Kate was given free tickets and food vouchers for Sunday’s New Britain Bees’ home finale, so it was a no-brainer to go. And it would get better while we were at the game itself.
It was a beautiful day for baseball and New Britain drew the biggest crowd I’ve seen at a Bees game this season. Not the 3,625 listed in the box score, but maybe 1,200 people at the game.
After getting our free lunch and watching a few innings of the game, Sean and I took our usual walk around New Britain Stadium, as we almost always find one or more balls beyond the outfield fence.
We found one pretty quickly, in a wet area behind the right field wall. Sean immediately noticed it had just red laces, which is unusual at Bees games as they have almost always used red-blue-laced Atlantic League balls.
I picked it up, and it was an Arizona League baseball!
That probably wouldn’t be overly exciting to just about anyone other than Kate, Sean and I. It so happens that for at least a year, we have needed just one ball complete our collection of current MiLB league baseball, and that ball was an Arizona League ball!
The good news/bad news is that the ball was wet, but not saturated. It dried out fairly quickly, but the ink on the ball has become fainter now that it is dry: You have to look real close to see that it is an Arizona League ball. But we will take it.
As an aside, never knowing what you might find when ballhawking is a major part of the fun. Here are some of the unique baseballs we have found in surprising places:
- 2011 MLB ASG ball at a Brown @ Central Connecticut State baseball game two years ago. Brown had a bucket of them as practice balls.
- Blue Jays’ 40th Anniversary baseball at a Junior College baseball game in Connecticut in 2017. The ball, pretty beat up, was beyond one of the chain link outfield fences all by itself
- Pecos League baseballs: The University of Hartford’s baseball team uses them as practice balls.
Back to the game, the Skeeters broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the 7th and added 1 in the 9th for a 7-3 win.
Sean wanted to try for Sugar Land’s lineup card. We tried twice two weeks ago: he got shut down once and the second time, he got the card but the Skeeters were using a Bees’ card since they had run out on a longer-than-expected road trip.
Sean waiting to ask for Sugar Land’s lineup card
Sugar Land’s acting manager Raffy Montalvo initially told Sean “no” because he had some notes on the card, but when I explained the situation, Montalvo was nice enough to copy his notes (pitch counts for his 5 pitchers) and give Sean the card.
Sean was also thrown a ball by a Sugar Land player while waiting at the dugout. It will likely be our last “Atlantic League 20th Season ball.” It’s been a lot of fun having a commemorative ball being used in our backyard.
Meanwhile, Kate had planned to ask New Britain manager Stan Cliburn for his lineup card, but another boy got there first. That’s fine, we have gotten more than our share of Bees’ lineup cards the last two seasons.
2017: 35 lineup cards (20 dugout/bullpen; 15 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup” card)
Lifetime: 157 lineup cards (107 dugout/bullpen; 47 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 1 “today’s lineup”)
Sean and I made it to the last few innings of Tuesday’s Noon 7-inning game between Sugar Land and New Britain. Like Monday, there was no charge for paring or admission, they were just looking for a donation to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
There were a few more people at Tuesday’s game than Monday’s game, and definitely a few more kids ballhawking.
Still, Sean, sitting just left of the net in the top section, had much of the third base side of the stadium to himself. Unfortunately, nothing came his way. We did get a foul ball that left the stadium, and someone from the Sugar Land bullpen tossed Sean a ball without him asking, so we had no complaints.
Like the day before, the Bees were offering a hot dog for each ball returned to the concession stand. We have plenty of Atlantic League balls, and brought three with us which we traded in for hot dogs.
The game was a good one. The Skeeters were again playing as the home team. The score was tied 0-0 heading into the bottom of the 7th. Sugar Land got its lead-off runner on, and one out later, he tried to steal 2nd base. The throw clearly beat the runner, but according to the umpire, the runner snuck his hand in before the tag.
It was the turning point of the game as with two outs, Sugar Land got a base hit and the runner on second scored for the 1-0 Skeeter win.
Sean had decided to try for Sugar Land’s lineup card again, despite being told “no” the day before after a Sugar Land loss. Apparently, the win made the difference as a Skeeter coach filling in for manager Gary Gaetti gave Sean the card.
Sean waiting for the lineup card after the game
The major surprise was that it wasn’t a Skeeters’ card, but rather, a Bees’ card with tape over the New Britain logo.
Our assumption is that the Skeeters didn’t bring enough of their own lineup cards with them given that this series was to have been played in Texas, and had to get one from the Bees. While we would have liked a Skeeters’ card, we already have a couple from past seasons, and the modified Skeeters’ card is unique.
