Additional photos can be found here :::
The playoffs are underway for the GHTBL and all of the first round match ups were taking place on the same day within a half hour of each other. I understand there are obvious time constraints (and booking because of the way this season has been with 2020 on the whole) but this day made it so that you couldn't see all three games if you wanted to and instead you had to choose which one to attend.
The Expos played their first regular season game against the Graphics and beat them at Ceppa Field. The second time the Expos met the Graphics this season was in Manchester and that game concluded at Ceppa Field on Friday night with the Expos winning again. It amazes me that the Expos went 2-0 against this last place team all season and then somehow lose to them in the first round of the playoffs. I told my dad it felt like the Rainbow Graphics had saved all of their best offense and defense for this single game.
Jack Rich was on the mound for the Expos and though the Graphics scored one run an inning for the first three innings, he kept them at bay fairly well. The Expos weren't able to get a hit off of Evan Chamberlain and they didn't score until the sixth inning but were able to put together two runs for a 3-2 score. It felt like the Expos could be mounting their comeback and could at least tie the game and force extra innings if not walk it off in the seventh.
The Graphics weren't done though and they put up two huge runs in the top of the seventh to secure their victory. This was my first time at Riverfront Park in Glastonbury and while it is a nice place to watch baseball, being in the stands meant that we were right behind homeplate and so we saw any number of pitches thrown nowhere near the plate which were called as strikes. I originally thought that the umpires were moved to keep social distancing- so they weren't so close to the catcher- but during this game they felt especially close to the pitcher.
What is the point of having the umpire calling pitches stand right next to the pitcher instead of behind the catcher? He isn't social distancing himself from the pitcher, so being too close to the catcher wouldn't be an issue. I think it's mainly because they don't want to wear all the protective gear that the catchers wear but you know? That's what you're paid to do. This season (and I'm sure this isn't the only game) is going to be tainted by poor calls made because it's the year (and not just in the GHTBL, mind you) that umpires decided to come out from behind home plate for a worse view of the strike zone.
I'm also not sure why but during this game the Expos and Graphics had some words. One Expos player (who will remain nameless) struck out and as he was walking back to the dug out, stopped, turned to the Graphics dug out and said "What are you going to do about it?" and then walked back to the dug out when the Graphics shut up. But it was odd to think that the Graphics were talking shit when they were in fact winning. Is it not worse to be a poor winner than a poor loser?
Following this loss to the Graphics, the Expos play next against their old friends the Ulbrich Steel and they play at McKenna Field Tuesday night at 6pm. The last time these two teams faced off there it didn't end well for the Expos but I was in New Jersey so I only hear stories. With each team facing elimination, I expect this game to be of the utmost intense quality and perhaps even an entire team being thrown out of the game.
The Graphics have sealed their fate (and likely used up all of their talent in one game) as they face the Jets tomorrow night at 8pm at McKenna Field as part of that double header with the Expos-Steel game. One team will have their season end and another will go down to the secondary bracket of the tournament. If the Expos defeat the Steel though their next game would be against whoever loses between the Phillies and Orioles which happens tonight at Ceppa Field. Every match up has become quite interesting as no one is assured a victory.