Derrick Mitchell Finishing Strong

Derrick Mitchell
Derrick Mitchell

Phillies and the Akron Aeros started tonight, the R-Phils were looking at fighting New Britain for the final playoff berth.

Every game is important, every player is important.

One player had an amazing night tonight, even though he went 1-4. Derrick Mitchell came up to the plate in the first inning and hit a two run RBI single. Then, he stole second base, his 18th stolen base of the year. When he came up in the ninth, he hit into a fielder’s choice, but it did drive in another run.

That was his third RBI in the game and his seventh RBI in the last three games. When you look at his play tonight, it’s kind of stunning, he drove in three of the R-Phils’ four runs.

Sadly, the R-Phils fell to the Aeros 6-4.

It’s also worth mentioning that after tonight’s play, Mitchell has moved into 4th place in the Eastern League with 76 RBIs.

Just to give his play this season something to be compared to:

Mitchell would be 2nd on the Philadelphia Phillies for home runs with 18, only behind Ryan Howard’s 27 home runs.

Mitchell has 76 RBIs, just behind Hunter Pence’s 77 (His combined total between the Astros and Phillies)

Mitchell even has one more stolen base at 18 than Shane Victorino’s 17.

AND there’s still seven games left in the season…

Not too bad for a kid from Paw Paw, Michigan…

Even with tonight’s loss (New Britain lost as well tonight) the R-Phils still are only one half game from a play off berth.

Baseball Betsy and Ross are hoping to travel to Binghamton this weekend to cheer on the R-Phils. Let’s hope they can finish as strong as Mitchell is playing.

Trevor May…Strike Them Out

Trevor May #54
Trevor May #54 Under Julio Rodriguez’ autograph

How ironic is it that my last non-weather related post was about a Clearwater Threshers pitcher as well? And How ironic is it that Trevor May’s autograph (#54) was just below Julio Rodriguez’ autograph?


May is second in strike outs in all of Minor League Baseball right now.

So, what even makes this more impressive is that the Threshers have May, the pitcher with the 2nd highest amount of strike outs in all of MiLB AND the pitcher, Julio Rodriguez, with the highest number of wins!

It’s a remarkable accomplishment. It gives hope that the Phillies’ farm system is developing talent for years to come so that as players either retire, get traded or injured there will be talent to step up.

Ross and I saw May pitch in the Florida State All Star Game, retiring the inning 1-2-3…and in a regular game with the Threshers striking out 12.

I may have video, however, due to the fact that we have no power at home…I cannot access the external hard drive where all our HD video is stored. I hope to edit this post later on to add video of Trevor May in action.

Hurricane Irene Is Mean

Hurricane Irene
Hurricane Irene

We had planned to go to Reading to catch the Reading Phillies last home stand but Irene had other plans for us. The games had been moved up and due to fact we had our home and my mother’s house to ready for the storm, we just couldn’t get that done in time to make the games.

We are near Harrisburg and while we were spared the brunt of the storm, we did have some minor damage and lost power about 3 a.m. last night. Now, last we checked anyway at 2 p.m…we still do not have power. Trees took out about 30 power
lines along the main road so it could be a while before we get it back.

But fear not, dear readers! I am so dedicated to you, we drove to not one, but two Starbucks so that I could get to the internet to post my blog!

So as we are sitting here at Starbucks…The sun came out!

Ross Waves Goodbye to Hurricane Irene
Ross Waves Goodbye to Hurricane Irene

As Ross waves goodbye to Irene…the real question is…When can we say, “Hello” to electricity?

The Pitcher With The Most Wins In The Phillies System…And His Name Isn’t Halladay

Julio Rodriguez
Julio Rodriguez

It’s the end of August and the seasons for all the teams in the Phillies’ system are winding down. It’s only natural to look at the statistics to see who’s on top.

Just looking at the number of wins for the pitchers in the Phillies’ system, guess who has the most? Lee? Halladay? Hamels?

Nope. Not a Major Leaguer. Hyatt? Biddle? Cloyd? May? Pettibone?

Nope. It’s Julio Rodriguez who’s gathered an impressive 16 wins for the Clearwater Threshers. In actuality, he leads ALL pitchers in all of the minor leagues. No other pitcher in any minor league has more than 14 wins.

