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Big Daddy Baseball League

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July 8-9, 2016

BDBL Weekend 2016: Pittsburgh

By Mike Glander
BDBL Staff

PITTSBURGH, PA - A total of seven BDBL members -- including a surprise guest! -- attended BDBL Weekend in Pittsburgh during the second weekend in July. We witnessed two exciting games between the hometown Pirates and the visiting Chicago Cubs. We ate a belly-busting amount of unhealthy food, downed a healthy amount of beer, and spent most of the weekend talking about how foolish I was to trade Kris Bryant (or so it seemed.)

Ryan and I arrived early on Friday morning. Needing to kill some time, we had breakfast at the airport before heading to the hotel. As we had to wake up at around 3:30 that morning, Ryan decided to stay awake through the night. By the time our room was ready, he collapsed on the bed and was out cold within seconds. At that point, I decided to call an old high school friend, and we met for lunch at a place called Burgatory. (Great burger, by the way.)

I returned to the hotel to find Ryan awake and hungry. With hours to kill before the next attendee arrived, we ventured over to the Azteca restaurant next door. A couple hours later we were joined by Mike Ranney, who drove down all the way from upstate New York. The three of us had a good time catching up on BDBL history and discussing world events.

By the time Greg Newgard arrived, we headed straight to the ballpark via our first Uber trip. The first game was a matchup between Jake Arrieta and Francisco Liriano. The hometown Bucs got on the board early thanks to a solo blast by David Freese in the second inning. Granite State's own Sean Rodriguez then added a two-run blast to make it a 3-0 game.

The Cubs got on the board in the fourth inning, and a Miguel Montero homer tied it all up in the sixth. Chicago then went ahead when Anthony Rizzo homered off of Salem bum Neftali Feliz in the seventh inning.

With Arrieta still on the hill in the bottom of that inning, John Jaso tied the score with a sac fly. The crowd then erupted when the next batter, Gregory Polanco, grounded to first, and Rizzo air-mailed it into right field. That error gave Pittsburgh a 5-4 lead. The Pirates tacked on three more runs over the next two innings to make it an 8-4 game, and that's how this one would end.

After the game, we Uber'ed it back to the hotel and eventually made it out to a bar managed by that old high school friend of mine. We had some more unhealthy food, drank some more beer, questioned my trade of Kris Bryant again, and called it a night.

After having lunch at the Tilted Kilt on Saturday morning, we hitched another ride to the ballpark later that afternoon to meet up with Matt Clemm and Mike Stein. Unbeknownst to them, I had also been contacted by a surprise guest the previous day, who indicated that he may show up for the game.

Through a bustling crowd of people gathered along the street outside of the stadium, I saw a man who rose head-and-shoulders above the others. And that is when I finally met one of this league's founding fathers, D.J. Shepard. Of the 23 other current owners in the BDBL, I have now personally met 19 of them. (Rodney, Bart, and Kyle, you need to remedy that. Peburn, perhaps it's better this way.)

After exchanging a few barbs outside of the ballpark and questioning my Kris Bryant trade once again, we headed inside to see Jon Lester face someone named Chad Kuhl. Future BDBL first-ballot Hall of Famer Ben Zobrist wasted no time making Kuhl look like the rookie chump that he is, and deposited a ball into the right field bleachers to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead. The Pirates struck back in the second, scoring three runs to take the lead. The last of those runs came on a throwing error by Bear Country's Wilsson Contreras, which will undoubtedly harm the Bear Country franchise going forward.

Chicago tied it up in the third inning, and the Bucs quickly untied it in the bottom of the inning on solo homers by McCutchen and Rodriguez. Rizzo tied the game yet again for Chicago in the fourth inning. Then, in the fourth, McCutchen delivered a clutch two-out base hit that plated a pair of runs to give Pittsburgh a 7-5 lead.

All hell broke loose in the fifth inning. Josh Bell had made his MLB debut during Friday night's game, and singled in his first Major League at-bat. In the fifth inning of Saturday's game, Bell came to the plate as a pinch hitter and absolutely crushed a pitch from Adam Warren over the right field bleachers and into the river for a grand slam home run. The ballpark practically crumbled to its foundation as a result.

That blast effectively brought an end to the game, as the Cubs were unable to catch up after that, and eventually lost by a score of 12-6.

After the game, we all hung out at a bar near the stadium for a beer or two before D.J. and his crew left for the night. We said good-bye to Stein as well, who drove back to Cleveland to prepare for the Republican convention. The remaining crew then headed back to my friend's bar for more bad food, good beer, and great company.

Officially, this was the eighteenth BDBL Weekend in league history. In total, twenty of our current owners have attended at least one of these events, as well as eleven former owners. Of the thirty ballparks in Major League baseball, we have visited more than half (seventeen) of them. For 2017, we plan to revisit Arizona for spring training, and will explore our usual options for the summer. Then, to celebrate the league's 20th anniversary in 2019, Greg Newgard has proposed that I hold a barbeque at my house, with a tent city in the backyard to house the entire league. I just have to run this idea by my wife, but I see no reason why it would be a problem.

Pictured left to right: Ryan Glander, Mike Ranney, Greg Newgard, D.J. Shepard,
Mike Stein, Mike Glander, and Matt Clemm