We went to a lot of games in July and got some great lineup cards. With kids out of school, games were typically more crowded – particularly New Britain Rock Cat games – and there was more competition for lineup cards. But other short-season leagues such as the NY-Penn League and Can-Am League had started playing opening up more opportunities.
- Sean and I went to the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) All Star Game (ASG) in Wareham, MA in late July. The CCBL is the premier summer college baseball league, if not the top league in all of amateur baseball. We went largely to snag the special ASG ball the CCBL uses. We were lucky to get a couple in batting practice because we got shut out during the homerun derby and the game itself.
We actually thought about leaving late in the game but decided to take a shot at getting the lineup card. I thought it was a longshot. The way the dugouts are set up at Spillane Field, there is no way to ask someone in the dugout for the lineup card from the stands. So we decided to wait outside the fence of one of the dugouts. Interestingly, when the game ended, some family and friends headed out onto the field. We decided to go ahead and join, and no one stopped us. We headed to the nearest dugout and seeing the lineup card still on the wall and the manager standing right there, we asked him for it. He hesitated for a split second and then proceeded to take the lineup card off the wall and hand it to us.
Many CCBL players end up in the Major Leagues – 1,155 as of October 2015, according to the CCBL website – so there is a great chance that some of the players listed on the lineup card will eventually make their way to the MLB. Of interest on this lineup card: Cavin Biggio is the son of Craig Biggio, who was inducted into the HOF the same weekend as the CCBL ASG; the CCBL ASG logo in the top center says “2014” instead of 2015, although the date a little lower – “July 25th 2015” – is accurate. Below that, “Warham” should be spelled Wareham.
- Sean and I went to a Brooklyn Cyclones @ Staten Island Yankees game in mid-July. It was as crazy an end to a game as I’ve ever seen. For starters, it went to extra innings tied 2-2. It was getting late and we really needed to go, and probably would not have made it to the end of the game had it not ended in the 10th inning. In the bottom of the 10th, Staten Island had a runner of 1st with two outs. The next batter singled to make it first and third with two outs. With a lefty pitching, a righty at bat and a lefty on deck, Brooklyn manager Tom Gamboa elected to intentionally walk the next batter to load the bases to create a more favorable pitching matchup. The first two intentional walk pitches went as planned, but the pitcher inexplicably stopped in the middle of his delivery of the third pitch. The umpire emphatically called it a balk, and the winning run advanced home.
Before the game, I had asked Gamboa if we could have the lineup card after the game, and he had nodded yes. But after losing the game on a balk, Gamboa quickly darted into the clubhouse. Luckily, someone else in the dugout had heard Gamboa promise us the lineup card and handed it to us.
- We got our first Can-Am lineup card at a Fargo Redhawks @ Sussex Miners game. Actually, the Redhawks are in the American Association. Both the American Association and Can-Am League are independent leagues run by the same person, so teams play each other during the season. We really wanted to get the Redhawks lineup card because it was our only shot at getting an American Association lineup card for the season and the card looked pretty cool from a distance. But even with only a couple hundred people at the game, there was one guy who beat Sean out for the card. I had headed over to the Sussex dugout, and was fortunate to beat out a friend of the guy who got the Fargo card. Fargo is already on our short list for 2016.
- We also hit a Hudson Valley Renegades @ Connecticut Tigers game. The Tigers manager doesn’t give out his lineup card, so we tried for the Renegades. The Renegades manager keeps his lineup card, but was nice enough to give us the official lineup cards for both teams. These official lineup cards are nicer than the ones teams in the Atlantic League use. We got another Renegades official lineup card later in the season along with the Aberdeen Ironbirds, Rock Cats and Altoona Curve. The Curve official lineup card was of the carbon-copy variety like teams in the Atlantic League use.
- Finally, we got a lineup card for a game we didn’t go to, and a neat lineup card to boot! We went to the July 3rd Hew Hampshire Fisher Cats @ Portland Sea Dogs game. The game itself was one to forget. Portland was down 7-0 after three innings, never got closer than four runs the rest of the way and eventually lost 11-4. It was so bad that the Fisher Cats stopped keeping track of the score, who made the last out or substitutions after the top of the fourth inning.
At the end of the game, Sean and I headed down to the Fisher Cats dugout. We had tried to get a lineup card from the Sea Dogs game in New Britain earlier in the season and were told the manager kept the lineup cards. So we played it safe and went for the Fisher Cats from whom we had gotten a lineup card earlier in the season. Long story short, not only were we able to get the lineup card from that game, but we also got the lineup card from the previous night’s game had also been left up. That game was a 16-inning game.