This afternoon I went to a farewell lunch/dinner for some friends at Faccia Luna. As I walked back to the lab I decided to wrap up my work for the day and stop by Medlar Field at Lubrano Park to see a baseball game in the evening.
I got to the ballpark early, like I normally do. It was evident this was not a normal night. The line at the ticket window was long. It took 35 minutes to get a ticket, and I had very few options (I got the very last Field Box ticket available). I asked one of the ballpark staff why it was so busy. He told me he really did not know. It was a fireworks night, but there are many of those, so that doesn’t account for the big turnout. After some reflection I decided that it must have been caused by the great weather, the fireworks, and the youth tennis and baseball tournaments being played in University Park and State College this weekend.
So I walked into the park right as the game was getting underway. Within minutes the visiting Williamsport Crosscutters took the lead. The Cutters are an affiliate of the Phillies, so on this night I was not rooting for the home team.
I noticed right away that the Cutters were wearing high socks as a team. This means the Phillies are developing high socked players at the A and AA levels. I love it. I only wish the current Phillies starters had had this upbringing.
In the bottom of the first inning I remarked to the person sitting beside me that the ballpark was fuller than I had ever seen it before. He responded with: “Oh, I’ve seen it fuller.” That was a conversation killer. Later that night the official attendance was given (5,807). It set the record for highest attendance in the history of Medlar Field (I didn’t even look at the guy sitting next to me, it was difficult to keep from smiling).
The game featured seven stolen bases, five of them by the Cutters. Both catchers seemed to have a rough night behind the plate. The Cutters catcher, Cameron Rupp, had a great night at the plate. He went 4 for 5 with a HR, 2B, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBIs. Behind the plate he had two passed balls, and numerous pitches that he failed to handle cleanly. The Cutters’ pitchers seemed a bit wild, however, there is a chance he was getting crossed up.
I happened to be seated near a few vocal fans that did not understand the game, including one who thought he did. It was sad. He spoke loud enough for people in the entire section to hear him as he predicted pitches, chastised fielders, gave baserunning advice, and tried to use every bit of baseball slang known to man (It reminded me of parents trying to connect with teenagers by using slang terms they feel are current. There was a certain awkwardness in the phrasing and delivery.) And he managed to be wrong with astounding consistency. In my head I had a steady stream of Firejoemorgan.com style critique running.
One interesting note on the night. A kid about 13 years old sitting a few seats away from me got a pizza during a between innings promotion, then when the inning started he caught a foul ball. When he caught the ball his dad promptly turned to the people around him and said: “Anyone know of a local racetrack or casino?” It was priceless.
On the field the Cutters held the lead from inning 1 through 9. Late in the game the Spikes put together a couple of rallies, but the Cutters prevailed 7-6. As the post game fireworks lit up the sky I biked home.