Sean and I made it to the final game of the New Britain Bees’ inaugural season against the Somerset Patriots. The Bees had been knocked out of playoff contention Friday night, and Somerset had already clinched a playoff spot, so it was a meaningless game.
The Bees jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but the Patriots stormed back for a 13-6 win in front of a few hundred fans.
Sean really wanted a game-used Bees hat. His initial plan was to ask someone in the bullpen for a hat, but giving up 13 runs, the only player left in the New Britain bullpen by the top of the 9th inning was the bullpen catcher, and it didn’t look like he had a hat. Plan B was to stand by the OF side of the New Britain dugout.
The first two players Sean asked said no, and he got a little discouraged but I told him that he had no right to get discouraged as the Bees players had no obligation to give him a hat, but if he really wanted one, he should keep trying as some players were still milling around. I then went to get Somerset’s lineup card.
When I came back, sure enough Sean had a hat from New Britain infielder John Dziomba, which was very nice of him and made Sean’s day. It was humid Sunday and Dziomba had been playing, so the hat was accordingly sweaty. Sean actually washed the hat at home, which he wouldn’t have done unless he really liked it and wanted to wear it.
He then dried it using a balloon to help the hat keep its shape.
The hat came out great!
The best moment at the game, and perhaps the season, for me was mid-way through. We were sitting at the top of a section. No balls had come our way yet. I had just walked down and out of the section when, of course, a ball heads near where Sean still is sitting. I watch as he easily goes over and gets it. A younger kid was also going after it but Sean easily beat him to it. But after Sean picks it up, he immediately turns around and hands the ball to the boy. There were only a few hundred people there, but they all started cheering for Sean. That was awesome to watch!
An inning later, a guy comes up to us, tells Sean he thought what he did was awesome, and gives Sean a Bees’ mini-bat, which was really, really nice of him!
We walked by a small pile of snow/melting ice at one point, and of course had a quick snowball fight. I lost.
I knew from past experience that Somerset manager Brett Jodie keeps his dugout lineup card, but he did give me the official batting order cards.
It was great having the New Britain Bees in our backyard this season, especially with the Hartford Yard Goat stadium fiasco resulting in the Yard Goats not playing any games in Hartford. My only disappointment with the Bees was the attendance. Aside from the two school day games I made it to, there were never more than a few hundred people (and in a couple cases, much, much less than that) at the games we went to. The Bees chalked up the lower-than-hoped-for attendance to the fact that they were a new team and got a late start to marketing. There’s some validity to that excuse, but regardless, they missed out on a great opportunity with no other professional baseball played within 50 miles of New Britain in 2016. I hope they are able to draw more fans in 2017!
2016: 57 lineup cards (40 dugout/bullpen; 17 “official batting order”)
Lifetime: 120 lineup cards (87 dugout/bullpen; 31 “official batting order”; and 2 “relief pitcher usage”)