Official Box Score :::
Additional photos can be found here :::
The second game of the season for the Record-Journal Expos saw them at Muzzy Field taking on the Bristol Greeners. Looking at the scoreboard, this might look like it was a game about dominance and sending a message to the other team, but in reality, as I'd find out during the game, this was about poor sportsmanship and just not knowing the rules. The idea of "sour grapes" very much came into my mind during this game.
Right away, the first pitch in this game- the first ball thrown by the Greeners pitcher- was a HBP to Sebby Grignano, so you could see right away that the Greeners were off to a great start. Sebby Grignano would steal second base, advance to third on a wild pitch and then a sacrifice by AJ Hendrickson would bring him home, putting the Expos up 1-0 right away. This was, in many ways, the story of the game. HBP, wild pitch, etc that would all assist the Expos in scoring.
The only inning in which the Expos didn't score was the seventh and by then it felt like they were just ready for it to be over. Charlie Hesseltine was on the mound for the Expos and he pitched three shutout innings with the Greeners getting into scoring position a couple of times but never making anything of it. Just when it looked like the Greeners had a runner on third who might score, a strikeout would end the inning. It was that type of game.
In the second inning, Javon Malone scored on a sac fly and then a poor throw to first base brought in two more runs, putting the Expos up 4-0. During these first few innings, the Greeners had missed a few attempts at stealing just by being bad at throwing. There was more than one occasion when an Expos runner was stealing from first to second and should've been run down but instead poor fundies really got the Greeners into trouble.
The Greeners might have also had more HBPs than runs scored during this game. I wouldn't want to do the box score because many of the Expos runs were earned but many would be unearned. An RBI in the third inning made it 5-0 and then another run would come in on a sac fly. The top of fourth would see back to back walks- about ten pitches since a strike was thrown- to load the bases. Jeff Massicotte would score on a wild pitch, putting the game at 7-0 in the top of the fourth and then a walk would load the bases again.
Now this is when things got heated. It was the top of the fourth inning, bases loaded and the Greeners just had a pitching change to put things into context. Max Giacco was on third base for the Expos. As the Greeners' catcher threw the ball back to the pitcher, it went by the pitcher, who then would go near second base to get it. This was a whole thing where it felt like at least Greeners players were standing there, moving in slow motion and simply not picking up a ball right at their feet.
So Max Giacco did what any smart baseball player would do and ran from third base to home. The frustration of the Greeners came pouring out, as their catcher asked Giacco as he was crossing home plate: "It's a fucking seven nothing ball game- what are you doing??" First off, the obvious answer is that Max Giacco was scoring runs, something that the Greeners were failing at doing. Secondly, it was the fourth inning which meant it was still early in the game. Though not likely (and it didn't happen) I have seen teams come back from ten run deficits in the last innings and win the game. I've even seen it happen at Muzzy!
I put a lot of thought into this to where I nearly consulted with players, coaches, etc to see if this was some kind of unspoken rule and if a faux pas of sorts was committed. But the more it settled in and the more I thought about it, I remembered the rules of GHTBL and I came to the conclusion without a doubt that Max Giacco was in the right and the Greeners should not be saying such things because there is, after all, no crying in baseball.
If you happen to look at the GHTBL 2023 Regular Season Standings, you'll notice that some of the teams have the same record. As I type this, both the Rainbow Graphics and Record-Journal Expos sit atop the standings with 2 wins and 0 losses. Now, one might ask why the Graphics are above the Expos when they have the same record and the answer is simply that if you look at "RS" (runs scored) the Graphics have 19 and the Expos have 17. So, scoring runs in the grand scheme of things for the standings does in fact matter but I do not expect a team that has never been above .500 to be familiar with all of that.
After all of that, the Expos returned in the fifth inning and Jeff Massicotte blasted a two run homer over the right field wall. I'm not sure how many home runs I've seen hit at Muzzy, but it's not a lot and now Massicotte joins the likes of Babe Ruth as being players who have hit out of the park there. [Side Note: On our way back to the car, we looked for the homerun ball and found it, so if anyone is wondering, we have that now]
The sixth inning saw Sebby Grigano hit a huge double with the bases loaded, driving in three more runs and putting the Expos at thirteen runs in total for the game. In somewhat of a poetic fashion, Max Giacco also came in to finish this game as a pitcher so the Greeners had to once again taste their own feet as they also ended up once again tasting defeat.