Monday, July 6, 2020

Baseball Review // Ulbrich Steel 5, Record-Journal Expos 7 [7/1/20 // @ Ceppa Field, Meriden, CT]

With everything going on in the world, it's nice to be able to have some sort of normalcy by watching baseball again.   Yes, there are leagues in other countries which you can view online but it's not the same thing as going out to a game and it's certainly not the same feeling as going out to Ceppa Field, a place where I found myself a lot last season, to see the Expos.   A lot has changed in the world between last year and this year but one of the largest factors which is somewhat relevant to this review is that for various reasons Quentin is not in a summer program this year which frees him up to watch a lot more baseball with me. 

This game was to start at 6pm and we got there around 5:50.   Throughout the day, there had been patches of darkness and scarce thunderstorms but not really any rain.  I was wondering if the game would happen or not, but the weather held off for most of the day.   As we set at Ceppa Field, spaced out so as not to be too close to anyone we didn't come with, the rain began to fall steadily for a few innings.   It was somewhere between 70 and 80 degrees out so the rain felt nice and wasn't anything other than distracting at times.   It never really got too bad to the point where you thought they might call the game, but it was just such a fun and unique experience because other leagues would have paused and hid for a bit.

The Expos seemed to be back in full force, with many of the same players from last season.   A.J. Hendrickson was the starting pitcher and though he gave up one run to the Steel in the first inning, he pitched a shutout the rest of the game, barely letting the Steel take base.  The Expos also responded with a five run first inning, putting them up from the start.   It wasn't until the 6th inning, with Nick Foell on the mound for the Expos, that the Steel were able to get three runs on the board off of some solid hits.  It was such a long stretch of game without either team scoring, but it went by quickly.

By the end of the game, the rain had come back.  At this point, I missed half an inning because I went to the car for umbrellas.   The Ulbrich Steel put up one more run in the seventh inning and that was it.  It was all tied up heading into the bottom of the seventh, the end of the game, for the Expos.   Watching underneath umbrellas, as some people had moved or left because of the rain, it was that anticipation of "The Expos will comeback and walk it off; it's what they do!" and that's exactly what they did... sort of.

This game was not walked off, though it should have been, and I can only think that it was because it was a scrimmage that they waited until the final out of the game to end it.   Jack Rich scored a run with a huge triple to win the game 6-5, and then he scored himself before the game ended to put the final score at 7-5 by my count.   What you have to know about why this play was so important as well is that earlier in the game, during the first inning, Jack Rich hit a bases clearing triple to give the Expos a 3-1 lead.

I saw a comment on Facebook last week where someone said that all baseball should hold off on having fans attend games.  Why?  If the heat doesn't stop the spread of germs, certainly that rain would, but I didn't see anyone going out of their way to be a jerk about things.  If we can sit far enough apart that we aren't coughing on each other and wear masks if we do happen to pass by someone we don't know, then why can't we sit outside on a nice summer day with our family and watch a baseball game?  If you don't want to go to a baseball game, you don't have to go.    But it amazes me still that people want to deny other people happiness and for what?  This is not how the virus spreads.

This is going to be an interesting season.   I don't know how it's going to be different from last season exactly other than people are a little bit more cautious when it comes to health and safety (which is never a bad thing) but it's certainly going to be fun watching it unfold.   Some of these players are at a college level and as such didn't get to play (or barely played) this year.  Some players might not be playing this year because of the virus- who knows.  I am certainly excited to see how it all unfolds because it's one thing we can do to feel normal.  Maybe I don't go to stores as much as I used to or can't go other places for health and safety reasons, but this- baseball- is one thing I'm glad we can still experience together.

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