Monday, July 30, 2012

Northwoods League All-Star Festivities

All photos of NWL All-Star Game & Homerun Derby available on Flickr.

The Northwoods League All-Star Game was played at Warner Park this year, and I had tickets to the game as part of my 7-pack.  I was super excited to see this game, and particularly the homerun derby.  The Mallards also hosted the game at "The Duck Pond" in 2008, but I came in from Milwaukee for that game so I missed the derby.  This year, it took place immediately prior to the game, so I got to be a part of a homerun derby for the first time ever in person.  Erik and I got to the park at about 5:30 for a 6:00 start and immediately obtained the giveaway Pilot Maynard bobbleheads (in reference to the Dane County Airport sponsor) and a couple cold ones and found a spot on the lawn in left field.  Only the Mallards would give away a bobblehead at an all-star game, and it is definitely one of the top 5 favorites in my collection (it now proudly sits on my desk at work next to my Admirals Uecker doll).  I was surprised how few people were actually at the derby, but I suppose there were a lot of people still working or who might have not even known about the derby.  The berm area started to fill in as the contest went on, but we were still able to run around pretty easily and caught a total of 3 homerun balls.  I thought for sure with the short porches down the lines that the record of 33 bombs in Wisconsin Rapids would be shattered, but 24 was enough to win it for 1B Trevor Podratz of the Rochester Honkers. Tyler "T-Money" Marincov was the home team participant and unfortunately had the poorest showing of the 8 contestants with 2 in the first round.  I'm pretty certain that Warner Park is the only ballpark in the league with outfield seating, so I imagine this contest is pretty lame everywhere else, but Erik and I had a great time.

On to the game, the South Division All-Stars won a wild one, 4-3.  The North took a 2-1 lead on a throw from right field that had the runner nailed by 30 feet but the catcher dropped the ball.  The South regained the lead 3-2 in the 6th on back-to-back solo jacks, but the North responded right back to tie the game on a questionable call by the umpire.  The South appeared to get out of a bases-loaded jam with a 1-2-3 double play, but the home plate ump ruled that the catcher never had his foot on the base, so the tying run was allowed to score.  Later amidst the confusion, the other two runners for the North were wandering towards the dugout because they too assumed it was a double play, but the South 1B made a heads-up play and tagged one of the stray runners to complete the 3rd out and end the inning.  The following inning, Tyler Marincov made up for his poor HR Derby showing with the game-winning homer to left.  He was the only player to play the entire game, and was awarded the game MVP for his efforts.  As of last week, he was leading the league in BA and HR and top 3 in RBI, so he's put together a nice little season despite primarily hitting leadoff for the Mallards.  We had great seats right behind the visitors dugout and it was an awesome game to watch from up close.  To see all these kids who've probably never met talk shop and goof around with each other, it really reminds you that baseball is meant to be fun. 

My recommendation to the league for next year would be to bring in a ringer from Thunder Bay to sing "O Canada," because every game I have been in which the Border Cats were an opponent, the anthem has been horribly, horribly botched.  I think at least at the All-Star Game, you should show a little respect and not just have some hobo out there reading a notecard.  If all else fails, I'll volunteer myself, I have it on my iPod.

NWL All-Star Game rosters

first half winners - Mankato (N), La Crosse (S)
MVP - Tyler Marincov (MAD)

pitchers of record - Alex Tukey (W), Patrick Goelz (L)

attendance - 6073

stadium - Warner Park, Madison WI

Brewers 45-56, -16.0 (3 v. Astros, 3 @ Cardinals)
Reds 61-40, +3.0 (4 v. Padres, 3 v. Pirates)
Twins 43-58, -12.0 (3 v. White Sox, 4 @ Red Sox)

Erik - 22
Peter - 31

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