode. Maybe I’ll give it another shot around the holiday season.
What are you Curve fans out there watching? Chime in on the conversation.
Enjoy the weekend and some playoff baseball!
Goood morning everyone out there in the blogosphere! It’s another week of the offseason here in Altoona and I know that last post I eluded to the fact we’d be talking about our upcoming Yuengling Oktoberfest event but instead this week we’re going to get a look at one of the Community Service Projects that the Curve have been working on since early August, which was completed earlier today!
How we got started:
The Altoona Curve volunteered to help the St. Vincent DePaul Society this summer. We didn’t want to just help in the kitchen so we asked if there was any other job that needed to be done. Sister Pauline had an idea! She had been wanting to do something to spruce up the laundry room for years, but other jobs took priority. She walked us back to the room and as you can tell from Step 1 – it was a dismal place. This room was the original kitchen that Sister Paula started cooking in 20 years ago! The lighting was terrible, the windows were broken..the room wasn’t a place that anyone would want to spend any amount of time in. We decided that we could help with this project – it may not be as ‘Extreme’ as you’d see on TV, but we’d do our best! Mission accepted!
Help us – help others:
We knew that we couldn’t just go out and buy all of the stuff we needed because it just wasn’t in the budget this year. So we wrote up a donation request letter and hit the streets. We called on Sears of Altoona for paint supplies and Ray totally came through for us! We called on Home Depot of Altoona for fluorescent bulbs, wafer & framing boards and more and Neil really hooked us up! We called our friend Timmy at New Pig for counter tops & lighting fixtures and we were once again grateful! Bettwy Electric helped with upgrading the room. YBC of Altoona donated ceiling tiles and a new window. The Hite Company, Curve fans & staff also donated items & money in order to complete the job.
The first phase of the project began on August 3rd when Elsie Gibney and a few players (Brad Chalk, Mike Colla, Aaron Pribanic, and Aaron Thompson) went over to visit St. Vincent de Paul to assess what needed to be done.
The second phase of the project was to remove everything from the room and do as much clean up work as possible (scrubbing of floors, washing of windows, etc.) before the real repair and upgrade work began.
Once everything was cleared out and cleaned up, the first thing to undergo a face-lift was the paint in the room.
With the walls freshly painted, it was time to move on to the next phase of the restoration project: lighting and window framing. Elsie called in the help of Stadium Ops Manager Kirk Stiffler to help re-frame the windows and install new lights in the room to brighten it up a bit.
With new lighting and everything all ready, it was time for the final step of the project. See below for the finished product. Thanks again to all of those individuals and businesses that donated their time and/or products to help make this project a success!
Apologies that this blog went dormant for most of the season but we’re back and the offseason has already begun. It’s hard to believe that 141 games are gone and done in 2011 and 2012 is on the horizon. As you may or may not have known, each season the Pirates recognize one outstanding individual from each affiliate in their Pirates Community Commitment Program and the recipient for this year’s Curve club was RHP Aaron Pribanic. Aaron, along with Community Relations Director Elsie Gibney and myself (Mike) went out to PNC Park yesterday where Aaron received his award prior to the Pirates-Cardinals game.
All the award winners and their liaisons from their clubs were present at the game and were actually brought into town the night before to take a VIP tour of PNC Park, go down into the locker room and meet the club, as well as spend the game on Tuesday night in a suite.
Elsie and I drove out on Wednesday morning to meet Aaron along with the other winners, some of which could be in a Curve uniform in the very near future. The other award winners were: Matt Skirving (State College ), Tyler Waldron (West Virginia), Adalberto Santos (Bradenton), Brian Burres (Indianapolis) and Jeff Karstens took home the Clemente Award for the Pirates.
After arriving on time, we met up with the rest of the award winners (some parents included) and headed on down to the field at 11:30 to await the on-field ceremony. Pirates President Frank Coonelly, Director of Player Development Kyle Stark and GM Neal Huntington among others were all on hand at the ceremony to congratulate the award winners.
Also on hand to help hand out the awards were members of the Clemente family including Roberto’s wife and two sons.
The ceremony began a little after noon and ended with Karstens receiving the Clemente Award. Each Major League team awards their own individual Clemente Award winner with one overall winner being selected and honored during the MLB Playoffs.
