Monday September 16th, 2019
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My trip to the Long Haul Bombers in Cleveland (2012)

I have permission to release the video I had taken in Cleveland for the Long Haul Bombers, now that the season is over.

  Here it is.

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Cleveland, Ohio – Progressive Field

August 6, 2012

Brett Helmer and Denny Crine tie with 11 points in the Long Haul Bombers trip to Cleveland's Progressive Field 

Field dimensions were 327-366-401-373-322 with a 20 foot high wall in Left and Left Center and a 8 foot high wall in Right and Right Center

Each player gets 15 hits and can take 3 pitches.

The Bombers stretch out and get ready in the locker room below Progressive Field.  The Bombers had batting practice at State Road Park where I grew up and played league for over 10 years.  Then they had an hour to kill in the locker room once they arrived at Progressive Field.  Helmer talked about the first Bomber event when the hitters were hitting the ball into where the fans were coming into the stadium (I believe it was Minnesota) and fans were getting pelted by the home run balls.  Players swapped stories about the worst injuries they had seen at Bomber events.   Helmer talked about how he played for years getting beat by the Ritch's Superiors and the other top teams in the early and mid 1990's, and how it took a number of years for his teams to qualify for the Major World Series for the first time in 1997.  He also talked about how great a hitter Hank Garris was/is. 

The players gave short interviews before and some after the event for the Softball360.com cameras and the tv show.

The  Bombers pose for a photo before taking the field.  Kevin Filby, Mike Macenko, Ed Vega, Jason Baxter, Dustin Roberts, Brian Wegman, Brett Helmer, Denny Crine

Dustin Roberts and Mike Macenko talk bats.  Mike knows a little bit about bats having hit the all time record 844 home runs in one season.

The Bombers head for the field

As you can see by the flag in center field, the wind was blowing straight in.  I know on the message boards we always hear how good the bats are and the balls.  But I tell you what, when your down on that field with the fans out there, the flag blowing straight in and its just you, your bat, and the ball…it has to be a little intimidating and these guys put on a good show!

These Wegman groupies were excited to see the Bombers

The Ultimate Evil ball is now used on the Long Haul tour "this sucker flys"

 

Softball veteran Gary Jost warms up before the derby starts

Helmer is the leader of the Bombers, keeping them loose with stories from the past, and giving instruction.  The neat thing about the Bombers is they were all pulling for each other and supporting the group as a whole. 

The Bombers were told they would go on at 6:12 PM and had to be off the field at 6:25 PM so Mighty Mike Macenko, the guest Bomber, did not get to hit.  What I didn't realize is they can't just run up and hit the second the previous batter is done, because the announcer introduces each hitter and gives a short bio on each as they hit.  Plus at 6:12, the Long Haul Bomber intro video plays for 2 minutes which introduces the tour to the fans.


Team Easton

Brian Wegman

Long Haul Bomber veteran Brian Wegman went first.  Brian is nursing some leg injuries so he was off his game a little bit.

Nickname: Brian "The ball will be flying" Wegman or "Wegs"

9 Time All World

6 National Titles

from Cincinnati, Ohio

 

Wegman hit one of the furthest home runs early on.  I "Google Earthed" this one at 409 and remember the bleachers are high above street level so it probably would have went close to 450?  The ball is in the middle of the picture 1 row from the top of the bleachers just below the scoreboard. 

Wegman also put one on the walk way in left field.   Landed 406, probably would have gone 440? 

 


Reebok

"Team Gordie"

Dustin Roberts

Long Haul Bomber Dustin Roberts went second.  I want to thank Dustin for inviting me down to the field for the show.  THANKS!

Nickname: "The Big D – one part slugger, two parts masher"

Coast Guard veteran

 

Dustin hit this one which was caught by the guy in the blue shirt where it says "Cable", 369 feet, probably would have landed about 390 or 400?

 

This one flew about 380 

  

And this one went 396, probably would have landed about 425


Team Miken

Ed Vega

Long Haul Bomber Eddie "The Kid" Vega hit third.

Southern California

This one went about 396.

This one, Ed hit 416

This one went 400 before the bleachers stopped its flight 

Ed took the lead with 8 points


Team Demarini

Kevin Filby

Long Haul Bomber Kevin Filby was next and was the first left hander.

Nickname: "Flip"

Delaware, Ohio

7 Softball Championships

6 time All World

Filby hooked one foul and had two line drive homer attempts just barely hit the top of the fence in right field

 


Reebok

"Team Gordie"

Jason Baxter

Long Haul Bomber rookie Jason Baxter went 5th.  This was his first event.

From Tennessee

Softball360 player of the year

  

The "mini" green monster in left field cost Baxter one homer

 

The fan just missed this Baxter homer 

This Baxter homer went 381 

Jason Baxter scored 8 points in his debut


Team Easton

Brett Helmer

Long Haul Bomber leader Brett Helmer hit 6th.

Nickname:  "The Cicero" "Large" 

29 times on All World Teams

14 World Titles

4 Time National Batting Champion

National and State powerlifting champion

 

 I don't know a lot about hitting but there seems to be more spin on Helmer's homer's with the wrist snap than the other competitors?

 

This one went 400 feet to the 2nd row of the second deck 

This one went 413 feet

Helmer hit the "Money Ball" which is worth 2 points 410 feet!  Just think how far it would have gone if it had a chance to land on the ground?

Helmer took the lead with 11 points

 


Team Miken

Denny Crine

 

Long Haul Bomber Denny Crine went last.

Nickname: "Grand Slam"

Two time Long Haul Champion

7 World Titles

6 National Titles

Las Vegas, NV

 

Denny got loose with a 398 foot shot!

 

Then Crine tore a hole in the clock! 

Crine tied Helmer for the most points with 11 

 


The Bombers pose with Mike Macenko the greatest player in softball history.

Ed Vega, Dustin Roberts, Jason Baxter, Kevin Filby, Mike Macenko, Brett Helmer, Denny Crine, Brian Wegman

Mike actually is the greatest softball player in history according to Steve Dimitry's history website.  Check it out here.  Mike Macenko has 97 points towards the greatest player of all time.  The closest active player is Jeff Wallace with 87.  I realize the list hasn't been updated in two years but the numbers haven't changed that much.

The Bombers sign autographs for the fans on their player posters 

 

Brett Helmer poses with two of his big fans 

The view from my seats with the family 

 This girl in the crowd had a SoftballCenter.com t-shirt!  WOW

I spotted this kid wearing his DirtySportswear.com hat sitting with his grandma!

The Indians Ezequiel Carrera must think he is playing softball with that .583 batting average

The Bombers had entertainment competition as the karate kids performed between innings

The Twins jumped out on the Indians with 10 runs on 4 homer's which prompted my son to ask if their was a "mercy rule" ?

Then the Sugardale hot dog race was on as Mustard won its 18th race of the season!  My daughters favorite part of every game. 

Too bad she went to the concession stand when the race was held!

Then the Indians Carlos Santana got into the Long Haul Bomber spirit with a 397 foot shot to LC just to the right of the guy reaching in the red below

 The Long Haul Bombers was a good time for a softball/baseball fan. 

I hope to make it down to the Cincinnati Bombers event next year because I hear they hit after the game and before the fireworks which has to be a better atmosphere than pre-game hitting.


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