A Few Thoughts on Our Calgary Vipers

The thought of losing the Calgary Vipers makes me feel sick to my stomach.

All I know is what has already been printed in the papers, but it doesn’t look good for professional baseball in our city, and that’s a real shame.

While we all sit and wait on what the future holds for our beloved Vipers, I thought I’d reminisce over what I gained as a Vipers fan.

First and foremost, being there as the Calgary Vipers won the 2009 GBL Championship still stands as my #1 all-time favourite moment on fandom in any sport and for any team. That was the year I started this blog (which I only planned on doing for one year at the time, but I got a lot of positive comments and decided to carry through) and even though I was still just a fan with no special access or privileges, I felt more connected to that 2009 Calgary Vipers team than any other sports team I’ve followed. Evan Greusel (the only ace pitcher/pitching coach I’ve seen) earned the win that night. I’m really happy that team got to drink champagne.

I liked the Foothills Stadium experience. The beer vendors were hard working and made sure I was never thirsty. The cheese fries became a regular supper. I even got to participate in a few on-field events and finished with a .500 record for the inflatable horse race.

My wife is a huge Drew Miller fan (so am I, but she takes precedent) and we often marveled at his batting stance and his power. Those were home run bucket toonies well spent. Plus, he gave my wife a hat.

I gained a new all-time favourite baseball player in “The Cobra Clutch” Joe Sergent. As a kid growing up I liked Marquis Grissom of the Expos but Sergent became the new #1. I actually got to talk to him a few times and he was gracious, informative, and genuine – plus a damn good pitcher. Watching him pitch 6 perfect innings one summer afternoon was a highlight.

Tracking Darryl Brinkley and then Nelson Castro chase and achieve .400 batting averages was a thrill. How many sports fans can say they saw a player on their team bat .400? How many can say they saw two?

And not only did I get to watch MVPs in action, I also got to see Colin Moro, a local kid, earn Rookie of the Year honours. He was certainly a favourite.

On the other side of the ball, I enjoyed watching good defense from the likes of Fehlandt Lentini, Jonny Kaplan, Louis Templeton, Jose Mejia, and many more. You can never take good defense for granted in indy ball.

The sounds we all like from a baseball park were as clear at Foothills Stadium as they were anywhere else. When a pitcher was warming up in the bullpen, you could get close enough to hear the air tearing up. Incredible.

Thanks to this blog I not only got comments from Calgary Vipers players, but also from their moms – which was actually quite touching. I don’t know what other sport league presents a simple fan with these kinds of opportunities.

Posted in Calgary Vipers, Independent Baseball, North American League | 7 Comments

GLOB Scorecard

It was a nice night for baseball, and to test out my new GLOB Scorecard (GLOB = Getting Legitimately On Base).

Basically my GLOB Scorecard tracks who (legitimately) got on base (errors, fielder’s choices, etc will still get you an “x”). It’s a quicker form of scorekeeping which affords me more time to watch the game (and drink!). A coloured-in square means the hitter got on base, an “x” means he didn’t. I think the rest of the scorecard speaks for itself (which means it probably doesn’t), but if there are any questions about it, leave me a comment :-)

Posted in Calgary Vipers, Chico Outlaws | Leave a comment

Yet Another Baseball Game Cancelled

Not to be outdone by a Lake County Fielders game being cancelled earlier this season due to a lack of baseballs, tonight’s Calgary Vipers game (a Friday night game with perfect weather, mind you) has been cancelled because the Chico Outlaws can’t (or won’t) get here on time.

From the Vipers’ press release:

“After playing at home last night the Outlaws flight this morning to Calgary was cancelled.”

If the Golden… err… North American League want to be treated like a professional sports league, it has to stop doing things that other professional sports leagues don’t do!

I found three direct flights online today that would have got the Outlaws from San Francisco (a three hour drive from Chico) to Calgary in time to play “professional” baseball today. Why didn’t anyone from Chico or Calgary try this? Defeatist attitude, I guess.

If there’s one point that has been driven home to me against my will in my years of Vipers fandom (including running this blog for three seasons) it’s that most people in Calgary – including baseball fans – don’t take the Vipers seriously, and it’s for reasons like this.

