Sunday was my third game in as many days and I wasn’t quite in the mood to deal with the 90+ degree heat. On Saturday, I was lucky – I was mostly able to stay in the shade at CitiField. At Waterfront Park in Trenton, there are fewer places that offer cover from the sun.
So I spent an hour trying for autographs from the New Hampshire Fisher Cats before the game. I managed to get nearly half of my cards signed, though nearly everyone’s autograph was completely illegible. And I was already dripping.
Then I settled into my (scorching hot) seat to watch the game. I took out my camera and realized that I left the memory card sitting home in the computer. So I switched to the lower-resolution mode and tried to make the best of the 13 photos that would fit on the camera’s internal memory. My oversight didn’t turn out to be important – the sun was far too brutal to want to stay down by the field very long anyway.
Both teams went down quietly in the first, but New Hampshire took a 1-0 lead in the second. After I got a photo of Adam Loewen, I abandoned my seat behind the visitor’s on-deck circle and moved over behind the Trenton Thunder dugout so I could have a better angle for the right-handed batters.
If Loewen’s name sounds a little familiar, maybe you remember him from his time with the Baltimore Orioles. The fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft, Loewen reached the majors as a pitcher in 2006. He spent most of his rookie year in Baltimore’s rotation, finishing the season with a 6-6 record and 5.37 ERA. The next two years, Loewen missed a lot of time with injuries. He gave up pitching and decided to see if he could make it as a position player. So far this season, he’s hitting .265 with 9 home runs and 43 RBI.
The third inning was bizarre. Manny Mayorson led off the top of the inning with a line drive down the left field line. The third base umpire thought the ball passed over the third base bag and called it fair, giving Mayorson a double. Trenton manager Tony Franklin thought it was foul, so he went out to argue his case. It turned out like those things usually do, and Franklin went back to the dugout unsatisfied.
Franklin and the Thunder dugout must have been giving the plate umpire a hard time about how he was calling the game, though it wasn’t especially obvious from the stands. At least it wasn’t until the umpire took a couple steps towards the dugout and started arguing back. Franklin got himself tossed, then came out to make sure he got his money’s worth. I think maybe he just wanted to get out of the heat. The Fisher Cats did score a run, but it came on a stolen base and a throwing error.
New Hampshire brought in a new pitcher to start the third, a fellow going by the name Boomer Potts. (I’m sorry, but unless you happen to be Grace Park, I don’t think you let yourself be called “Boomer.”) He gave up four runs and had a tough time getting anybody out.
I actually thought about leaving after the third – it had taken almost an hour and a half just to play three, and I didn’t really have a rooting interest in the 4-2 game. Instead, I just went up to the concourse, got an Italian ice, and tried to stay out of the sun.
The Thunder brought in a new pitcher to start the fourth, and finally the game’s pace started to pick up a bit. After spending an inning up on the concourse, I was able to grab a seat in the shade. The crowd — never all that big the start with — had shrunk to less than 1,000 by the middle of the game, I’d estimate.
I finally got to see this year’s top prospect in Trenton, catcher Austin Romine. By going to Sunday day games, I miss out on seeing the number one catcher. I got spoiled last year, though, because the Thunder would use Jesus Montero as the DH if he wasn’t behind the plate. Romine always seemed to the day off. Yesterday, though, he was in the lineup as the DH. He went 1-for-4 with a an RBI and a run scored.
The Fisher Cats closed to within one run in the sixth, and tied the game in the top of the eighth. Now I did have a rooting interest – no extra innings! The Thunder obliged, scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 6-4 lead.
But the Fisher Cats weren’t done yet. Down to their last out in the ninth, New Hampshire mounted a four-run rally. Fisher Cats closer Tim Collins shut the door on a stunned Thunder team, and the game was over.
I hung out after the game (in the shade) to try to get the rest of my cards signed, and met with more success than I expected. Just after 5:30 p.m., New Hampshire manager Luis Rivera came out and signed my card.
Unfortunately, I got to the Cass Street light rail station just in time to see the Riverline train pull out. I spent the next 25 minutes in McDonalds, enjoying the air conditioning and a soda. I then had another half-hour wait once I got to the Trenton Transit Center. By the time I finally got back home, it was 8 p.m.
It was an interesting, if tiring weekend. I just can’t quite figure out how I survived going to nearly 100 baseball games last season.
I’m not completely sure, but I don’t think I’ll be hitting any games this week. Watching on television in my air conditioned living room sounds really good, for some reason. 🙂