It was a gorgeous night, great looking sky, temps very comfortable--Liviana and I didn't put our sweatshirts on until the final out. The B-Mets and the visiting NH Fisher Cats played well, and quickly--the game was over in under 2.5 hours.
We got everyone a seat in the box where we usually sit near first base; they're such great seats it was tough thinking we couldn't sit there when we first started putting this gathering together. Not only did we get a group discount, but because it was family fun pack night there were vouchers for a free hot dog and a free soda for everyone in the group.
Kids in the group got baseballs from players during the game, some members of the group were on the Big Board at different times, and one even got to play a between-innings contest.
People in the group partook of just about every food and drink offering at the park: popcorn, peanuts, ice cream, hot dogs, spiedies, salt potatoes, french fries.....One person came directly to the seats upon arrival then went for another beer; she came back several outs later exclaiming, "There's a whole other world down there [under the stands]!"
In addition to all that, the B-Mets, who won the game 4-2, had two rehabbing major leaguers on the field, Luis Castillo and Ryan Church. On Faith Night.
Ryan Church, you may recall, is on my fantasy roster, so I was tickled to see him play. I've seen him before, when he was with Akron. I went to meet up with some rabid Indians fans for an Aeros' game and I remember Church playing there that night. In his first at bat, despite pine tar and batting gloves, he had trouble hanging onto the bat.
You've heard how time slows down when you're in an accident? Whenever a foul ball pops up in our vicinity in the stands I have a hard time telling where it's headed, usually off by 10 or 12 rows easily. I had no trouble seeing that bat.
It came helicoptering straight at us. I had time to think, 'if it were a foul ball I would duck but if I duck now, this bat's going to hit me right in the head; just don't move.'
The barrel end grazed me in the ribs and the knob end grazed Mellow. Liviana threw her arm up and it banged her elbow as it came to rest in her lap.
We just started laughing. The usher rushed over to make sure we were okay; we smiled and laughed as we assured him we were okay. Then another of the B-Mets' employees came to retrieve the bat (unbroken bats are placed back into play) and check on us.
The bat went back to Church, and a different, dark-barreled bat came out of the dugout and was passed up to us. Church grounded out to second on the next pitch, breaking his bat.
I spent the next inning at the other side of the box, chatting with late arrivals, and as I sat there, just above the dugout, another bat emerged, people motioning up toward me. It was Church's bat, taped back together, autographed, for me.The next morning when I got to work, someone brought me the Press-Sun Bulletin's sports section with the photo of Church (above) the above-the-fold feature.
How can we possibly equal that next year?
June 19. I'm telling people to mark their calendars.