UPDATE. Here’s a response from Vipers GM Patrick Haas:

“Hey I want to let you know that the Outlaws had flights scheduled this morning from Sacramento to Seattle and Seattle into Calgary. Unfortunately the flight from Sacramento to Seattle was cancelled and all other flights were sold out. They tried to only send ten players but even that wasn’t possible. We also looked into flights out of San Francisco and the only one still available landed in Calgary at 6:16 pm.”

I’m happy about the response, but still obviously disappointed about the lack of baseball tonight and the way it was originally communicated. See you Saturday, I guess.

Posted in Calgary Vipers, Chico Outlaws, Lake County Fielders, North American League | 3 Comments

My First Attempt at an On-Base Scorecard

Here’s the score card I made up this afternoon to give a quick visual of who’s getting on base an who’s making outs. It’s way simpler than the scorecards I normally keep which affords me more time to watch the game and drink beer (tip your beer guy generously, folks)

Here’s a closer look on how the Vipers made out at the plate during their 10-7 win over Chico today.

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Mayor Nenshi at a Calgary Vipers Game

Mayor Naheed Nenshi was on the hallowed grounds of Foothills Stadium tonight for the first pitch, but he didn’t actually throw the first pitch. C’mon Mayor, we want to see that arm!

Posted in Calgary Vipers, Chico Outlaws | Tagged | 1 Comment

Slider vs. Billy

Battle Royal, live at Foothills Stadium tonight!

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Oh Rain

Due to a Calgary Transit delay, it was a packed train ride (Snakes on a Train!) to Foothills Stadium.

Then as the game started and the Vipers dug themselves an early 3-0 hole in the first, the sky watching began.

And then the skies opened up am down came the rain and hail. The Vipers get a mulligan and a fresh start tomorrow.

The batboys ran around and slid on the tarps for our entertainment until they actually called the game.

Posted in Calgary Vipers, Edmonton Capitals | Leave a comment

Fireworks Night at Foothills Stadium

A very strong crowd was on hand to witness Fireworks Night on the Hallowed Grounds of Foothills Stadium tonight.

What? Jose Canseco was playing and Managing as well? He hit a bomb? His Yuma Scorpions beat the valiant Calgary Vipers 13-8 (or something like that)? Well, I guess there was that too.

Posted in Calgary Vipers, Yuma Scorpions | Tagged | 1 Comment

Former Viper Kit Pellow goes Hollywood

According to IMDb, Ryan McCann will be playing the role of Kit Pellow in the movie adaptation of Moneyball. This has breakout role written all over it.

You might Kit Pellow batting clean-up for the 2009 Golden League Champion Calgary Vipers on the night they won it all. He went 3 for 6 with 4 RBIs in the biggest game in Vipers history.

Posted in Calgary Vipers | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Louie Templeton owns Third Base

One of the highlights of this early season homestand has been watching Louie “Louie” Templeton man third base. He’s slick with the glove, makes strong accurate throws, and always gives a max effort. He’s worth the price of a ticket.

Here’s some more pics:

As for the second half of today’s, double header.

Bryan Burke got tossed by an ump who thought the strike zone went from chin to shoelaces when the Vipers were batting.

Another game another home run by TBFTH Drew Miller. He’s costing me a lot of money with the home run bucket.

Local boy Aaron Dunsmore made a fool of the Outlaws LF in the 5th. He also made a web gem of a diving catch in RF in the 6th.

Maybe I’ve had too much to drink by now.

Bruins fans outnumbered Canucks fans at the ballpark as per a “who can scream louder” survey.

Remember Louis Templeton? 3-run bomb in the 5th. There’s a big bat to go with his stellar D.

What did Darrick Hale of the Outlaws do to get the brunt of the heckling? Whatevs, it was funny.

There was a bunny on the field with Calgary batting in the 7th inning. I didn’t get a good picture of it, but…

Calgary got down early 5-0 and 7-1, but battled back to make the score 8-7 with the tying run on third with two outs for “Jammin’” Jeff Giacomini in the bottom of the 7th (last) inning. The Outlaws were scared so they intentionally walked him to get to PH (but usually a pitcher) Garret Holleran. He made a hard out that went 4-3 and the Vipers comeback fell short.

Posted in Calgary Vipers, Chico Outlaws | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments