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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Final Game of the Season

September 5, 2011
The Syracuse Chiefs ended the season the same way they began it: in the rain. But because Lehigh Valley needed to play this game in their run for the Wildcard spot, the game went on in spite of the weather. According to radio reports, this game was pretty much mandated.

And I suppose the weather reflected my mood: dismal. The end of the season is always sad for this fan.

The weather also made play dangerous. And the pitchers had a difficult time controlling a wet ball.

The scoreboard when I arrived
When TV Stevie and I first arrived we sat with friends in the back of Section 207, but by the start of the 2nd inning, I needed to be in my front row seat. It was just rain. I'm not made out of sugar, I won't melt. And it wouldn't be the first time I sat watching a Chiefs game in the rain. Especially this season.

Steve Lombardozzi was the first base coach for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th innings. We know he heard us. The stadium was nearly empty. Sandee said his grandmother (with whom he lives, in Auburn) would be ashamed of the way he dissed a couple of old ladies like us. It's not cool.

Matt Antonelli was the first base coach in the 4th inning, and he acknowledged us. YAY Matt!

It was very difficult to take notes in the rain while holding an umbrella, but I have a few:

  • In the middle of the3rd inning, Carlos Maldonado came out of the dugout with a pink bat and gave it to a kid sitting near the dugout. Carlos is just a great guy when it comes to his fans. That is why Sandee and I are the co-presidents of the Carolos Maldonado Fan Club.
  • We saw Carlos come out a couple of times to warm up the pitcher, but he never responded to us. He was focused on the kid behind the net near the dugout.
  • Talked to Tall Mike, the assistant GM: 214 days until opening days. That's 30 weeks. In our opinion, that's too long! But we got the schedules last night (with an unknown Nationals player on them) and saw how "heavy" the schedule was in April and wondered who did that? Hello?? This is Syracuse, New York, the snowiest major metropolitan area in the continental United States. Why are there so many April games in Syracuse? We should be in Charlotte, Gwinett, Louisville.
  • We noticed the team wore their weekend red jerseys today. Maybe the others were already packed away. 
  • The Famous Eric Cohen stopped by to say hi.
  • Sandee and I each got t-shirts in the t-shirt toss. So did TV Stevie.
  • So many controversial calls by the umps starting in the 5th inning. It was very clear that the league had said this game had to be played, regardless of weather, and that the umps were favoring the (iron)Pigs. Tug was "accused" (interference error) of tripping a player running home (the grass was wet!) The catcalls from the stands were quite creative. "Tell him to tie his shoes next time!" and "You try to run on wet grass, Ump!" Sandee, Anthony, & I joined in. So even though Jhonatan Solana made the out at home, the runner was called safe. 
  • Bottom of 5th: it sure as sugar looked like an in-park home run to us, but Garret Mock's hit was ruled a ground rule double. 
  • Garret Mock had to ask for towels several times to wipe down the ball and his glove. 
  • Top of 6th: the Lehigh Valley runner slid at first base and was clearly out, but was called safe because he slipped. As someone behind me said, "Can't call it, 'cause they gotta win it."
  • During the top of the sixth inning, Randy Knorr and Ryne Sandberg came out and conferred with umps. The rain was steady. Five innings (the minimum required to be an 'official' game) had been played. The players were called in. The announcer made it sound as if the game had been called. Thanked us for our attendance.
  • Sandee and I shrieked Carlos's name. He raised his helmet in acknowledgement. 
  • XG-man came down to say good-bye. He'd been sitting out of the rain. He said, "I wondered who was crazy enough to be sitting down here. It figures." He wished us a Merry Christmas, and said he'd see us next season. 
  • Maven came down to say good-bye. He'd been sitting out of the rain. He hugged us all. 
  • Sandee thinks we should have a Section 207 reunion mid off-season.
  • Jim Durkin has been having back problems. Hope you're feeling better soon, Jim!
  • I found TV Stevie, who was sitting with friends, Kevin & Debby. Kevin asked: "Did they call the game?" The announcer never said. But Kevin pointed out to me that they'd picked up the bases and gone home. The scoreboard read: RAIN DELAY.
The base path is a river. No tarp.
Kevin also told me he'd miss the blog. (Thanks, Kevin!) I explained that Sandee and I have plans to keep the blog going in the off-season. Maybe we won't blog as often, but we have material we've been saving, and plenty of ideas. 

Two hundred and thirteen days, but who's counting?

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