Have you made it out to a Loons game this season? Well in case you’re one of the few that haven’t, here’s a little teaser.
No. 2 Tommy Lasorda, No. 47 – The Dow 47 Building, No. 42 – Jackie Robinson
The 2009 Great Lakes Loons may have started something.
Remember last season, when the Loons Kyle Russell and Dee Gordon materialized into superheros for
the team. Russell became known as ‘Batman’ for his impressive slugging, while Gordon
was labeled ‘Superman’ or ‘the Man of Steel’ for his speed and knack for
Well, it would appear the team’s parent club, the Los Angeles Dodgers caught wind of the idea and decided to throw a few of their star players in the superhero spandex and create their very own action figures, which will be given away this summer at Dodgers games.
Above are the Dodgers summer giveaways items: (from left to right) Matt Kemp donning his best Green Lantern garb; Andre Ethier wearing his Iron Man inspired super suit; and Manny Ramirez with the Predator dreads.
So if you’re under the age of 14 and in Los Angeles this summer, stop by Dodger Stadium for an action figure. Not a bad snag, assuming the knees and elbows bend.
The first bobblehead giveaway at Dow Diamond this season is during this upcoming homestand. On Thursday, June 3, be among the first 1,000 fans to the park and receive a Cecil Fielder bobblehead, part one of the 2010 Tigers Legend Series presented by MidMichigan Health.
Loons starting pitcher Elisaul Pimentel and second baseman Rafael Ynoa, both pictured above, became local heroes on Mother’s Day and may have been the only reason Terry Whittington survived his motorcycle accident.
The story deserves the coverage it’s getting, and here are a few links with quotes and specific details about the event. Truly a remarkable story.
Read the full story here by Dan Chalk, who first broke the story for Midland Daily News.
The story made national news on the USA Today blog Daily Pitch.
Read the Bay City Times story, which highlights Ynoa’s statistical gain since the act.
Milb.com also got involved in spreading the word with this little piece.
Remember elementary school assemblies and how much better they were than class? Now imagine them with Lou E. Loon involved! Way better right? Well, that’s what kids these days are getting and last Friday, May 14 a handful of the Loons staff stopped by Pine River Elementary to make a special presentation of ‘Twas the Night Before Opening Day’ and deliver a very important message.
Here Lou E. has the tough job of choosing a kid to be the one volunteer to play J.E. Johnson’s Hot-n-Cold game.
A special thanks to the Dow Chemical Company for making the appearance possible.
The Stat Shift: The Loons began their series against Dayton hitting .263, second in the MWL, and dropped only to .264 at series’ end. Jerry Sands hit one homer to bring his league-leading total to 13; a hit in all four games extended his hit streak to a season-high 11 games. Also maintaining his hit streak throughout the series was third baseman Brian Ruggiano, now at 8 games.
Also going up was the team ERA, not as good a thing. It rose from 2.81 to 2.87, allowing Clinton to tie for first place in the category.
Prospecting the Competition:
Loons vs. the Reds No. 15 Prospect SS Didi Gregorius – The Curacao-native started at shortstop in all four of the games against Great Lakes and went .222 (4-for-18), scoring one run and three RBI.
Loons vs. the Reds No. 25 Prospect RHP J.C. Sulbaran – The Loons faced four starting pitchers from Dayton, but never Sulbaran, who started for the Dragons the day prior to the series on 5/12, pitching for his third win of the year through five innings against Fort Wayne.
Feel-Good Moment: Down one run in the bottom of the 14th inning with two outs, Rafael Ynoa and Christian Lara strung together two pre-scripted doubles to win the Loons longest game of the season. Full story here.
Career Game: The Dodgers No. 10 prospect RHP Allen Webster tossed a career-high 11 strikeouts against the Dragons on to notch his fifth win (second most in the Midwest League) of 2010. In the outing, Webster issued only one walk and one run on five hits over six innings.
Scoreless Innings: Reliever J.B. Paxson (1-1, 1.84) offered up two hitless innings in two appearances for the Loons this series. In only two of Paxson’s 10 appearances for the Loons in 2010 has the right-hander surrendered an earned run; that’s 12.2 scoreless innings out of 14.2.
Justin Miller pitched for five scoreless innings of relief in the 14-inning game three. Closers Luis Vasquez and Steve Smith also combined for five scoreless innings in the series.
Series Summary: What did we learn about the team? The Loons are capable of winning back-to-back games at home. The team did so in games two and three, the first time since sweeping the South Bend Silver Hawks from April 14-16. Despite this feat, the Loons reoccurring big-inning giveaway at Dow Diamond is still present, as witnessed in the series’ final game that saw Dayton put up a pair of three-run innings to rally for the win.
Glancing Ahead: The Loons are back today to face the Midwest League’s last place team, the 11-25 Bowling Green Hot Rods. The Rods rank 7th in hitting (.247) and 14th in ERA (4.07). The Loons went 2-1 against Bowling Green earlier this season, outscoring them 11-9. Great Lakes looks for its second home-series win in its seventh try this season.
37 down, 103 to go.
