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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Opening Day

Opening Day!

Sixteenth Opening day at this stadium. Fourth opening day as the Triple A Affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Fifty-somethingth opening day of the franchise.

God bless baseball.

The day started out overcast and cold, then gradually morphed to sunny and cold. What a difference from last year's rain delay/rain out. We met Sandee & Anthony in the parking lot and handed off the jackets we purchased for them back in October. It was a good day for warm clothes.

There are lots of differences from last year. One of the first ones is the absence of the horse, replaced by the Welcome to Chiefsville sign. I didn't understand the concept of Chiefsville until I entered the stadium and saw all of the changes.

TV Stevie went to the new food preview earlier this week and told me that lots of things had changed with the new concessionaires. He didn't tell me about the face lifts given to all the food stands. All of the food sites have been renamed as places in Chiefsville. I love the concept and what I saw today really works. The inside of the stadium is now like a community. I think it's great branding.

The ice cream stand has a new name.

Guess what this concession sells?
We didn't eat at the stadium today, but we did wander about looking at all the new choices. The prices have gone up from last year, but word is the food is better.

Another highly visible change was the absence of the old scoreboard. There's a small, temporary scoreboard in right field. The new scoreboard should be in place in five weeks. According to the announcer at today's game, it will be the largest scoreboard in the International League. Woo-hoo! We deserve a fabulous scoreboard. 

The old scoreboard frame.
There were plenty of familiar faces: Bill DeLapp from the Syracuse New Times, Tim Fox, Maven (and his Rochester Guests), XGMan, Sandee, Anthony, Danny-the-Usher, K-Daddy. Eventually we saw Sehl and other folks we've come to know.  Dave Anthony returns as the in-game announcer. He looked for the drink cup holder, but it was hidden behind the bunting.  

The only notable absence was Suspect. He's been a fixture at the stadium for years. We hope he's all right.

Syracuse New Times' Bill DeLapp

There aren't too many players from last year on this year's roster: 
  • Seth Bynum 
  • Corey Brown (who switched numbers and is now using Michael Aubry's 10)
  • Jhonatan Solano
  • Carlos Maldonado
  • Atahualpa Severino
  • Yuneski Maya
  • Josh Wilkie

As Sandee said, it's going to be tough for a month or so until we get to know the new players, especially without a scoreboard.

Fortunately, Doug Logan read the starting line-ups slow enough that people could write them down. Frequently that is not the case.

I realized after the fact that I should have snapped a photo of the entire team on the field after they were introduced, but I didn't. 

The team wore new jerseys, with an older logo on them. Very nice. 

As usual, there were fireworks during the national anthem, a lovely touch of rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air and all. Then someone had to clean the debris off the field before the game. 

The Taco Bell K-Man struck out in the first inning. 

We noticed that the new RF was having  issues, and decided it was because he's not used to the dimensions of the stadium yet. 

There are two "big news" stories with the Chiefs this week. John Lannan was sent down from the Nats, which is a really bizarre move on the Nats' part, but we're happy to have him even for a game. Rumor has it he's slated to pitch on Sunday.

The other "big news" story is Bryce Harper made his Triple A debut today. He hit a stand-up double his first at-bat.

Bryce Harper's first Triple A hit

Rounding first

Stand-Up Double

Then he stole third.
Stealing third

Safe at Third
Unfortunately, he was stranded there. 

And because he is unfamiliar with our outfield (he played CF) he turned a hit into a triple in the fourth inning by bobbling a ball.

His second at-bat was a single. He stole second. But that was it for him for the rest of the game.

We watched Carlos catch the pitchers warming up in the bull pen.
Corey was hit by a pitch in the fifth. 

The Chiefs lost 7-4.

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