It’s sort of a tradition here for me to write something about the start and end of each baseball season … so here goes.
I took the family to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs’ last game of the year earlier today. This is the third straight year we’ve gone to the last home game. My younger son likes the idea of buying half-price concessions; the rest of us just like a last trip to the ballpark before hockey season starts.
(I remember last year Lehigh University played a few games of fall ball. If they do that this year, and if I have the free time, maybe I’ll go check that out. I recently checked their website and saw no word of anything.)
There was nothing all that noteworthy about the game. The Pigs never seem to play that well for us, and today they fell behind early and lost 8-1 to the Rochester Red Wings. It was fiercely hot (93 degrees) and even my last ballpark beer of the season, a Victory HopDevil, didn’t do much to cool me off.
We sat in a new section of seating next to the bullpens; and in the eighth inning, one of the Red Wings’ relief pitchers started handing out baseballs to nearby kids (including mine). Made for a nice souvenir, and a complement to the New York-Penn League foul ball I took home earlier in the summer.
For some reason I am especially jonesing for fall and winter this year, so I am content to put another year of baseball-watching to bed. I want cold and bare trees and hockey. Sorry, baseball. Your time will come again.
A few sights from the day:
Sitting next to the ‘pens meant we got to watch both starting pitchers warm up at once. The bullpen buds are Rochester’s Tyler Rogers in the foreground and Lehigh Valley’s Severino Gonzalez in the background.
Red Wings relief pitcher Aaron Thompson, warming up the left fielder between innings.
Veteran IronPigs reliever Dustin McGowan, also in warmup mode. Will he be back next year? The Sept. 1 roster expansion has come and gone, so almost no one on the field for this game has any hope for a September callup. (Three IronPigs who did not play were called up after the game.)
Right fielder Tyler Henson is also in the will-they-be-back? file. After 10 years in the minors, he’s yet to crack the bigs, and the Phillies won’t be calling him up this September.
In the official team store, numbers wait to be attached to jerseys.
Wings left fielder Eric Farris enjoyed turning around and sharing the out count with nearby fans. It was a little Junior Griffey-ish, and we enjoyed it.
For a vacation day, the crowd was kinda sparse: The outfield berm was pretty empty, and so were these seats down the right-field line. I’m sure the IronPigs management will spend its offseason coming up with ever more frantic stunts to put asses in those seats for 2016.
This pig is involved in some sort of fundraiser at Coca-Cola Park. Maybe the nostrils aren’t the best place to paint the word “Coke”? *snort*
Mike Quade — best known as one of the dozens of managers who have failed to win a World Series with the Cubs — is in Rochester now. Here he commiserates with fellow major-league refugee Argenis Diaz.
The last out has been recorded; Eric Farris and his teammates jog off the field; and I’ve seen the back of live baseball for another year.
213 days, eh? (Of course, *my* live baseball season starts with college games in mid-March. So for me, Opening Day 2016 is closer to 194 days away. Not that I’m counting. Yet.)