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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Bristol Pirates Playoffs Begin

Sorry for the bad pics. Forgot my camera and had to fall back on the phone.

Click on picture to enlarge.

Didn't get the guy at home, but fired it to first and looked like he got the guy at first, but not in the eyes of the ump.
Chasing the Pirate

The first game of the Appalachian league playoffs is played at the lower ranked team's stadium and the next two are at the higher. The Bristol fans are well aware of this and not particularly happy about it (they finished back .5 games). As I walked into the stadium the two guys behind me were griping because the umps stopped a game they thought they were going to win. "It was the ninth inning and there were two outs left. Smith and Jones were on base. I know there was lightning and all, but c'mon."

I made the mistake of sitting above the JC Cardinals bullpen and thus got to hear kids begging the players for balls. After about an inning and a half the pitchers developed sudden onset deafness and couldn't hear the kids ten feet away from them anymore. The kids started trying to get creative leading to a deep discussion on how to ask for a ball in Spanish. Unfortunately, un baseball por favor in a thick Appalachian accent didn't instantly cure the players' deafness. Not that that stopped the kids' begging.

The game was pretty good with teams alternating one point innings. The first video above was from the first inning when the Pirates tied it up. The second video above is from the three run eighth which put the Pirates up by two runs. Then the BPirates held off a Cardinal rally to win the first of three games for the Western Championship. Tonight they're playing in Johnson City (see first paragraph), but I shan't be there because I'm headed to Pulaski to watch the second game of the Eastern Championship.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Greeneville Reds' Last Weekend

Click on Photo to Enlarge

Hey, you guys hear about Jimmy and Millie?


On Saturday, the Greeneville Reds were giving away Yasiel Puig bobbleheads and you're dang right I went down to get one. I bought three tickets, but was only able to talk one of my buddies into going with me, not that it mattered much - they were giving away one bobblehead per ticket, not one per person. I thought that was great when I took one extra but soon realized this was a bad thing when I saw a couple guys with about 50 tickets come in, get 50 bobbleheads, pack them up, and leave. I'm sure they're already up on ebay. That is absolutely ridiculous and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it. How many kids are not getting a bobblehead because of these guys?

Okay, mini-rant out of the way, the rest of experience was great. We never made it down to the seats because we just stopped at the bar they've set up on the concourse (with bar stools no less) and watched the game from there. It was a great place to watch the game from. The buddy with me is unfortunately baseballfully-disabled - he has the unfortunate handicap of being a Cubs fan, although I've managed, through diligent effort and a few sharp slaps to the head, to keep his condition from worsening into Cardinal fandom. He didn't particularly care about a game between the Greeneville Reds and the Princeton Rays. Instead, he spent his time running around the stadium trying to outrace all the kids who chase baseballs. My labrador retriever would have been proud of him. He finally got one (well, actually he was given one by a stadium employee who took pity on him), but he gave it away to a little kid. When we left the stadium that night his reward was to find a baseball lying next to his truck. From the paint on the side of the ball, we're pretty sure it hit the side of his truck (he didn't care) and got caught between it and the curb. So, he had fun, made a kid happy, and still got a ball to take home. All because he went to a Reds' game.

The Greeneville Reds still have the best stadium in the Appalachian League. Pulaski's done some interesting stuff, but because of some unfixable flaws in Pulaski's field, Greeneville will always have a fundamentally better stadium. They've also gotten a mascot since the last time I swung by (see picture above). Attendance was claimed to be north of 2,000, but if there were that many in the park about 1,200 of them were wearing invisibility cloaks. If I had to find something to complain about the worst I can come up with is that they don't have anybody leading "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" when it is sung in the 7th inning stretch (not a flaw unique to Greeneville - this is a failure anywhere it happens). I love going to this park; it's just that it's a bit of a drive and the league's decision to start games at 6:30 this year made it hard to schedule and impossible on work days.

 As for the game itself, both teams are already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and you could tell it is the ed of the season. Nobody was purposefully sluggish, but nobody was trying to be Rodney McCray either. The Rays lit into the Red's starter, Abril, and got 3 runs in the first. They added 1 in the second and 1 in the seventh. Meanwhile, the Reds couldn't seem to get anything going. In the bottom of the ninth they got men on 1st and 2nd without an out and it looked like they might be able at least get 1 run across. However, it was not to be. Flyout. Half a double play (Callihan beat the throw to first). Flyout.

And then the Greeneville Reds handed us big boxes of aspirin (as a giveaway) on our way out of the park.

All-in-all, a fun night. I wish the game could have been closer or at least won by the good guys, but it's and imperfect world. Next year the Greeneville Reds will have another chance to prove they are the best team in the Appalachian League and I hope to get there more often to see it.