Thursday, April 6, 2017
Meeting the Curve and Meeting the Suns-A tale of two evenings
Tuesday night in Altoona PA,I attended the Altoona Curve's event with Derreck Chupak,Doug Hopkins and Kendall Morris.
Kendall,Doug and I had done last years event and had such a great time that we recommended Derreck come along.
The Curve uses the Lakemont Park casino for their event and they clearly do it right.
The Curve sells tickets to the event,so they make some money there,but for what you get for a more than reasonable 12 dollars,you walk away very pleased.
For your twelve dollars,you receive a buffet dinner with grilled chicken,potatoes and various vegetables,free sodas and beer,if you prefer for a price.
Add the Curve introducing the players in a pretty neat ceremony in the hall and it's a nice dinner.
The team then has the players go into another banquet room,where they are seated and ready to sign whatever items that you have.
This years team features a first and second round pick from the 2015 draft in Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer as well as hard throwing pitcher Yeudy Garcia.
Newman will likely be an early promotee to AAA Indianapolis with a decent start with the stick with Kramer being the starter at second.
During the dinner,we talked about Altoona having a great giveaway handed to them.
Imagine a double bobblehead with Newman and Kramer in full Seinfield regalia-I'm not a huge fan of the show,but that would be quite cool!
Garcia was a mild surprise in starting at AA,but he's 24 and the Pirates are attempting to accelerate his development.
Thanks so much to Brett Shaw for always thinking of us and for his work in getting us tickets along with the Curve for a fun event....
And then there were the Hagerstown Suns.
That's not said with malice,its more along the lines for being resigned to failure.
The Suns did start with a good move in leaving the former home for the event.
They wanted to go to a more family friendly locale' and I liked that idea.
I had thought that for years and the decision made was a good one.
The chosen spot was Bulls n Bears in downtown Hagerstown,which is a well thought of restaurant,but one that involved going downtown,which in Hagerstown is rarely a plus because the amount of one way streets make getting anywhere a grind.
The Suns were a little late in starting things,but it was for a good reason-the players had not all arrived yet!
I can understand not being able to find Bulls and Bears,if you aren't a local,so I was OK with that.
We waited outside (Doug Hopkins,Fred and Michael Landucci) and chatted while a volunteer kept the parking deck rolling.
There wasn't many of us,maybe 10-15 people at most as the "general public".
I like to play by the rules and I don't like to slide in as something that I'm not-which in this case was a season ticket holder.
Now this is where,many of you would like me to discuss the incident that happened here,judging by my blown up email/Facebook account.
I'll discuss it privately with anyone that wants to discuss,but not here.
Why when I normally write about incidents?
I gave my word about not wanting issues and I'll stand by that.
I go to games to relax and have fun,not to be harassed and conversely,they have a job to do,no matter my opinions on their decisions.
Therefore,in the spirit of wanting to enjoy my hobby-I'm letting it go....
I was able to get the cards that I needed finished,most notably 18 year old phenom Juan Soto,first rounder Carter Kieboom and some other cards for Kendall Morris,who was unable to make it this time.
You didn't have as much space as Altoona,but it was decent enough access and the players were affable enough.
I was able to talk a bit with the new radio voice of the Suns,Kevin Gehl.
Gehl,who comes here from the Big 10 network and formerly the voice of the Lansing Lugnuts (low A Midwest League) ,talked about working toward returning the Suns to local airwaves (great idea) and some of the events that he covered on the Big 10 network.
I'm hoping to have Kevin on the podcast sometime this year,which he agreed to do.
Gehl looks to be a huge upgrade for the Suns broadcasts and I'm a little surprised that the Suns were able to attract an announcer with his resume'..
On the overall,an improved edition of Meet the Suns with some highs and lows.
I'd still recommend a bigger venue with easier access,but this was an improved version over past ones and with a few wrinkles,this could be a nice event in the future....
I'm going to try to return later with either previews or at least a short prediction post,depending on the amount of time that I have available.