2013 Season Recap

2013 has been the best year for me since 2008, when I developed a love for the game. The Red Sox won the World Series and I collected lots of autographs, baseballs, and memorabilia. This post will go over all of the previous posts on the blog.

Game 1: January 26, 2013- Joe DiMaggio Legends Game, Fort Lauderdale Stadium

I hadn’t gone to a game since July of 2012, so I was excited to get back out to a baseball stadium. The money raised at this game would go towards the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, and all of the players were retired. Some played in the 50’s, and could barely swing a bat- they actually hit weak grounders. It was fun, and, unfortunately, this was the final Legends game. Ft. Lauderdale Stadium is run down, and hasn’t seen a professional game since 2010, when the Orioles held Spring Training games.

Scoreboard Ft. Lauderdale Stadium

The scoreboard didn’t work properly and the advertisements were fading.

Bill Spaceman Lee

Bill “Space Man” Lee showed up, but didn’t sign an autograph for me.

Autographs- 9

Baseballs- This was a charity league ballgame, so I didn’t try to get any.

Jeff Conine 1

Jeff Conine signed this ball for me

Ticket

My ticket stub.

Game 2: February 24, 2013- Red Sox vs. Cardinals, Roger Dean Stadium

This was my first ever Red Sox game, and it was amazing. The Red Sox won, and I saw Jon Lester up close- kind of weird, I know, but you can’t get that at a Major League Ballpark. I got a free T-shirt and double-digit autographs. Unfortunately, I had to stand for almost 6 hours, but it was worth it.

Jon Lester 3

Jon Lester was RIGHT THERE

Koji Uehara 2

Our ALCS MVP. I didn’t get his autograph at the game, but he signed a baseball card TTM.

Final Score 5-3!

The final score- I got to the ballpark at 11:00 and had been standing until 4:45- I was tired!

Koji Uehara 3

Koji Uehara again

What I leaned on

I stood on this all game!

Autographs: 10

Baseballs: 0

Bradley Hanrahan Autos

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Joel Hanrahan autographs

Ticket Stub

My ticket stub

Game 3: March 16, 2013- Tigers vs. Cardinals, Roger Dean Stadium

This game was fun- I got an autograph from Austin Jackson, and the Tigers ended up with a 3-0 victory. I snagged my first-ever baseball (even though it wasn’t game used) and met some cool people. The drawback to this game, however, was the lack of space to stand. The box offices “oversold” the ballpark to over 7,000 people, which is the stadium’s capacity. There was nowhere to stand, and even in the concourse it was packed.

ball that i snagged

My first baseball- snagged during BP

crowded bleacherss

The bleachers in Left Field- if you look on the bottom right, those people are standing- it was like that throughout the ballpark

crowds at 11

The line 30 MINUTES before the gates opened

final score

The final score

Game 4: April 21, 2013- Miracle vs. Cardinals, Roger Dean Stadium

This would be my first Minor League ballgame since July of 2012, and I was happy to find an empty Roger Dean Stadium. Former Red Sock Doug Mientkiewicz would be managing the Fort Myres Miracle, and top prospects Miguel Sano and Corey Williams would be there as well. The game would be my best ever in terms of total autographs- 26, and I set the record for baseballs snagged in a game- 7. That is still my personal record (I am not a ballhawk, I am a ‘grapher, but I do want to collect some baseballs- who wouldn’t?). Rain delayed the start of the game by over an hour. The final score was 6-5 in favor of the Cardinals, winning on a walk-off shot by Jonathan Rodriguez.

Corey Williams 1

Corey Williams signing autographs

Miguel Sano 2

Miguel Sano signing autographs

Rain coming off roof

Rain

Tarp

The tarp

Final Score

Your final score

Walk off Rodriguez

My blurry shot of Jonathan Rodriguez

Walk off Celebration

Celebrations- #16 is Cardinals top prospect Stephen Piscotty

Game 5: May 5, 2013- Hammerheads vs. Cardinals, Roger Dean Stadium

This was just an average ballgame, despite getting 19 autographs and a free ticket. Not a lot of top-prospects for either team (all of the Hammerheads from last year were in Jacksonville or Miami) or former Major-Leaguers. The Hammerheads won by a score of 1-0, making them 2-0 in games that I’ve seen them in. The Cardinals loss put the whole organization at 1-3.

