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Monday, September 2, 2019

Boiling in Salem

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Out trying to stretch a double to third.

Not a single bit of shade anywhere.


You want me to throw what?

You're doing it wrong. You're supposed to look down when you touch your toes.

1st half of a double play.

1st half of a double play.
 The last game of the regular season for the Salem Red Sox started at 1:05 in the afternoon. This was something of a disaster because the temperature as I left my car was 86F and this stadium is terribly built for hot day games. As you can see in the picture above, there is no place to sit in any shade and watch the game. Worse, the stadium seems to have been built to block the breeze. In fact, it's the only stadium I've ever been to that allows people to bring umbrellas and encourages their use (generally not allowed even when raining because of blocked views). 

I made it half way through the 4th inning in my seat on the third base wall before I had to leave. Judging from the way I felt, I was definitely overheated and had to walk slowly to get to the shaded and breezy concourse on the other side of the upper and box seats where you couldn't see any of the game. Once I got there, I realized I wasn't as bad off as some. There were older people everywhere, occupying every seat. Several were basically panting and one lady was struggling hard as her husband helped her along.

After a few minutes, I headed back out into the sun. I just didn't go anywhere that required using stairs. I got some ice water from the concession stand facing the field on the 1st base side, slugged it down in a couple minutes, and felt a whole lot better. Cudos to the folks at this stand who, when I came up and ordered water, sold me a dollar cup and filled it to the brim with ice and water and told me to come back as often as I wanted for free refills. They could have sold semi-cold bottled water and been done with it; instead, they were looking out for people. It's not the fault of anyone working the stadium that it has a terrible design for days when the sun is out.

Enuf with the griping. Let's talk about the game. The Salem Red Sox came into the game in 1st place in the Northern Division of the Carolina League and headed for the playoffs. The Carolina Mudcats came in in last place in the Southern Division with an E next to their name in the standings. So the game didn't mean much and nobody was playing like their lives depended on it. In the two double plays above the reason there isn't a picture with the runner sliding in is because both came in slow and not particularly interested in trying to break up the play. Still, neither side was giving it away either. The very first picture above is Elih Marrero trying to stretch a double into a triple and being tagged out because of excellent defensive play by the Mudcats. It may also be my best picture of the year so far. Thanks guys.

In the bottom of the 6th Salem took the lead with its single scoring drive when Triston Casas hit a homer scoring himself and the two runners on base. It was his first homerun as a Red Sox and it was a great time to get it. Those three points proved sufficient to win the game. The Mudcats didn't give up. They pushed one across in the top of the 7th and had men on second and third when their last batter grounded out to first. They fought to the end.

In the end, it was a good game, the people working the stadium and the people sitting near me were great, and the stadium sucked great big gobs of greasy grimy gophers guts. Y'all need to find a way to provide shade if you're going to have day games.

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