2017: 33 lineup cards (18 dugout/bullpen; 15 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup” card)
Lifetime: 155 lineup cards (105 dugout/bullpen; 47 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 1 “today’s lineup”)
The New Britain Bees ended up with a surprise home stand this week. Due to Hurricane Harvey and the flooding in Texas, it was announced yesterday that the Bees @ Sugar Land Skeeters series was moved from Texas to New Britain.
I assume for a few reasons including the lack of time to market the series, it was decided not to charge admission to the four-game series being played over three days, with a twin bill Tuesday afternoon.
Kate, Sean and I headed over to today’s 4pm game a little late due to work. We made a donation to the flood relief efforts and walked into a largely empty stadium.
Kate counted about 75 people in the stands.
We figured it would be a ballhawker’s paradise, and it largely was. There were a few other kids roaming around, end even a few adults chased balls, but there were plenty for all.
Sean pretty much had the upper section of the 3B line to himself.
That’s Sean in the maroon shirt up top, with no one near him
Kate had a similar situation in a shaded area on the 1B side, but she was happy to read, and never had a ball hit near her anyway.
We ended up with 8 balls: one home run, five foul balls and two toss-ups Sean got after the game. He gave two balls away, including one to a little ball who was beaten out for a foul ball a couple minutes earlier.
Sean (red shirt) making me proud giving a ball away!
In the picture above, Bees’ General Manager Gerry Berthiaume (black shirt) was being interviewed by a local newscaster, presumably about the fact that the series was moved from Texas to New Britain due to the flooding.
Sugar Land was playing as the home team, and led 2-0 on an Anthony Giansanti home run that Sean ended up with.
It was 2-1 in the top of the 9th when New Britain’s Jon Griffin crushed a one out, 2-run homer to give New Brtain the lead. The Bees hung on for the one-run win.
Sean had decided to go for the Skeeters’ lineup card. For whatever reason manager Gary Gaetti, who has given us his card a few times before, was not at the game. The interim manager told Sean “no” with respect to the lineup card. Maybe it was because Sugar Land lost a tough game?
Meanwhile, Kate got the usual dugout and two batting order cards from New Britain manager Stan Cliburn.
Not bad considering we didn’t expect to have a baseball game to go to today.
Most importantly, we send our thoughts and prayers to all those in Texas being impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
2017: 32 lineup cards (17 dugout/bullpen; 15 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup” card)
Lifetime: 154 lineup cards (104 dugout/bullpen; 47 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 1 “today’s lineup”)
Sean and I checked into New Britain Stadium Friday night for the Long Island Ducks at the New Britain Bees.
It was a gorgeous night for baseball, just enough of a chill in the air to warrant a jacket for some.
There were a few hundred people at the game, perhaps 500 if we are generous, despite the box score claiming 3,329. Frankly, if the Bees can’t pull in more than a few hundred people on a great night weather-wise with no other baseball games within 50 miles and most people back from vacation, it makes me wonder if this marriage with New Britain is going to last.
On the field, the Bees jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the 6th inning. But the Ducks had battled back to within one run, 4-3, through the top of the 8th.
New Britain, with the worst record in the Atlantic League, tacked on a key insurance run in the bottom of the 8th, then escaped with the tying run on first in the 9th for the 5-3 win.
I went to two Ducks @ Bees games earlier this season. Ducks manager Kevin Baez gave me his lineup card when they won, but not when they lost. So, we decided to just try for the Bees lineup card. Manager Stan Cliburn has been great about giving his card away win or lose in his nearly two seasons as Bees manager.
Sean got in position by the home plate side of the dugout with a few other kids after the game ended.
Sean to the left, and Bees manager Stan Cliburn in the black jacket to the left after the game
Sean was the only one asking for a lineup card, and Cliburn gave him his dugout lineup card as well as the two official batting order cards.
The three cards in total Friday night raised our lifetime total to 151 in a little less than three years of chasing lineup cards.
A Bees win, a couple more Atlantic League 20th season commemorative balls and three lineup cards. It was a good night all around!
2017: 29 lineup cards (16 dugout/bullpen; 13 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup” card)
Lifetime: 151 lineup cards (103 dugout/bullpen; 45 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 1 “today’s lineup”)
Sean is getting better but still not well enough to go inside a stadium for a game yet.
But we were able to head over to New Britain Stadium for BP before the Bees game against the Somerset Patriots on Saturday.
A gate was left open down the LF line so we were able to watch BP for a while, and snagged a few baseballs, all Atlantic League 20th season commemoratives.
Sean also flew his drone outside the RF side of the ballpark and got this picture while the Patriots were in the field taking BP:
I’d rather be in the stadium with Sean, but this was better than nothing.