Additional photos can be found here :::
One of the things which I will always remember about this game (which had little to do with the game) was my dad, who rarely uses his phone, going onto his phone to google where the Rainbow Graphics are from. I feel like I looked it up last year but by the time this season came back around I forgot. I guessed Newington, but alas, my dad says via his google search that they are from Manchester. It's all within the Hartford area.
The story of this game was one of not rain and not thunder. At the beginning of the week the weather app just showed thunder clouds every day and while the rain held off for the day, it was still dark and looked like it could start at any moment. Though I felt a few drops of rain it wasn't as much rain as last week and I briefly remembered that we are in the middle of summer even though the weather tends to feel like the Fall.
To their credit, as the Rainbow Graphics have never been the most winning team, I felt like they showed some real promise here, at least early on. There was a time last season when they would have easily botched plays which they made but then also they seemed to have an offense as they put up two runs in the top of the first to take an early lead. A.J. Hendrickson was pitching for the Expos and though it took him an inning to settle in, after those first two runs he would only allow the Graphics one more.
Pitching is, of course, only half of the game and the Expos had to teach us what the other half was as well. Working as a team, it felt like everyone had key hits to bring in runs and that included a two run homerun by Kyle Hartenstein. Last season, Ceppa Field had barriers up in the outfield but they were barely anything because you could walk into them and knock them down. Now they have no indications as to what would be a homerun. At first, everyone seemed to think the hit was just a hit, then it was thought maybe it was a double and then it was ultimately ruled a homerun.
Both Kyle Hartenstein and Will Kszywanos hustled like it was a normal hit when they could have been trotting the bases with glee. Also, you could clearly hear the Rainbow Graphics center fielder complain "That's not fair! It's out of play!" Someone should let him know that homeruns typically are out of play.
At one point, I said to my dad jokingly "Imagine if he walks this guy and loads the bases" and then the Graphics pitcher did just that. I then said "Imagine if he walks in a run" and then he did just that. I kept my mouth shut after that about what the pitcher should do, but yes, as much as the Expos pitching (which A.J. Hendrickson pitched a complete game) seemed to hinder the Graphics, the Graphics pitching at times helped the Expos.
Overall this was a fun Opening Day game for the Expos and it had more fans that I think I've seen at Ceppa Field before, even with most of us being distanced. There were hits, defensive plays and even a homerun. The game came to its end at the Top of the 7th when A.J. Hendrickson completed the task of being his own closer by striking out the side. This game made me feel so hopeful for this season and with everything going on in the world right now it's good to have a little bit of hope, it's good to have that thing you can look forward to again.