Thursday, August 23, 2007

Day 3- Greensboro

Before I start on Day 3, allow me to clean up one missing thing from Day 2 that I started to mention and one that I did not.
The reason that I mentioned Wade Townsend would be heading back to the clubhouse quickly was because he was thrown from the premises for arguing the second pitch of the game.
A Catfish hit a long ball to left that was called foul brought a argument from the Columbus dugout,most notably from Townsend.
Townsend was kicked out of the game,not to be seen until the 4th inning,as Wade carried 3 of the largest sandwiches I have ever seen to the clubhouse where he remained.
The other was Ryan's near punch-out with Conrad Crawdad.
Ryan is not the most patient person in the world with mascots as it is,but after taking 3 "shots" to the head from Conrad he was near retaliation.
However Conrad crawled away and all violence was avoided!.
Conrad was all riled up as the woman sitting in front of us had a strong resemblance to Jenny McCarthy and the lady must have known it,as she did the whole McCarthy shtick from the laugh to the voice to similar face making etc.
After 5 minutes of this over the top stuff,the guy in the suit likely was kinda hyped up.

Upon a early rise for the drive to Greensboro,we left Hickory and since we were doing well on time,decided to look for the campus bookstore of Wake Forest university in Winston-Salem.
All though my ACC allegiance has always been to Maryland,when Wake Forest hired the recently departed Skip Prosser to lead the basketball program,Wake immediately zoomed up my list and I wanted to see if I could pick up some Wake gear.
We did have a strict time constraint to get to Greensboro though,so time was limited.
After two unsuccessful times around the small,yet beautiful campus,we asked a maintenance worker on directions to Ernie Shore Field.
Ernie Shore is the home of the Carolina Leagues Winston-Salem Warthogs and thought it would be an easy picture stop.
It not only was not hard to find,it is next door to Wake Forest's Groves Stadium home to the Football Deacons.
So we were able to get some pictures of the renovations that Wake is doing to Groves Stadium as well.
To get to the Stadium from WFU,you need to turn left on Tim Duncan drive,which I was sure to get Ryan to take a pic of the street sign.
The Employees there ranked right up there with the most friendly that we got to meet and when two of the field staff said that Ernie Shore "was a dump",the 3 of us were in a race to spit out "This is a dump?You have never been to Hagerstown"!!
I think Battlin Bob won that race,too bad we didnt have Jim Cornette with us for that!
After some more talk and a stop at the team shop for a team set that we will hopefully get signed when the Warthogs visit Frederick on Labor Day weekend,we were on our way.
I thought Ernie Shore Field was kinda charming and it will be a 2008 stop,as Winston-Salem is building a downtown stadium for the Warthogs that opens in 2009.
Wake Forest is buying the field for one dollar from the city.
Bargain buy for the Deacs!

Getting from Winston-Salem to Greensboro was quite easy,but upon paying 5 dollars to park,the Hoppers didn't get off to a good start with me.
I am sure we could have found a cheaper lot,but this one was right across the street from First Horizon Park,where we were rewarded with a 30 min wait to buy tickets even though their sign suggested the ticket office should have been open from the time we arrived.
I had been tipped off by fans that had been to FHP before about the security there and that they were vigilant to say the least.
They checked my briefcase on the way,which is never a problem and we were off to try to get as many Rome Braves as possible.
The home Grasshoppers were leaving to come to Hagerstown after the game,so we decided to ignore them altogether and work on them in Hagerstown.
Both teams come down a tunnel and enter the field that you have little access to.
You are to the side and up from the players,so this is a tough place for sure.
With Rome having no numbers on the front of their jerseys,the players were hard to identify,but Battlin Bob stood over the tunnel entrance and flashed the numbers down.
This was helpful and effective as much as it could be.
All and all,we got a few,but not as many as we would have liked,but we were warned about Greensboro before we tried.

Honestly,this would not have been a stop if it was not an afternoon game on our getaway day,so whatever we got was a bonus.
The park itself is gorgeous and terrific to watch,the problem on this day was the heat and with very little to protect you from the Sun,we threw in the towel quickly and decided to stop in Danville Virginia for a shot at Dan Daniel Field and the Appy Leagues Danville Braves.
The map showed that Danville was right on the way between Greensboro and Lynchburg.
A look at Miss Babe Ruth,a Lab puppy that is the bat dog at certain points of the game in action was pretty neat.
A cute dog and well trained too,although Battlin Bob said she took a leak on the field in pre-game.
I missed that one,but I will take his word for it.

A few days back,I talked to Greensboro 1st baseman,Logan Morrison about Miss Babe and he told me the money she brings in.......
Wow,Hagerstown should try the dog gimmick out.
Miss Babe Ruth wears a green vest with a local sponsor and the sponsor pays 20 grand a year to be on the vest!
Plus the sponsor on her dog house pays another 30,000 for that!
Add in her merchandise sales and this is a big money maker for the team.
So,here is an easy one to our Suns employee readers,try this instead of Plunger night!
But the promised security staff had one more gasp.
As Ryan went into the team store for a Hoppers shirt, I got my keys out as Battlin Bob and I stood by the exit waiting for Ryan,so we could go.
The Guard,hollered "hey You" twice and then a 3rd time,Finally I asked "me?".
Yeah,me....the guard had seen a Swiss army kit on my key ring and asked if it was a knife.
Well,yeah I guess in the same way that it is also a can opener and toothpick.
He asked about taking it,I refused by saying "My son is in the team shop,when he comes out we are leaving,I will stand here,so there is no trouble".
He agreed and said "next time don't bring it".
No problem.

In closing ,Greensboro is a more urban setting than any of the places that we visited and the stadium is dazzling,but take our advice-go to a night game if you can!
The autograph side is underwhelming,keep that in mind if you are a collector.
So,I would put Greensboro in the same section as Altoona-Great park to watch a game,not very good for autographs.

Until next time when we finish up in Lynchburg

Photo Credits-Ryan Heimberger

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