There are not too many things better than bacon and baseball.
Kate and I were in the Allentown, PA area for a college visit.
[Kate rocking an old time Avalanche t-shirt. On the back? “Roy 33.”]
What would a visit to Allentown be without a trip to see the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Coca-Cola Park? Neither Kate nor I had been there.
As it turned out the IronPigs played a doubleheader the night we were there due to a rain out the night before. The DH ended up working out very well for us.
We separately tried for the Syracuse Chiefs and IronPigs lineup cards after the first game and struck out. I tried for the Chiefs. I thought I was in a good spot in the last inning, but as the last out was made, a swarm of mostly autograph hunters rushed to the railing with a view into the Chiefs dugout.
Despite the flash mob, I was the first to call out and ask Chiefs manager Billy Gardner for his lineup card, but he handed it to an older kid next to me. The boy told me that he had asked Gardner for the lineup card before the game, so more power to him. He showed me the card which said “Syracuse Chiefs” at the top and was pretty standard.
Kate asked for the IronPigs lineup card from the stands across a couple of walkways but with a good view into the IronPigs dugout. But she said someone handed it to a boy behind the IronPigs dugout.
For the second game, we figured out that the umpires walked right by where Kate stood after the first game. That would give us a shot at both the umpires and the Iron Pigs lineup cards.
Security was lax for both games, especially the second, so we sat about five rows from home plate, slightly down the 3rd base line but closer to home than 3rd. The dugouts offer a full view into their home plate side, so we could see everything going on in the IronPigs dugout.
The IronPigs swept the doubleheader, coming from behind in both games. The umpires walked by us into the locker room, and I asked the home plate umpire for the line up cards. Surprisingly, he obliged, handing me both teams’ “official” batting orders. We have only gotten lineup cards from an umpire once before, and in that case, we had to wait about 45 minutes until the umpire left the locker room outside the stadium.
Meanwhile, the IronPigs were in the midst of the traditional post-game victory high-five on the field. When Manager Dave Brundage came back to the dugout, Kate and I asked him for the lineup card. He brought it over to us.
While we could see the Lehigh Valley dugout, we couldn’t see the lineup card. So it was awesome to see how nice it was.
This is arguably as nice a lineup card as we have ever gotten! We have one other International League lineup card (RailRiders), but it is more of a team lineup card. This one has the beautiful International League logo in the watermark along with the IronPigs and Chiefs watermarks.
There are a few players who have already seen MLB time on this lineup card, including Steve Lombardozzi, Brian Goodwin and Darin Ruf. Also, Aaron Altherr from the Phillies is on a rehab assignment.
Top Nats prospect Lucas Giolito is not on the dugout lineup card but is listed on the official lineup card that we got from the umpire.
As awful as it was to strike out the way we did after Game 1, the knowledge we gained helped tremendously after Game 2.
And for what it was worth, we made the right call focusing in the IronPigs side of the field as there was another large gathering by the Chiefs dugout from what I could see. I am guessing most were looking for Giolito.
Here is Kate with the lineup card after the game:
For the next day, our game choices were: 1) go to the Chiefs @ IronPigs 11:30am game; 2) go to the Buffalo Bison # Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game at Noon; or 3) go to the Can-Am League Sussex County Miners @ Rockland Boulders game at 11am.
The first two choices would leave us a long ride home in rush hour traffic. The RailRiders game would add about 1 hour to our commute home. Also, it was going to be hot again.
Initially, I wanted to go to the RailRider game. It would be another new stadium for us. I almost bought tickets ahead of time but decided to hold off for whatever reason.
As it turned out, with with a late night after the IronPigs DH, we decided to go to the Boulders game as we knew we could watch the game in the shade and it would almost certainly get us home earlier than the other two.
It did, even though the game itself was a snooze-fest. I love baseball, but I’m sorry, 3:21 for a 9-inning league game is too long.
Kate scored the Miners-Boulders game, as well as the second game of the Chiefs-IronPigs DH. We scored both lineup cards after the game.
The Miners lineup card, while largely unimpressive (it was photocopied on a large sheet of regular paper) did get me to chuckle with its “Today” response to the “Date.” I haven’t seen that before.
2016: 42 lineup cards (31 dugout/bullpen; 11 “official batting order”)
Lifetime: 105 lineup cards (78 dugout/bullpen; 25 “official batting order”; and 2 “relief pitcher usage”)