Rodriguez has a record of 16-7 for the Threshers.

He was selected to the Florida State League All Star Game…which I attended.

The Threshers had six players picked for the All Star Game, Jared Cosart, Trevor May, Jonathan Pettibone, Sabastian Valle, Justin Friend and Julio Rodriguez. Even more interesting is that all of the Threshers except for Valle are pitchers.

I was fortunate enough to get everyone’s autograph except for Pettibone and Justin Friend who had been called up to Reading before the game. Julio Rodriguez’ (#26) is at the top above Trevor May’s autograph (#54)

Julio Rodriguez #26, Trevor May #54
Julio Rodriguez #26, Trevor May #54

It Ain’t Over…


Tuffy Gosewisch
Tuffy Gosewisch

It was the first Saturday that we made the trip to Baseballtown. For some reason, we never seem to make it on a Saturday. So when we got to the parking lot at what was our usual time for a 7:05 start we were surprised to see that the lot was full and people were hustling to the stadium. It then dawned on us that game time on Saturday is 6:35…so we were late. D’OH!

We rushed to our seats….and apparently, it seemed that quite a few people had done the same thing. After the National Anthem, our row still hadn’t filled in so I volunteered to go get us some soda. I was on my way to the stand and I looked over and saw a dear friend from college.

I HAD to stop and say, “Hi”. I sat and talked with her…and with the way the game started, it was good I was distracted. It was somewhere around the 5th inning when I looked up and saw the R-Phils were down 6-2. I realized that I had left before play had started so I rushed off to get Ross his soda.

I grabbed sodas and a couple of the BEST HOTDOGS IN BASEBALL (since I was gone so long) and hurried back.

It wasn’t until the bottom of the 8th that the R-Phils scored another run. I went down to stand next to the R-Phils dugout. I was afraid that this was going to be “one of those nights”. But then…I remembered the words of the great Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over, till it’s over!”

Then I looked down and next to the wall was a praying mantis…praying…and I thought if the mantis isn’t going to give up…neither am I.


Bottom of the 9th…the R-Phils started to battle back…and before my mantis friend could blink…we were tied! Fidel Hernandez was up with Brent Clevlen, who had just driven in a run, on second.

Hernandez is a nice guy, I had the pleasure of sitting with his wife and children at a game in Dunedin, Florida earlier in the season when Hernandez was still with the Clearwater Threshers. Really a sweet family.

So I’m hoping (and the mantis is praying) that Hernandez would do something…and he did. Hernandez hit a blooper that fell just behind the first baseman that allowed Clevlen to score from second and the crowd goes wild! THE PHILLIES WIN! Adam Brisco, the creator of the Brisco Disco led the crowd in a post-game dance while the team celebrated on the field. Ross was able to catch the hit and following celebration for me, you can watch it HERE.

I guess the prayers of a mantis must account for something, right?

Pence-ive About Harry the K

Betsy and the Harry Kalas Statue
Betsy and the Harry Kalas Statue

Once or twice a year, Ross takes me on the pilgrimage to Philly. Now, we live west of Harrisburg…normally a good two hours down the Turnpike to Citizens Bank Park. Since it was such a gorgeous day AND the American Idol tour had their concert in the Wachovia Center, we decided that we’d forgo the Turnpike and take a trip down Route 30.

It was a pleasant trip…you see things when you take a “less beaten” path. Like:

Payphone in a cornfield
Payphone in a cornfield

Yes, folks this is Amish country. Speaking of which, we were delayed a few minutes as we were caught behind an Amish buggy for about 3 miles. 🙂 (I could mention that a few years ago our car was actually sideswiped by an Amish buggy, but that’s a story for another day.)

Eventually we arrived in Philly and were there just after the gates opened. FIRST thing we did was head to the new statue of Harry Kalas.

It was dedicated (albeit delayed) Tuesday. I personally think it was an amazing likeness. So well done. Since were were some of the first there, the people taking pictures all took turns and I was lucky enough to get some very nice pictures (like the one at the top of the page) and the bonus is that there is no one else in the picture.

Harry Kalas Statue
Harry Kalas Statue
Intricate Detail of the Harry Kalas Statue
Intricate Detail of the Harry Kalas Statue
Plaque at Harry Kalas Statue
Plaque at Harry Kalas Statue

Of course we had to head to Harry the K’s restaurant for dinner. Where else would we eat after visiting the icon’s statue?

