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Another Labor Day, another ballgame.

The local Lehigh Valley IronPigs always seem to close out their season on Labor Day against my hometown Rochester Red Wings.

And I always seem to take the family — mainly b/c my younger son, who is not a sports fan, likes the last game of the year ’cause they mark down the concessions to half-price.

I went again today, for the fourth straight last-game-of-the-year-against-Rochester, and it was a more detached expedition than usual.

I only went to three IronPigs games this year, and none since Father’s Day, so I never really formed any attachment to any of the players on this year’s team.

They’re going to the playoffs for only the second time in nine years, which is nice, but unlike last time I’m not going to get tickets. It’s on a school night … and, I dunno, I just don’t care.

Maybe the arrival of an AHL hockey team to town is shifting my allegiances. (Just last night I started compiling my schedule of local hockey games for the fall and winter.)

Or maybe the IronPigs have finally worn thin on me. Though it’s been a more divorced summer than usual in baseball terms — I haven’t been to see anyone else play ball this summer either. Usually when I travel I catch a game out of town somewhere, but I didn’t travel.

I haven’t followed the Phillies that closely either, though there wasn’t much to follow this year.

We’ll see what next spring brings;  by then I will probably be chomping at the bit for baseball.

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View from the general admission hill in center field (we sat nearby.) It is a cute ballpark, even if most recently built AAA ballparks kinda look the same.

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Starter David Buchanan was brilliant – 7 IP, two hits, no runs, eight strikeouts – and I wonder if he is headed to Philly when the playoffs end.

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Red Wings reliever Jake Reed waits to enter the game. He is not on the Minnesota Twins’ 40-man roster, which means no callup, but he’s young and he pitched pretty well so he might get there yet.

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Two relievers ready at once – Reed in the foreground, the IronPigs’ Joely Rodriguez in the background.

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Reliever Neil Ramirez pitched for three MLB teams this year – the Brewers, the Cubs and the Twins – but he seems ticketed to have ended his season in Allentown.

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A burst of game action courtesy Red Wings left fielder Adam Brett Walker. Walker is a large gent (6’5″) with a propensity for either homering (27 dingers this year) or striking out (200 times in 475 at-bats).

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Silly-ass mascots.

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The seats next to the bullpen always draw the kids. I suspect all of these dudes went home with a ball and/or some autographs; they were acting that way.

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These guys from Rochester came to the Lehigh Valley, not knowing they were going to get their asses kicked. I can surely sympathize.

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