Despite the wet weather yesterday, Freddy and I made the trip to Allentown, Pa. to see the Louisville Bats take on the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. The evening’s promotion was a team photo giveaway and pregame autograph session.
It was the best-organized autograph session I’ve ever seen. Staff members handed out maps showing where all of the players and coaches would be signing along with the team photo giveaway. There were two or three people per table, and nearly the entire team participated.
Ryne Sandberg had the longest line, but if you went to his table as soon as you got in the gate, you probably were able to get his autograph. He was signing everything from baseball cards, to baseballs, bats and even a Cubs jersey.
Dominic Brown was probably the next-most popular player, but I think he’s probably going to be the Phillies’ version of Lastings Milledge, so I skipped his line in favor of trying to hit more tables.
The ballpark is one of the newer ones, designed so you can walk all the way around the field. There are a good variety of food options, and even what appeared to be a tiki bar out in left field. The only place they lost points was for not providing some kind of cardboard tray to hold your food on the way back to your seat.
The Bats, the Cincinnati Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, took an early lead when their leadoff batter hit a home run. The Ironpigs came back to take a 5-1 lead in the third, but the Bats tied the score at 6-6 with a 5-run inning of their own in the fifth.
We left in the middle of the seventh because it was getting late and starting to rain.
The Iron Pigs finally won the game in the bottom of the 13th inning, long after I was back home. The home team has won every game I’ve been to this year.
Thanks, Freddy, for allowing me to see a new ballpark and some teams I wouldn’t really have expected to have the opportunity to watch.