The Phils were taking batting practice. We were sitting just inside the patio at Harry the K’s and had to keep our heads up as Hunter Pence shelled the patio with long bombs. Almost half a dozen hit within a few feet of the patio, it was almost as if Pence was laying siege to Harry’s.

I had a cheesesteak, a pretty good one. Had I not had a Campo’s or Tony Luke’s steak the last few times I was at the park, it would have been the best I’d ever had.

After dinner, we wandered out to:

Ashbury Alley Sign
Ashbury Alley Sign

I made it a point to see John Kruk’s newly dedicated plaque.

John Kruk's Plaque
John Kruk’s Plaque

We stopped by the bullpen to watch Cliff Lee warm up. I was surprised to see the normally clean-shaven Lee sporting facial hair…could it be that he’s getting a head start on his play-off beard?

Cliff Lee warming up in the bullpen
Cliff Lee warming up in the bullpen

We wandered out to our seats in Pence-ylvania, in the 200 level in right field. Just before ascending the stairs our eyes caught sight of a shirt I JUST HAD TO HAVE….

Good Game, Let's go eat!
Good Game, Let’s go eat!

I also saw one of the strangest items…a Chase Utley hand puppet. The dolls, ok, I can see a little one sleeping with Chase Utley (!?!) but a hand puppet? I mean really, to use the puppet you had to put your hand…WHERE!?!

The Chase Utley Puppet--you put your hand WHERE?!?!?!
The Chase Utley Puppet–you put your hand WHERE?!?!?!

Ross and I took our seats and watched the players take the field. Michael Schwimer was just called up to the Phils from Lehigh Valley and he was given the honor of wearing the “rookie backpack and boa”. Schwimer wears Hello Kitty well.

Schwimmer wears the Hello Kitty rookie back pack
Schwimmer wears the Hello Kitty rookie back pack
Michael Schwimmer
Michael Schwimmer

Our seats were just above Ross’ new favorite player, Hunter Pence.

Hunter Pence
Hunter Pence

The game was amazing. Jimmy Rollins started off by hitting a homer on the very first pitch. Arizona came back in the 2nd to tie it 2-2. It stayed tied until Wilson Valdez hit a double to drive in 2 RBIs and the Phils were off to the races. The final was 9-2…

Citizens Bank Park at Sunset from our seats
Citizens Bank Park at Sunset from our seats

As the sun set over Citizens Bank Park. I was so happy to be there and I just smiled to myself and thought…

Birthdays, Baseball and Bryce Harper

Birthdays are the best with friends and baseball. The birthday girl is on the left.
Birthdays are the best with friends and baseball. The birthday girl is on the left.

Baseball…as American as apple pie and birthdays. A dear friend of mine and her father recently celebrated their birthdays together by renting a suite at the Harrisburg Senators game. Ross and I had a great time. I got to see friends that I’ve known since high school.

Harrisburg was playing the Trenton Thunder…seems like it was a trend…going to a ballgame and seeing Trenton. I mean, it was only a month ago that we went to Trenton. Trenton is in the hunt for a playoff berth and is obviously pushing to make it.

They were on Harrisburg early, scoring a grand slam in the first inning. Sadly, for Harrisburg, it was down hill from there.

Prospect Bryce Harper
Prospect Bryce Harper

I consider myself lucky…I’ve gotten to see phenom Bryce Harper play twice this year. (Almost got to see him in Hagerstown when we went to see the BlueClaws play, but he was resting on the bench that night.)

(Edited to add: It was unfortunate that only days later Harper would suffer a season-ending hamstring injury)

I’ll admit, I didn’t pay as much attention to the game as I usually do, but heck, I was with my girlfriends…at a baseball game! It was a birthday! As a bonus, I got to talk to two of my friends’ moms and I hadn’t seen them in quite a while either. Baseball…the great reunificator!

The one thing that did catch my attention…The Presidents of the United States! If you’ve read my blog for any about of time, you know I’m a sucker for a good gimmick. I love the between innings silliness. It’s always good for a laugh. Since Harrisburg is affiliated with the Washington Nationals, the Nationals sent their famous Presidents for the Presidents’ Race. The race itself was enhanced by Harrisburg’s Monkeys. Don’t ask me why in the world Harrisburg has simians. I don’t know. All I can tell you is these monkeys showed up this season and tend to pop up quite often in these on the field events.

