I took the day off and Sean and I went to a State College Spikes @ Connecticut Tigers matinee game at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT.
The Tigers won 4-0. We got a couple of games balls, one of which we gave away. Sean also got a post-game toss-up without really trying from an unidentified Tigers player.
Our goal was to get the Spikes lineup card. It would be our 100th career lineup card, which is incredible given that 1) we have gotten 99 of them since the beginning of the 2015 season; and 2) we have never bought a lineup card.
We asked State College manager Johnny Rodriguez for his lineup card after the game. He said no, he needed to keep it, so I asked him for the official batting order cards. You can’t see into the dugouts well, so I couldn’t see what he was doing, but next thing I know, he’s handing us a lineup card. I figured he had changed his mind. Awesome!
We headed over to the Tigers dugout and asked Mike Rabelo for his lineup card, which he happened to have in his hand, but he ignored us just as he did two-three times last season.
But all was good. We had the Spikes lineup card, our 100th. It’s not the prettiest lineup card we’ve ever gotten, but it’s our first Spikes card and first from any team in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
The surprise came in the car when I looked at the card more closely. It was from the previous night’s game!
For whatever reason, I guess Rodriguez could give us the previous day’s lineup card but not the current day’s card. We would have preferred the card from the game we were at, but oh, well. It was good to get one of them.
During the game, we walked around the OF wall as we always do at Dodd Stadium. In the past, we have found ROMLBs, a 2014 MLB Playoff ball as well as NY-Penn League, Eastern League and Northeast Conference balls.
The first ball we found was exactly what I was hoping we might find, a 2016 FL Spring Training ball! It was water-logged, but has already dried out decently and the logo is pretty good all things considered.
[Sean outside Dodd Stadium as we were leaving, with the previous day’s lineup card.]
From Norwich, we headed an hour north to Worcester, MA where the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) would be holding its All Star Game that evening at Fitton Field on the Campus of College of the Holy Cross.
When we entered the stadium, the players were being evaluated by roughly 30 pro scouts. Specifically, the first basemen were going through the process of fielding a series of ground balls and making some throws. It was interesting to watch.
Our hope was to score one or more FCBL ASG balls that were to be used, but we didn’t know if they would be used just during the game, or for batting practice and the Home Run Derby, too. We also didn’t know if we would be allowed to stand behind the outfield wall for BP and/or the Home Run Derby.
It turns out that most of the balls used for BP and the Home Run Derby were in fact ASG balls. And while they kept announcing that all balls must be returned for continued use, they didn’t police it very much. During BP, there was an employee hanging out getting balls hit over the LF fence. We stuck to CF, and he didn’t bother us. We got a few ASG balls during BP.
[The bottom of the ball, which can’t be seen in this picture, has the FCBL logo.]
We were beyond the LF fence for the first half of the Home Run Derby and pretty much had it to ourselves and got a few more ASG balls. Then an employee came by and nicely told us we couldn’t be out there, so we left. By that point, we had snagged several ASG baseballs anyway.
The game started half-an-hour late and we had a 75-minute drive home after a long day of baseball, so we left after the 5th inning.
Kudos to the FCBL folks, and the host team, the Worcester Bravehearts for putting on a great event. There was also a Tim Collins bobblehead giveaway. Collins was a Worcester Tech High School star who is now a member of the Kansas City Royals, although he hasn’t played since 2014 due to injury. There was a nice crowd on hand, and lots of stuff for kids to do outside the stadium.
One somewhat funny story. During the game, I gave an ASG ball to a man with about a 2-year old who had a baseball glove. I walked away but turned around to see the man give the ball to his son. His son immediately wound up and threw the ball before the father could stop him – that’s what you’re supposed to do with a baseball, right? Unfortunately, it hit a woman in the back of the neck. I am all but certain she was not hurt, but she turned around with a startled/unhappy look. I figured it was a good time for me to leave at that point!
37 lineup cards (28 dugout/bullpen; 9 “official batting order”)
Lifetime: 100 lineup cards (75 dugout/bullpen; 23 “official batting order”; and 2 “relief pitcher usage”)