We didn’t go to any baseball games for about a two week stretch in August due to vacation. But we still managed to make a couple of great scores in the limited August opportunities we had:
- We had circled the August 9th Auburn Doubledays @ CT Tigers game on the schedule two months earlier because it would be our only chance to get to a Doubledays game in 2015. The Doubledays are a Nats farm team. The Harrisburg Senators had a great lineup card, and we knew through a friend that the Potomac Nationals did, too, so odds were that the Doubledays would as well. The Doubledays lost to the Tigers 4-2. Auburn never led, and never got the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning, so it wasn’t a heart-breaking loss, but a loss nonetheless. Knowing how difficult a loss can be, not to mention that this is their livelihood, we always try to be understanding and more respectful than normal when asking a player, coach or manager for a lineup card after a loss. So we were particularly respectful when asking Doubleday manager Gary Cathcart for his lineup card. It’s hard to believe that Cathcart didn’t hear us, but he went ahead and ripped it into four pieces anyway and threw it in the garbage. Disappointing, but what can you do. After all the Doubledays players/coaches left the dugout, we asked a grounds crew member for the four pieces. The CT Tigers’ staffer pulled the torn pieces out of the garbage and handed them to us. As it turns out, with some tape (which you can see if you look closely at the picture), it came out looking fine, so no harm, no foul. And we got a bonus of sorts. When the Tigers’ staffer pulled the lineup card pieces out of the garbage, he also pulled out a “Nationals Relief Pitcher Usage” card with it. This had been torn into two pieces, but again looks fine with some tape. We’d never gotten one of these before, so this was awesome. We don’t consider it a lineup card because it isn’t, but it’s cool nonetheless.
Of particular note is “Rivera III” at the bottom. This is Yankees great Mariano Rivera’s son. Rivero III didn’t pitch because as the card says, he had thrown 27 pitches the previous night. Also of note on the Doubleday lineup card are “Gibson” – Cam Gibson, son of MLB star Kirk Gibson – and “Zeile” – Shane Zeile, nephew of former major leaguer Todd Zeile.
- Kate and I caught a Vermont Lake Monsters @ CT Tigers game later in the month. The Lake Monsters are somewhat special because we had traveled up to Burlington, Vermont a few years earlier and had a great time at a couple of Lake Monster games. So getting a Lake Monster card would be awesome. And we did, after the first game of what was supposed to be a double-header. It’s a neat looking card with watermarking. It is dated the day before we went to the game because that game was postponed and pushed back to the next day.
- Our local MiLB team, the New Britain Rock Cats, had announced several months earlier that 2015 would be its final season not only in New Britain, but as the Rock Cats. The team is moving to Hartford for the 2016 season and will be named the Hartford Yard Goats (“Yard Goats”, really?!?). It’s sad to see from a couple of perspectives. First, we have had great times going to Rock Cat games over the years. Additionally, Hartford is a longer drive, potentially brings more traffic and parking problems into play, and will almost certainly be more expensive. And did I mention dangerous? I’m told that the area near where the stadium is being built has a bad reputation. The good news is that the Atlantic League already has announced that a new team — the New Britain Bees — will move into New Britain Stadium in 2016.
Back to the 2015 season. I had been thinking all year that it would be awesome to get a lineup card from the last Rock Cat home game. I knew there would likely be at least a couple others, if not a few, with the same idea. I had one trick up my sleeve that may or may not have worked, but we’ll never know. While Kate, Sean and I went to the Sunday afternoon game, it ended up going 15 innings. We called it a day after 12 innings. The kids did each get a ball at the game, which was nice.