The rain stayed away from Trenton yesterday afternoon so a few hundred baseball fans could meet this year’s Thunder team.
There were free hot dogs and sodas, quick tours of the ballpark and a chance to watch the players take batting practice… but I think everybody came to get autographs.
And this early in the season, almost all of the players seemed happy to be signing autographs for fans – not that they had much choice at a team-organized autograph session.
Dante Bichette Jr. asked my friend Bart – dressed in Boston Red Sox gear as always – “Do you root for us?” Bart answered, “Of course I do – I root for all you guys to make it to the major leagues because that was my dream.” Bichette asked, “But do you root for us to beat the Red Sox?” “No,” Bart answered truthfully, and they both laughed.
The session was well-organized, with players set up in four different groups on the concourse because of the weather concerns. (Last year, the autograph stations were set up on the field where they could be spread out more.) Fans were given a map identifying who would be signing where as they entered the ballpark, and it was possible to get through all four lines if you were close enough to the front of your first one.
When I got home, I caught the Angels’ 2-0 victory over the Mariners. It was definitely a win for the “we want faster games” crowd, ending in just a little over two hours. But I don’t know how many people found it exciting television – C.J. Wilson and Huston Street held the Mariners to just two hits and no runs, while James Paxton and the Mariners bullpen were almost as stingy. The game’s only offense came from a David Freese two-run homer in the fourth inning, and neither side really had many other scoring chances.
I guess we can breathe a sigh of relief that an MRI found no structural damage to Jenrry Mejia‘s elbow, but I still wonder if a second Tommy John surgery is in his future.