Behind Enemy Lines

(Click on the images for larger versions.)

When Bubba was sent to Louisville, one of the first things I did was check the schedule, to see if I'd be able to get to any of the games. Three series were in reasonable driving distance: Syracuse, Scranton, and Pawtucket, each roughly three hours' drive away.

I didn't buy tickets or anything, since I had hopes that maybe Bubba would be called up to the big club. Alas, it didn't work out that way. He had to have surgery on his left shoulder. It went well, and he's expected to be 100% by spring training next year, but this season is over for him.

But I decided I still wanted to go see a game or three. I let Hotwire make my decision for me. They had a great deal for a cushy hotel in Providence, Rhode Island, only five minutes away from Pawtucket. And I was fan of H.P. Lovecraft as a kid, so that was another reason I wanted to visit Providence.

Saturday, Curt Schilling was scheduled for a rehab start, so the game was sold out. But there were still tickets for Sunday, an afternoon game. Only the cheap seats were left, but it's not a very big stadium, so even the cheap seats are okay.

McCoy Stadium

The Pawtucket Red Sox play at McCoy Stadium. It is a pretty old stadium, and though it's been extensively renovated, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles that newer minor league parks have. Not much of a concourse, no restaurants, nothing for the kids to do except watch the game. It is, however, where the longest professional baseball game in history was played. They have a framed poster up commemorating it.

That game was played the night before Easter, and went until after 4am before it was suspended, after the 32nd (!) inning. The game was finished a couple of months later, and took only one more inning.

Check out the box score. (I wonder if the rest of the PawSox were annoyed at whoever scored that run in the bottom of the 21st?)

box score

The Saturday I was there, they were giving away pink PawSox t-shirts to all female fans. I gave mine to a lady who was pitching a fit because she wanted one for her daughter at home. She seemed very puzzled at my generosity. It didn't seem advisable to say, "I'm a Yankees fan, and heck will freeze over before I wear this shirt," so I just mumbled something about pink not being my color.

I got there over an hour early, and staked out a seat on the aisle. Which proved fortunate, since, as usual, a seven foot tall giant sat down in front of me. (It never fails. I'm kinda vertically challenged, and no matter where I go, the seven foot giants always sit in front of me. Movies, lectures, Broadway plays - the giants always sit in front of me.) But since I was on the aisle, I could kind of lean around him and see the game.

Going for the Bats was The Lizard:

Elizardo Ramirez Ramirez

He pitched 6.2 innings, giving up 5 hits, 1 run, and 1 walk, with three strikeouts.

The Lizard The Lizard

On the mound for the PawSox was their stud, Clay Buchholz:

Clay Buchholz

He pitched 5 innings, and gave up only three hits, two runs, and two walks. And he had ten strikeouts. Nevertheless, he got the loss. It was only 2-1 when he left the game; relief pitchers Barry Hertzler and Craig Breslow were responsible for the lopsided score.

Fourth catcher, anyone? Ryan Hanigan, recently promoted from AA, has been en fuego. He went 3 for 5.

Ryan Hanigan

Joey Votto went 3 for 3 with a walk and a double:

Joey Votto

Jay Bruce was 2 for 5.

Jay Bruce Jay Bruce

Paul Janish has been struggling. He was 0 for 3, but had two walks.


Calvin Medlock came in to relieve Ramirez:

Calvin Medlock
Calvin Medlock

The final out of the game: Jay Bruce makes the catch.

Bruce makes the final out of the game

And the Bats celebrate their victory: Louisville 11, Pawtucket 1. It snapped a five-game losing streak.

The Bats celebrate their victory

All in all, a very pleasant afternoon. Despite being surrounded by Red Sox fans. (Providence itself seems to be mixed: half Yankee fans, half Red Sox fans. But of course, it was all Red Sox fans at McCoy Stadium.) It's sort of bland, as ballparks go, but it's a comfortable place to watch a game. Tickets are cheap, parking is free, and it's in a residential neighborhood that's easy to drive to. I'd go back. (And in fact, I did. ;-)

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