Saturday, July 28, 2012

Game 22: Harrisburg Senators 3 New Hampshire Fisher Cats 8

Wednesday we had tickets to the afternoon game in Harrisburg between the Senators and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.  It was our first game to Harrisburg this year and it was a HOT one!  One of the nice things the Senators did was schedule Wacky Water Wednesday for a hot July afternoon game.  They had sprinklers going and water guns to keep everyone cool.  There were a few guys we had seen play in the Atlantic League.  Kevin Howard is the Fisher Cats 1B and he played for the Barnstormers last season.  On the Harrisburg side we saw Jimmy Van Ostrand who was on the Sugar Land Skeeters earlier in this season.  It's always fun to follow guys that we watch play get picked up by affiliated teams.  As for the game, the Fisher Cats won 8-3.  One last was really happy to be able to meet one of his favorite players and former Phillies catcher Sal Fasano who is the manager for the Fisher Cats.

Wacky Water Wednesay

Fisher Cats Manager Sal Fasano

Former Lancaster Barnstormer Kevin Howard

Former Sugar Land Skeeter Jimmy Van Ostrand

Today's Autographs: 12
2012 Autographs: 615
2012 My donation: $31.12

Friday, July 27, 2012

Game 21: Lancaster Barnstormers 4 Bridgeport Bluefish 3

Sunday night after we returned from the NAAF conference we went back to work.  We got to the ballpark early to shoot some new kid reporter videos.  Gavin's question was "What is your favorite Olympic sport?" and mine was "What is your favorite baseball movie?"  Hopefully the will get put up soon so we can let you see them.  After we were done in the clubhouse, we went down to the batting cages to see our friend Luis Lopez who was in town with the Bluefish.  We watched them take some swings in the cage and then headed out to watch the game.  We wanted to get some of our Bluefish cards signed since we may only see them 1 more time this year.   

Kid Reporters

Bridgeport Bluefish Shea Hillenbrand

Today's Autographs: 17
2012 Autographs: 603
2012 My donation: $30.52

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Ali Bratz Project

On Saturday morning we were in the coffee shop at the hotel and met Michael Voron.  He said to make sure we stopped down to their table and get a free doll...then he said action figure :)  We stopped down and were able to meet his wife Ali.  Ali is a motivational speaker and voice over actress and has had alopecia areata since 1995 she considers herself lucky to be able to help others and did in a big way this weekend.

When she saw the Bratz "True Hope" collection hit the shelves a few weeks ago knew she had to do something.  The dolls (or action figures) :)  are both boy and girls and have no hair or eyebrows...perfect for kids with alopecia areata.

Ali started the Ali Bratz Project with a goal to raise $8,000 to buy enough dolls to bring to the NAAF conference and give out to the kids.  In just two weeks they were able to raise over $12,000!  There were lots of bald girls and boys that were getting a free doll (or action figure). A total of over 400 dolls were given out on Saturday morning.  It was so cool to see the smiles on not just the kids faces, but also the parents. 

You can check out Ali at and follow the Ali Bratz Project on facebook at

Thanks Mike and Ali!

Blake and Ali

lots of dolls to give away

boy action figures :)

Mike and Ali

kids and parents checking out the table

lots of smiles

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Visiting Capitol Hill at the NAAF Conference

Friday was a great day at the National Alopecia Areata Foundation conference.  We were grouped by states and had over 600 people with 200 meetings scheduled for the day.  There were 9 people in our group and it was great to make some new friends.  There were 4 people in our group with alopecia areata.  Maureen McGettigan led our group and she has had alopecia areata for over 30 years.  Kylie Clowney is 17 and has had alopecia areata since the age of 2.  Mackenzie Rosenberger is 12 and has only had it for a year.  We were also joined by my dad, Kylie's mom, and Mackenzie's parents and sister Carsen. 
NAAF ready to take on Capitol Hill

We had 5 meetings scheduled for the day and got to meet with our state representatives and congresspeople. With the congressional session ending Thursday we were meeting with the aids of Senator Bob Casey, Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, Congressman Jason Altmire, Congressman Lou Barletta, and Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.  Marureen did the introduction and explained alopecia areata and then Kylie, Mckenzie, and I all told our stories about what life has been like for us dealing with alopecia areata.  Maureen finished it by asking them to please consider voting on some bills that support funding for research to find a cure for alopecia areata.  Kylie's uncle Nate works in the Senate offices and was able to meet us and have lunch with us. 

US Capitol

Our last meeting was with Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.  Unlike the others, he was still around.  In addition to his Legislative Assistant, Katie, he invited us into his office and talked to us.  At 3:00 on a Friday, it was really nice that he took time to talk to each of us and get to know us personally.  At the end he posed for pictures with us and I got him to sign one of his cards for me. 

