Day off.

I took a mental health day off work today and went to the ballpark.

(My mental health is actually pretty good, all things considered. But the local minor-league team doesn’t play too many morning games. This was a relatively rare opportunity for me to go see them during the day.)

What began as a charming idea turned into an endurance test.

The temperature topped out at 48 degrees at game time, while a whipping wind made it seem much colder. Rain threatened the whole time, and finally broke through with increasing intensity in the fourth inning.

It was one of those permanent-grimace kind of games, the kind where everyone in the crowd bundles up and squints a lot and feels brave and put-upon.

The ‘Pigs weren’t any too motivated by their surroundings, allowing the visiting Pawtucket Red Sox a seven-run second inning.

The umps called the game after five innings with Pawtucket up 8-0. The final inning, played in spattering rain, seemed like one of those affairs where the plate umpire whispers to each batter, “Swing at everything, kid, ’cause if it’s in this area code, it’s a strike.

For all that, it wasn’t the worst experience in the world.

The weather took some of the insistent fizz out of the IronPigs’ usual game presentation. The between-batter and between-innings promotions seemed fewer in number and less annoying. If you could get into the game, there was less to take you out of it.

The beer lines were pretty much nonexistent — always one of the nice things about a 10:35 a.m. start. (Yup.)

And fewer people at the ballpark meant more space to roam. Wanna be the only person on the outfield hill? The only person in the right-field standing-room area? I was both of those people at various points today, and it felt good.

Of course there are pictures of my morning at the ballpark. They’re nothing to write home about, but they capture some of the flavor of The Salaryman’s Day Off.

The Bud Light Trough overlooking right field is usually bustling with beer drinkers before game time. Not today.
The Bud Light Trough overlooking right field is usually bustling with beer drinkers before game time. Not today.
Plenty of good seats available -- and this was *before* the rain set in. I never did hear an announced attendance. It was Education Day, and a couple sections were full of local schoolkids, which must have driven up the total.
Plenty of good seats available — and this was *before* the rain set in. I never did hear an announced attendance. It was Education Day, and a couple sections were full of local schoolkids, which must have driven up the total.
IronPigs third baseman Maikel Franco sports a balaclava.
IronPigs third baseman Maikel Franco sports a balaclava.
Most of the PawSox players opted for hoods. This is Daniel Nava at the plate, with a few of his hooded teammates visible in the dugout.
Most of the PawSox players opted for hoods. This is Daniel Nava at the plate, with a few of his hooded teammates visible in the dugout.
Nava fends off a wicked googly with what looks like a cricket swing.
Nava fends off a wicked googly with what looks like a cricket swing.
Another shot of the empty stands. I think this was during the endless second inning.
Another shot of the empty stands. I think this was during the endless second inning.
Nothing special going on in this shot; I just liked the way the pitcher, second baseman and right fielder lined up from bottom to top.
Nothing special going on in this shot; I just liked the way the pitcher, second baseman and right fielder lined up from bottom to top.
Pigs right fielder Tyler Henson can't bear to watch any more.
Pigs right fielder Tyler Henson can’t bear to watch any more.
PawSox outfielder Bryce Brentz is the hero, having hit a grand slam. The Pigs' shortstop appears to be kicking the dirt in frustration.
PawSox outfielder Bryce Brentz is the hero, having hit a grand slam. The Pigs’ shortstop appears to be kicking the dirt in frustration.
A group of schoolkids from -- Lower Saucon? Macungie? Emmaus? -- glows in the stands like a cluster of pale tulips.
A group of schoolkids from — Lower Saucon? Macungie? Emmaus? — glows in the stands like a cluster of pale tulips.
I took this picture for Pigs center fielder Tyson Gillies' facemask. I didn't even notice left fielder Clete Thomas in mid-squat at top right. It was the sort of day where you're willing to look ridiculous if it means staying warm.
I took this picture for Pigs center fielder Tyson Gillies’ facemask. I didn’t even notice left fielder Clete Thomas performing some sort of baroque squat at top right. It was the sort of day where you’re willing to look ridiculous if it means staying warm.
The Pigs' Phillippe Aumont works to the plate amidst visible rain.
The Pigs’ Phillippe Aumont works to the plate amidst visible rain.

 

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