The President’s pre-race dance….Go Abe!

Dead Presidents Dance
Dead Presidents Dance

The monkeys are in hot pursuit!

The presidents are monkeys?????
The presidents are chased…by monkeys?????

It’s Abe Lincoln at the tape!

It's Lincoln by a nose!
It’s Lincoln by a nose!

I just want to take this opportunity to wish my dear friend and her father a very happy birthday and thank them for the AWESOME evening!

A Howling Good Time at Bark in the Park!

The entire "Baseball" family, Maggie, Veronica, Betsy and Ross
The entire “Baseball” family, Maggie, Veronica, Betsy and Ross

Last night was “Bark in the Park”, a night to take your pup to the park. Our girls, Shih Tzus, are small and very well behaved but would they be able to handle the crowd?

Maggie will be 11 and Veronica is 4. The weather was perfect and they had on their little pink baseball jerseys and their Reading Phillies leashes. We carried them where it was crowded because they are so small, they are easy for people to step on.

Ryan "Mad Dog" Madson
Ryan “Mad Dog” Madson

The give away was a Ryan “Mad Dog” Madson statue. Likely one of the nicest statues I’ve seen as a giveaway.

First up, dinner! There is a place that is out of the way where Ross and I usually eat our hotdogs so I went there with the puppies and waited. They shared a bit of hot dog and we bought them water. (The only “diva” behavior they have is that they will NOT drink from a community bowl”)

We then went over to the fence to watch the R-Phils players walk in. Tyler Cloyd, the starting pitcher, saw the girls and stopped to give them a scratch on the head. They loved it.

We went up to our seats. Each puppy was entitled to a seat with the purchase of their ticket. However, with our girls being so small, they shared.

Maggie and Veronica share their seat
Maggie and Veronica share their seat

I was afraid that the crowd noise might frighten them but they didn’t really seem to mind once they got settled. There was another Shih Tzu sitting behind them. Once each pup said, “Hello”, they all settled in.

I think the funniest part of the night was when the National Anthem was sung. While the ladies who performed were talented, many dogs howled along. It was so hilarious!

For the first three or four innings, there was no one sitting directly in front of us so Maggie and Veronica sat up and seemed to actually be watching the game.

Maggie and Veronica watching the Reading Phillies
Maggie and Veronica watching the Reading Phillies

It was only after people sat in front of us that they finally laid down on the seat. The R-Phils were off to a rough start. They fell behind early. By the 8th inning they were battling back. Maggie put on her rally cap.

Maggie wears her rally cap
Maggie wears her rally cap

The R-Phils tied it up! Lucky puppy! The tension mounted as the R-Phils battled. Maggie finally decided she had enough…she couldn’t watch anymore.

Maggie can't bear to watch
Maggie can’t bear to watch

It wasn’t long after that that the game went into the 10th inning. Even Veronica, my peppy puppy, was exhausted.

Veronica falls asleep in the 10th using her sister as a pillow
Veronica falls asleep in the 10th using her sister as a pillow

Unfortunately, the Bowie Baysox were able to take the lead and hold it.

Even though our boys lost…we had a great time. I had never thought that our “fuzzy children” would have been able to have such an absolutely wonderful time. I didn’t see a single dog in attendance that misbehaved any more than any human child. There was one dachshund who did get a little barky at the end of the night…but then again there was a two-year old screaming as well.

For me, this literally was easily one of the top twenty nights of my life. The weather was perfect and we were able to spend the night with our pups doing something we love. I don’t think life can be much better than that.

That’s what I love about baseball. Fun for the whole family, whether your family members have two legs or four.

A League of Their Own

(This is a recreation of the original post that had been on the blog section of It was lost when I upgraded the website so I have recreated it from the original saved file from 2011.)

Before the movie, “A League of Their Own” few people born after the 1950’s knew of the women of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. Phillip K. Wrigley, of Wrigley Gum and Chicago Cubs fame, wanted to keep baseball in the public eye during World War II, when most able-bodied men were away fighting.