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick with our PA group

Overall we did lots of walking, met new friends, saw some cool parts of Capitol Hill, and helped make a difference for those of us dealing with alopecia areata.

Today's Autographs: 1
2012 Autographs: 586
2012 My donation: $29.67

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dunedin Blue Jays

Another recent package in the mail came from the Dunedin Blue Jays.  They are the class A advanced team of the Toronto Blue Jays.  They sent us a nice package with a couple of team tattoos, schedule, and a 2012 team card set...autographed!  That was super cool because we probably won't be down to see them anytime soon.  It's always fun to follow the players and see who ends up playing in the major leagues.  Thanks so much to the Blue Jays staff for a great addition to our collection!

Today's Autographs: 22
2012 Autographs: 585
2012 My donation: $29.62

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Montgomery Biscuits

Today we are highlighting another Minor League Baseball team that has gotten involved in helping us out.  The Montgomery Biscuits are the class AA team of the Tampa Bay Rays.  They sent us a package with a Biscuits yearbook, an official Southern League baseball, and an autographed baseball of Desmond Jennings!  It is really great that teams have helped us out even if they are far away.  Thanks Biscuits staff!

Today's Autographs: 1
2012 Autographs: 563
2012 My donation: $28.52

Monday, July 16, 2012

Inland Empire 66ers

We recently received another package in the mail and this one was from the Inland Empire 66ers.  They are now the class A team of the LA Angels of Anaheim.  When we opened the package it was an autographed baseball  of Brad Ausmus from when he was doing a rehab start there.  Thanks so much to the 66ers staff for helping in our quest to raise awareness and money for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

Today's Autographs: 1
2012 Autographs: 562
2012 My donation: $28.47

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Game 20: Atlantic League All Star Game

Wednesday we went to Camden, NJ for the Atlantic League All Star Game.  It was my 2nd time going to an All Star Game (Lancaster 07) and Gavin's first.  There was going to be a lot going on starting with a celebrity softball game between former members of the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, and other Philly celebrities.  The Eagles team was coached by Ron Jaworski and the Phillies team was coached by Larry Bowa.  Ron Jaworski was really nice talking to fans, signing autographs, and taking pictures.  Two different times I was next in line and someone pulled him away to meet with his team.  I never did get my cards signed by him but he was so nice to everyone.  I was able to get Ike Reese and Vai Sikahema to sign my cards. 

Just missed Jaws...twice

Former Eagle Ike Reese
As for the All Star Game, it was VERY exciting.  There were 8 Barnstormers on the Freedom division team and the Liberty division had some of our other friends, Luis Lopez and Chris Walker.  The Freedom division trailed 4-3 but busted it open in the top of the 9th led by Lancaster Barnstormers outfielder and All Star Game MVP Fehlandt Lentini.  We also got to talk to 2 players, Neil Medchill and JR Murphy, from the Trenton Thunder sitting behind us and they signed a schedule for us. It was a great night with the Zooperstars, fireworks, mascots, and baseball!

Barnstormers All Star Adam Godwin

Hary Canary leading the 7th inning stretch

Barnstormers Fehlandt Lentini, All Star Game MVP

Trenton Thunders Neil Medchill and JR Murphy

Today's Autographs: 14
2012 Autographs: 561
2012 My donation: $28.42

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Philadelphia Union

I know it may not seem like it, but we do enjoy more than just baseball.  Add soccer to the list.  The Philadelphia Union sent us a picture of their ball park with 10 signatures on it.  We have never been to a soccer game but do enjoy watching the MLS and the Olympic soccer matches.  One of these days we will get down to see the Union but we do appreciate their support for what we are doing and helping us out.

Today's Autographs: 10
2012 Autographs: 547
2012 My donation: $27.72

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Baseball Collector...Zack Hample

I mentioned earlier in my post about the Phillies game that I had recognized someone and got a picture with them.  As you can tell by the title it is Zack Hample.  He is the best at getting baseballs at games.  Gavin and I have quite a few minor league balls, but this guy is insane!  He has over 6,000 baseballs that he gets at Major League games and has even written a couple of books about it.  We started following his blog a couple years back after seeing him on tv, and we even recognized him on Sports Center top plays a few times.  I didn't tell Zack what I was doing but wish I would have...maybe he'll read this.  I also forgot to get his autograph.  I had a card of Citizens Bank Park that would have been perfect since that is where I saw him. 

Zack gets people to sponsor how many balls he gets in the season and donate the money to Pitch In For Baseball.  You can check out his fundraiser information here

This is actually where I got the idea to donate money to NAAF for the autographs I get.  While our programs are different, they still both involve giving to charity and enjoying baseball. 

