“Battle of the Bugs”

The New Britain Bees hosted the Sugar Land Skeeters in an early May series that the New Britain marketing staff billed as the “battle of the bugs.”  It’s kind of catchy, but not many people bit (haha), at least not for the Tuesday game played on a dank evening.  By the end of the game, it was me and no more than 50 other fans watching a very efficient (2 hours and 8 minutes) defensive battle.

The Bees scored a pair of runs in the fifth inning, and that was enough to earn a 2-1 victory behind the third straight impressive start by New Britain’s Nick Greenwood.  We’ve been to three Bees games, all started by Greenwood, who has yet to allow a run in 19 innings.

I was able to get the Skeeters lineup card after the game.  Kudos to Sugar Land manager Gary Gaetti.  Gaetti, a two-time all-star in 20 Major League seasons, could’ve easily blown me off.  His team had second and third with no one out in the 8th inning, and only managed to plate one run.  The Skeeters put the tying run on first to start the top of the ninth, but all for naught as the next two batters struck out, and the final hitter flied out to deep center.  It had to be a frustrating loss.

In similar situations, managers have ignored us even though we always low key it when asking a losing manager, coach or player for a lineup card.  Most notably, Sean and I asked then-Auburn Doubledays manager Gary Cathcart for his lineup card after an Auburn loss last season.  We were the only ones to ask, and Catchcart had to have heard us.  Instead of handing us the lineup card, or even just ignoring us and leaving the card altogether, he instead ripped it into four pieces.

Undeterred, we eventually were able to fish the Doubleday lineup card pieces out of the garbage, and with some tape, it came out looking alright.  It makes for a great story, and we ended up with the team’s “relief pitcher usage” card as well!

Auburn DDays (Aug 9, 2015)

 

Back to Gaetti.  Not only did he give me the lineup card after Tuesday night’s loss, but he finished filling in the line score at the bottom of the card before giving it to me.  He also signed the lineup card without me asking, as he also did the two times we got lineup cards from him last year.

Skeeters (May 3, 2016)

 

You find out a lot about people with how they react when it would be easy to make an excuse for bad behavior.  Gaetti gives the impression that he’s a class act, which makes it easy to root for him.  Go Skeeters!

There are a few notable names on the Skeeters lineup card.  Jeremy Barfield is the son of former Major Leaguer Jesse Barfield, who led MLB in homeruns in 1986.

Andy LaRoche is the brother of former Major Leaguer Adam LaRoche.  Andy played parts of six seasons in the MLB himself.

Patrick Palmeiro is the son of long-time MLB’er Rafael Palmeiro.  The elder Palmeiro played a single game with the Skeeters last season as a 50-year-old, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Lineup Card Stats

2016: 16 lineup cards (12 dugout/bullpen; 4 “official batting order”)

Lifetime: 79 lineup cards (59 dugout/bullpen; 18 “official batting order”; and 2 “relief pitcher usage”)

Leagues: MLB: American League; National League.  MiLB: International League; Eastern League; Carolina League; New York-Penn League.  Independent Leagues: Atlantic League; Can-Am League; American Association.  Colleges: NCAA – American Athletic Conference; NCAA – Ivy League; NCAA – Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference; Cape Cod League; New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL); Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL)

 

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