Free Ticket

My free ticket stub

Final Score

The final score

Austin Barnes and me

Austin Barnes and I (I would also get pictures with Andy Haines, Josh Adams, and Robbie Redbird)

Game 6: June 11, 2013- Red Sox vs. Rays, Tropicana Field

I was excited to get to this ballgame, mostly because it would be a Red Sox game. I was also excited to see a domed stadium for the first time, although I did see The Trop in the air in 2012. While I was waiting for the Red Sox to walk out, 30 minutes before the game started, the stupid Rays security kicked 3/4 of the Red Sox fans out of the area. I was mad and made the mistake of skipping the Rays, thinking that my Red Sox jersey would not earn an autograph. My backpack’s zipper broke (which was later fixed by my grandfather in Birmingham) and the Red Sox lost. To top it all off, I never got a ticket stub- all I got was that crappy print-out.

Rotunda

The Rotunda is probably the least ugly part of the stadium

Catwalks (2)

The roof

Big Papi

I at least got to see our World Series MVP, Big Papi

Bobblehead

I got his bobblehead, though- on sale for $15

Matt Joyce

Matt Joyce was my last chance for an autograph, but he never signed- my 1st shutout in 10 ballgames

Game 7: July 8, 2013- Braves vs. Barons, Regions Field

This would be my first ballgame in a stadium’s inaugural season since 2009, when I visited Goodyear Ballpark (spring home of the Indians and Reds). The stadium was awesome, but one of the problems was the speaker system- it was LOUD. I got Gary Ward to sign a 1990 Topps baseball card, but missed an opportunity for double-digits by skipping Julio Vinas, the manager, after asking him for the line-up card. The Barons would go on to win the Southern League Title.

Birmingham

The exterior of Regions Field

Trayce Thompson

Trayce Thompson signed my 100th autograph of the season

Gary Ward Autographed 1990 Topps

The Gary Ward auto I was talking about

Scoreboard- Under

Right under the scoreboard

Game 8: August 11, 2013- Miracle vs. Hammerheads, Roger Dean Stadium

I was excited for this ballgame, especially because it would be the last one in 2013. I ordered some Doug Mientkiewicz cards on Amazon to get autographed, and Casey Kotchman would be rehabbing for the Hammerheads. I later learned that there would be two ballgames, and I used my free ticket on this game- TWO ballgames for the price of NONE! My friend Ben attended this game with me, and I taught him how to collect autographs. He told me he would rather be the one giving the autographs. The Hammerheads would lose both games.

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Casey Kotchman came out for game two

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Andy Haines, the Hammerheads manager, gave me this:

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A line-up card, my first ever

Riverwalk Stadium, Montgomery, Alabama

Here are some pictures from my visit to Riverwalk Stadium, home of the Biscuits, on July 9, 2013:

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The ballpark

Scoreboard (3)

The scoreboard

View from 3B line

The seating bowl

Goals

Autographs IP: 112/80- Achieved

Autographs TTM (so far)- 20/20- Achieved

Autographs- Total: 132/100, Achieved

Ballhawking- 14/20, Failed

Hopefully next year will be as much fun as 2013! Thanks for reading!

Upcoming Posts

– 2014 Goals (December)

– Any mail posts

– Baseball Card pack break (maybe)

3 comments

  1. Minoring In Baseball

    Wow, great post and great pictures. I really need to get down to Florida for some FSL games for sure. I love the Miracle and Hammerhead logos, too! I remember Gary Ward for the Tigers, and watched Matt Joyce when he was with the Whitecaps. Too bad he wasn’t signing. Good luck in 2014!
    -Mike

    • joshuamcneil

      Mike-
      Thanks! Matt Joyce completely ignored the 20 plus fans waiting for him (and me wearing a Red Sox jersey didn’t help). The Florida State League is amazing, although I’ve been to only one ballpark. I hope I can get up North to see some Midwest League action- it sounds awesome! Good luck to you, too! Happy Thanksgiving!
      – Josh

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