Thanks Zack...hope to see you at another game sometime.  Next time I won't forget your autograph! 

Blake and Zack Hample

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Game 19: Lancaster Barnstormers 5 Long Island Ducks 4

Sunday night was the final game for the Lancaster Barnstormers before the All Star break.  They went on to sweep the Long Island Ducks to go to 20 games over .500 for the season.  It was an awesome come from behind win and Ryan Harvey hit a walk off home run to send them into the All Star break. 

It was also Cylo's 8th birthday!  Lots of local mascots were there to help celebrate.  After a few days off it will be back to the ballpark to try to stay sharp for the playoffs!

Happy Birthday Cylo!

Ryan Harvey after walk off HR

Today's Autographs: 18
2012 Autographs: 537
2012 My donation: $27.22

'Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of a Cure"

That is the theme to this years National Alopecia Areata Foundation conference.  Next Thursday the 19th we will be in Washington DC with hundreds of others with alopecia areata.  I'm excited for the kids camp and to meet other kids that have alopecia.  While Gavin and I are in the kids camp, mom and dad will be in different seminars and workshops for parents.  On Friday we are going to be going to Capitol Hill and meeting with our state representatives and educating them on alopecia areata. 

I'm really looking forward to being part of the conference this year and can't wait to meet some of the people we've been working with at NAAF and many others who deal with alopecia. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kershaw's Challenge

One of our favorite baseball players is Clayton Kershaw.  He is a 2 time All Star, Cy Young winner, and is the best pitcher in the game.  In 2011 he won the Triple Crown as he led the National League in Wins, Strikeouts, and ERA.  As good as he is on the field, he is even better off the field.  Clayton and his wife Ellen have been going over to Africa in the off season and working on building an orphanage called Hope's Home.  Clayton has a website called Kershaw's Challenge where he is able to raise funds and provide updates for Hope's Home

We wanted to do something more this year, so in addition to NAAF, we will be also donating $.05 for every autograph we get to Kershaw's Challenge to help with Hope's Home

We decided to do this announcement today because our church has a team that landed in Africa today for 2 weeks. They will be ministering in schools and villages in Kenya. Please keep our team in your thoughts and prayers. 

If you aren't doing anything tonight, tune in to Fox at 7:30 for the MLB All Star Game and catch the best pitcher in baseball in action ON the field as we do just a small part to help him OFF the field.

Also, check out Kershaw's Challenge to see how you can help.

Go Clayton!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Game 18: Philadelphia Phillies 0 Atlanta Braves 5

Part 2 of the Friday double header was the Phillies game.  My friend, Jacob, called me Thursday night and said that his dad had Phillies tickets for Friday night against the Braves.  I was so happy to be able to go and it was announced that it would be Ryan Howards first game back from the DL.  I took some Phillies cards to try to get signed but our seats were right behind the Braves dugout.  I didn't have any Braves cards with me but I was able to get Matt Diaz to sign the back of my ipod cover. It was a great game until the grand slam by Brian McCann in the 8th...Phils lose again.  While down looking for autographs, I spotted someone that I recognized and was able to get a picture...that will be Fridays post...stay tuned.

Ryan Howard's first game back

Matt Diaz  Philippians 1:6

Jacob and Blake
Today's Autographs: 1
2012 Autographs: 519
2012 My donation: $26.32

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Game 17: Lancaster Barnstormers 13 Long Island Ducks 1

Friday night was a double header...kind of.  I went to the Phillies game with my friend Jacob and Dad and Gavin went to the Barnstormers.  The Barnstormers went duck hunting and did a great job of it.  The final was 13-1!  Gavin did a good job getting some of the Long Island Ducks autographs before the game.  We didn't have any cards with us of former Mets and Giants closer Armando Benitez, but Gavin did get a picture with him. It was also Fan vs Food night when 4 teams of 2 had 30 minutes to eat a 7 pound hamburger topped with lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, onions, cheese, and 4 different kinds of hot sauces.  It was fun to watch.  Tomorrow will be the update on the Phillies game.

Gavin and Armando Benitez

Fan vs Food

13-1 Final!

Today's Autographs: 7
2012 Autographs: 518
2012 My donation: $26.27

Friday, July 6, 2012

New Hampshire Fisher Cats

I'll spend the next few days catching up with some posts of teams that have mailed us things.  The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are the AA team of the Toronto Blue Jays and sent us a nice package of card sets, programs, and book markers.  We are looking forward to catching a Fisher Cats game when they are back in Harrisburg in a few weeks.  They have a couple of former Barnstormers playing for them this season.  Thanks so much Fisher Cats staff for the support.