These woman played professional sport at a time when most women would be expected to stay home, have babies and keep house; MAY BE have a job such as a secretary, but professional sports? It was unheard of. They likely didn’t know it at the time, but they started to break down the barriers, break the stereotypes that allow women to do what ever they want to do today.

Sara Jane "Salty" Sands of the Rockford Peaches
Sara Jane “Salty” Sands of the Rockford Peaches

Along this line, other than the fact that I, myself appreciate this, what stood out to me, was the little girl in the teal shirt in the first photo above. She was so excited to meet these ladies, she asked to have her picture taken with each and every one of them. For any other little girl, you might have thought that there were six Justin Beibers up there signing autographs. She was nearly in tears to see these ladies who were clearly heroes to her.

Ruth Hartman sits at the Head of the table in Red.
Ruth Hartman sits at the Head of the table in Red.
The All American Girls in Reading

When you look at the pictures of the ball below, you will see that these ladies just didn’t sign their name and pass the ball, they each noted what teams they played with and when. Ruth Kramer Hartman “The Queen of Baseballtown” made the comment to me, “These boys today, they just scribble on the ball. You can hardly read them.” It was obvious that they took this seriously and it meant something to them as well.

ALOTO ball 4
Virginia Ventura 1951-53 Rockford Peaches Gert Alderfer Chicago Colleens (1950), Kalamazoo Lassies (1950), Springfield Sallies (1949)
ALOTO ball 3
Joanne McComb Springfield Sallies 1950
ALOTO ball 2
Sara Jane “Salty” Sands Rockford Peaches 1953-1954 Gloria Cordes Elliott All Star Team (1952, 1953, 1954), Battle Creek Belles (1951), Kalamazoo Lassies (1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954), Muskegon Lassies (1950), Racine Belles (1950)
Ruth Hartman's Autograph
Ruth Hartman Fort Wayne Daisies (1946), Grand Rapids Chicks (1947), Racine Belles (1946)

I think one of the more telling moments was when the gentleman behind me in line saw Sara Jane “Salty” Sands “Baseball Hall of Fame” t-shirt. He asked her, “Oh so you’re in the women’s hall of fame.” She gave him the eye and said, “No, THE Hall of Fame, the one in COOPERSTOWN, New York.” I was so proud of her.

Ruth Hartman-Queen of Baseballtown Trophy
Ruth Hartman-Queen of Baseballtown Trophy

As I mentioned earlier, Ruth Kramer Hartman is a Queen of Baseballtown. A King or Queen of Baseballtown is honored every year for their accomplishments and contributions to baseball/softball. Since 2003, only 8 people have been so honored…Ruth is the only woman, so far.

My first contact with Ruth was several years ago. Since retiring from teaching, Ruth has gone on to raise sheep for competition. Ross’ cousin also raises sheep. So one cold January, Ross and I went to the Pennsylvania Farm Show to check out the animals and see his cousin’s sheep.

While we were standing there in the livestock barn, this lively lady walks by and says hello to Ross’ cousin and he introduced us and we spoke for a few minutes. After she left, Ross’ cousin told us who she was and that while they had been friends for years, she had only mentioned to him a few months earlier her storied past. Ross’ cousin was involved in a charity auction and asked for just a signed baseball. She sent a number of items, not just a ball. Ross’ cousin was astounded by her kindness and generosity.

I suppose I should mention that there was a game in Reading last night as well.

Austin Hyatt coming off a series of well-pitched games started for the Reading Phillies. Chuck LaMar, the Director of the Phillies Minor League system as sitting behind home plate. He was obviously there to check on Hyatt’s development.

I was late getting to my seat as I had been getting my ball autographed. It wasn’t even the end of the first inning and Hyatt was out. He gave up 4 runs and was pulled after only two outs. Hyatt seemed unable to find the strike zone and his night was over early.

It was a rough night in Baseballtown. Behind by 5 in only the first inning, it looked to be a long night. Brent Clevlen did get a homer but they did little else.

In the 9th, they started to rally back…they fought to within one and with 2 outs and the bases loaded they brought in a new pitcher to pitch to Derrick Mitchell. Sunday night, Mitchell was hot, hitting a home run, a triple and a double, so it was apparent that the Baysox wanted to bring in a fresh arm. Alas, there was no joy in Baseballtown, the mighty Mitchell was struck out.