If you didn’t make it out to a game this weekend, then you missed one of 2010′s most unique on-field entertainment acts to visit Dow Diamond. The following is a photo recap of Team Ghost Riders performance that brought tricks from the South to Midland, Michigan.
The old saying is: you can’t tell how deep a well is by measuring the length of the pump handle – which in minor league baseball translates to: you can’t tell how good an entertainment act is just by looking at the trailer. But Team Ghost Riders’ ‘Wild Thang’ trailer certainly promised great things.
So here’s what happened. First, these four rams were let out onto the field. They ran around amidst all the chaos of baseball players warming up and fans screaming, and actually did a really good job of sticking together, like a school of fish or Def Leppard.
Then once the rams had harassed the players enough to need rescuing, out comes Wild Thang and his four little buckaroos. With the slight lift of his hand and one unintelligible yelp, Wild Thang sent the monkeys after the goading rams. The monkeys then guided the sheep dogs with their little spur boots to save the day.
Everything was over in two minutes, ready for the baseball game to resume. The antics left all the players with smiles on their faces, and every kid in attendance a craving to own a little cowpunching capuchin.
Here is Wild Thang and company, getting prepped for the Loons ceremonial first pitch. Wild Thang may have out-thrown them both, but the dog and monkey stole the show later.
The in-game performance was just a little teaser for what followed after the game’s conclusion; a herding extravaganza that sent the four rams to the top of the star-spangled truck, all perfectly choreographed to the score of Lonesome Dove.
At the very end, Wild Thang grabbed the microphone to host a Fireside Chat with the fans at Dow Diamond. He encouraged everyone to follow their dreams, like he did, and left us with a performance that affirmed the tired cliche: anything is possible.
On Saturday night, which was Wild, Wild West Night at Dow Diamond, the Loons staff pose with Wild Thang and the Maverick Monkeys.
So there you have it, Cowboy Monkey Rodeo. The pictures are fun and all, and do a good job of making the field look really green, but until you’ve seen the show for yourself (that is: a Loons baseball game with Cowboy Monkey Rodeo) then you’ll never be considered the tallest pig at the trough. Dive in!
I’m getting reports of loyal readers having trouble seeing the pictures, it’s mainly because of a flaw with Internet Explorer. I suggest switching to Firefox, which is a much more user-friendly web browser. It has less pop-up windows and less spam ads. Plus you can see the monkey pictures! What are you waiting for?
Baseball is a game loaded with transactions: players moving up, moving down, getting cut, going on the disabled list and coming off. The Loons have had six transactions since Opening Day, April 8. But most of the players don’t have their cars in Michigan, and the ones who do aren’t going to do long-term parking without knowing when they’ll return, so who gets the players to-and-from the airport? Well, thus far it’s been the front office interns.
On Wednesday, it was my turn to make the two-hour trek to Metro Detroit Airport DTW to pick up Loons third baseman Brian Ruggiano, who was returning to Michigan from extended Spring Training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ. Ruggiano was rehabbing out west, after straining his shoulder while making a dive for a ball earlier in the season.
A lot was talked about, from new inventions to Gulf stone crabs. But for this blog piece, I asked Brian to talk about the road: past, present and future.
On the Road, the Early Years: “My family used to drive to south Florida from Austin, TX every other year to visit relatives. We had a mini-van and we took out the middle-seat, and left the bench in the back, so the whole front part would be open and we would just lie down and sleep.”
When asked to cite a memorable road trip moment during his youth, Ruggiano could only think of the time that his sister, who’s stomach was easily unsettled, threw up on him. A memorable road trip for the wrong reasons I suppose. He gave me some vivid details, but I think I’ll leave it there.
“When we went to my grandparent’s ranch in West Texas, we’d always stop at this place in Fredericksburg, which is only an hour and a half away from Austin. My mom always thought it was a cute little town, real antique.”
He couldn’t recall the name of the restaurant they would always eat at, but nonetheless gave props to F-burg.
On the Road, the College Years: “We would plan our own trips over the winter breaks and one time me and a couple of guys went on a cruise. It’s not really a road trip, but we drove down to the Gulf Coast. My roommate and another friend of ours went on a cruise with a bunch of friends and there were like 99 people from [Texas] A&M on that cruise, 60 from our group, and it was a blast.”
The five-day cruise took Ruggiano to Cozumel and Progreso. He eventually won enough money to pay for the trip by playing Texas Hold ‘em in the cruise’s casino.
On the Road, the Future: “Well [our college team] went to the University of Kansas and I got to see the basketball stadium there, [Allen Fieldhouse] with the wood seats. It’s really neat in there. I wouldn’t mind seeing a basketball game in there sometime.”
On a more national scale, Ruggiano desires to see the typical American landmarks like Mt. Rushmore and Niagara Falls. Also on his list is the Grand Canyon, a site Ruggiano is almost ashamed he hasn’t seen after spending so much time in Arizona with the Dodgers.
“If I had to live anywhere, it’d be in Southern California, that’s for sure,” he said “In the San Diego area. I went there on vacation with my family and I really liked it.”
Back in Midland
Ruggiano made his first start for the Loons since 4/15 on Thursday morning and produced two extra-base hits. It must have been the stop at Leo’s Coney Island on the way back.