Once the on-field ceremonies were complete, we were all ushered back through the tunnels and to our suite, where we were able to stay for the duration of the game. Our suite was outfitted with its own bathroom, bar, flat-screen televisions and a plethora of food options for the day, which included hamburgers, crab cakes, shrimp, pierogies, fruit, hot dogs, fine cheese and also various chip and dip options.
I’ll go out on a limb and say the consensus favorite of everyone in the suite was the dessert cart that came around sometime during the sixth inning. Think of any kind of dessert or dessert combination you’d wand and this thing had it. From Jelly Bellys and Gummy Bears to exotic cakes and cookies, you had your picking from this cavity-ensuring device. My choice of an Oatmeal Cookie topped with vanilla ice cream (which I commonly refer to as a pazookie (west-coast thing)) inspired Aaron to grab one of his own, although I’m pretty sure he went chocolate chip.
The game itself ended up being quite close but the Buccos came up on the short side, 3-2. Alex Presley did have a pair of hits and drove in a run as he continues to rake at the MLB level. We also got to watch former Curve players Jared Hughes and Tony Watson throw in relief after Charlie Morton went the first seven frames.
Once again, congratulations to Aaron and all the award winners and a big thank you to the Pirates for their hospitality. Not a bad way to start of the offseason, eh?
That’s all for now, next up on the blog will be our planning for our Yuengling Oktoberfest 2011, which if you didn’t know takes place here at BCB on Saturday, October 1st from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
As many of you living in Altoona, PA know, and for those of you who don’t, beginning today at 1 p.m., the city will officially change its name to “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, PA” for 60 days. Due to that change, the Curve have released the following statement:
“We are supportive of the ceremonial name change of the city and have a great partnership with Sheetz – which does so many great things to give back to the people of our region. However, we won’t be changing our name at this point because of the obvious logistical issues involved. I don’t even know if we could fit that many letters on to a jersey. We will be participating in today’s City Council proclamation with our main mascot, Steamer, and are pleased that this effort by Sheetz and Mr. Spurlock will benefit the Altoona City Police Department.”
The Altoona Curve will return to Blair County Ballpark for their second homestand of 2011 on Friday, April 29 with seven games featuring three against the Erie SeaWolves (AA – Detroit Tigers) and four against the Akron Aeros (AA – Cleveland Indians). The homestand will run through Thursday, May 5and feature a Tenacious C Hanky Giveaway, postgame fireworks and the first What We’re Watching Wednesday, LOST – Locke & Locke.
No, not the song by Kanye West and Twista, when Charl Schwartzel birdied the 18th hole at the Masters on Sunday he became an overnight celebrity as well as a very rich man. So that got us thinking here at CurveBall Blog, who, in the realm of baseball has turned themselves into overnight celebrities?
Armando Galaraga – A relative unknown, Galaraga joined the many pitchers in 2010 to throw a no-hitter or perfect game, or so we thought. With any no-hit bid, they begin to gain publicity through social media and through “live look-ins” from ESPN, by the 7th inning I know I was paying attention. Galaraga worked a clean 8th, and got the final two outs in the ninth inning before Jason Donald “beat out” an infield single and broke up the no-no, or did he…It was a shocking moment, my jaw had dropped as I sat in my Kannapolis, North Carolina apartment. The call had been blown and the perfect game, ruined. The story was a huge one, Galaraga was a celebrity. Despite the poor call at first base, everyone involved was awesome about the whole ordeal, player and umpire alike.
Steve Bartman – Perhaps one of the most famous names in baseball, a die-hard Cubs fan, Bartman is blamed by millions for ruining the Cubs World Series dreams. You know the story, in game six of the 2003 NLCS, Bartman interfered with a fly ball, setting off a chain reaction of bad events for the Cubs as they ultimately lost the series. Bartman was a household name and the incident was huge. So huge infact, that the ball from the play in question sold for more than $113,000 and was subsequently destroyed. The seat Bartman sat in has become a huge tourist attraction at Wrigley Field. Even in my trip to Wrigley, I wanted to get my picture taken in the infamous Bartman pose.
Aaron Boone - Overall a mediocre baseball player, Boone broke into the big time the same year of the Bartman incident. In the 2003 ALCS, Boone hit an 11th inning home run against the Boston Red Sox and Tim Wakefield to send the Yanks into the World Series and prolong the ‘Curse of the Bambino’. Baseball tonight rated this the ninth-best home run of all time.
Not baseball related, but there’s also this: