There will be much more coming from the weekend I spent in Lansing, particularly a feature story that I’m working on publishing somewhere that will get more eyeballs than my own modest little blog, but fear not Blue Jays from Away fans, this week’s podcast will be a Lansing Lugnuts special!
Before I get to it, I want to heartily thank all the people in Lansing that made my stay there so enjoyable. First and foremost, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, the radio voice of the Lugnuts, did no more for me than he does for any other member of the media or even interested party in the Lugnuts. And that’s not a slight. It just shows how generous with his time and how committed he is to having people see what a professional and first-class organization the Lugnuts are. He’s always smiling and working to bring the Lugnuts to Lansing’s community. His partner on the air is Slavko Bekovic who was just as kind with his time and energy. Slavko was very helpful in introducing me to some of the players and getting some interviews that you all will hear on Thursday.
There were two bloggers who live in or near Lansing and cover the Lugnuts for some Blue Jays blogs including Brian Crawford (jaysprospects.com) and Chad Hillman (okbluejays.com). These two guys were instrumental in showing me around: showing me what seats we could sit in, giving me pointers on which of the players were good to talk to (all of them). I also enjoyed talking to Tim, the official scorer for the Lugnuts as well as several other members of the staff.
Here’s a brief outline of my weekend in Lansing:
Friday – Arrive at the ballpark around 4:30pm. Catch the end of batting practice. Went to the clubhouse and spoke to Aaron Munoz, Tucker Donahue and relief pitcher Chuck Ghysels. Watched the game with Chad Hillman. Heard from Manager John Tamargo Jr. after the game.
Saturday – Got away from baseball for a while (went shopping a bit at Target and saw Iron Man 3). Went to the ballpark and watched BP. Interviewed Chris Hawkins before the game (he went 4 for 5 Saturday night). Dropped in and said hello to the umpires before the game. Saw Justin Jackson’s professional debut on the mound watching from the Press Box, sitting next to the official scorer. I also eavesdropped for a couple of innings in the radio booth, and helped them find an obscure rule that the umpires enforced during the game (umpires know how to read a rule book). After the game, I went down to the umpires’ room and discussed the play with them.
Sunday – Went to a Lansing bookstore. They were having a signing/panel discussion with several baseball writers who live in the area, including Gary Gillette, Peter Morris and Tom Stanton. Lugnuts broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, who had invited me, also had his book, The Baseball Thesaurus, available (you should check it out). Went to the ballpark. Caught the end of BP, went to the clubhouse for some more interviews (Christian Lopes, Wil Browning, Justin Jackson). Did an interview with the umpires for a future podcast. Watched the game (a win!) from the stands and the press box and then went down to the clubhouse after the game. I talked to Tucker Donahue after a really good outing for him and did a quick interview with Dalton Pompey as he was going to go see his Mom who had come down from Mississauga for a visit. I also had to hit the road immediately for the almost 5 hour drive back to Toronto.
That was pretty much my weekend in Lansing. Lots of ball, lots of classy people in the Lugnuts organization (and Blue Jays organization) and they’re genuinely pleased to be affiliated with the Blue Jays. I’ll have more details in another post tomorrow.
Don’t forget to follow some cool people on Twitter:
Jesse Goldberg-Strassler – @jgoldstrass
Slavko Bekovic – @Sbekovic
Chad Hillman – @hillmanchad
Brian Crawford – @CrawDaddy222
Blue Jays from Away – @Jaysfromaway