SCRANTON / WILKES-BARRE, PA - APRIL 10, 2008: Yeah, yeah. This is way late. I meant to post it earlier, but I had a lot of stuff to catch up on after playing hooky three days in a row to go to baseball games. Then I had a trip to the midwest. (Which was really cool. I heartily recommend the new dinosaur exhibit at the Carnegie.)
So here I am, posting a game report two months after the game. Many of the players I saw in this minor league game have since been called up (some have been called up and sent down and called up again). But hey, mas vale tarde que nunca, and all that.
I got a seat in the same section as the previous two days - third deck, right above first base. I asked for the seat in the first row on the end, though I figured it wouldn't matter; I expected the section to be empty again.
It was hardly crowded, but there were a few more people than there had been. In particular, my Air Force friends from the day before were already there, and already well-lubricated. They yelled a boisterous greeting at me as soon as they spotted me. It was kind of embarrassing. Everyone was looking at us, and everyone thought I was with them.
There was also a family with children, including a baby, who sat right behind me. They were the oddest and most unfriendly people I have ever encountered at a ballpark. (At least if you don't count that Ed Smith Stadium employee who told me cameras weren't allowed at the ballpark.) Usually you can talk to the people around you at a ballpark, but these people didn't say a word. They just stared at me, no matter what I said. And it's not like I bothered them a lot or anything. Just the occasional pleasantry, like human beings are supposed to exchange when they're sitting next to each other...but they looked at me like I had two heads for daring to talk to them.
Another weird thing was that they didn't move. Their seats were actually pretty awful. There's a railing that blocks the view from the first four rows in the upper deck. From the first row, where I was, you can see between top and middle bar of the railing (and it's a pretty choice seat for photography), but in the second row, the view is seriously obstructed. My Air Force pals moved to the fifth row for that reason. Not the family behind me. They stayed were they were, even though it was kind of strange. A huge, empty section...and they stayed right by me, even though their seats were lousy and they obviously didn't find my company welcome.
When I got there, the Bats were working out in right field, below my seat. Here's Adam Rosales and Paul Janish goofing around:
After warmups were over, Jay Bruce signed autographs for fans before heading into the dugout. Yes, he's wearing his glove as a hat.
Going for the Bats was Matt Maloney:
Starting for the SWBYankees was Alan Horne:
Horne is one of the Yankees' many talented young right-handers. According to rumor, the Yanks' refusal to trade him is one reason Santana is not in pinstripes. (Given how the season's turning out, I have a feeling they regret not making that trade.)
The Bats had taken the first three games of this series, by large margins in two of the games. It looked like they were on their way again, when they put four runs on the board in the first inning.
Chris Dickerson gets on via a throwing error by Horne.
Yes, that's Andy Phillips coaching first base. I had checked the lineup (written on a whiteboard near the entrance) when I got to the park. I was disappointed that Andy wasn't playing. Then I looked down, and realized he was coaching first base. Since he had DHed the day before, I started wondering if he was injured. (As it turns out, he was. He played the next day...then was out for about two weeks with a sore hamstring. He never went on the DL, but he didn't play.)
Bruce in the on-deck circle.
Jay Bruce chats with first base coach Andy Phillips.
Near as I can tell, the duties of the first base coach are congratulating any player who makes it to first base, and holding their batting gloves for them if they want to take them off.
Bruce would eventually score on a double by Jerry Gil.
Janish grounded out to end the inning.
It was in the bottom of the second inning when Nick Green nearly killed me. The Yankees picked Green up off Tampa's trash heap a couple of years ago. At the time, he was the proud owner of a .077 batting average. Now, I actually like Nick. He's a nice guy, and like Bubba Crosby and Andy Phillips, he homered in his first at-bat as a Yankee. (His first plate appearance was a walk, but that doesn't count as an at-bat, right?)
However, I admit to making fun of his hitting. It's hard to resist when a guy has a .077 batting average, y'know? ("Oh-double 7: license to kill your offense.")
So perhaps it was sweet revenge when he fouled a ball almost right at me. Over the past three days, a lot of foul balls had found their way to my section, but they were all closer to home plate, and pretty weak by the time they got to the upper deck. Not this one. It whizzed right by me, and it was a rocket. It hit with a loud bang that shook the stands, and the woman behind me shrieked like she'd been murdered. No, she wasn't hit, she was just deathly afraid of flying baseballs. The funny thing was that she had a baby in her lap, and made no attempt to shield the baby from the ball. She just tried to save herself, nearly dropping the kid in the process.
Nick would have a very good night at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a double.
It had been three up, three down for Alan Horne in the 2nd inning...but he would not return. He was injured, but I didn't realize it at the time, since he finished the inning and seemed fine. I heard the next day he was being placed on the DL with an elbow injury. Taking his place was Dan Giese.
Giese was eventually called up to "shadow" Joba Chamberlain as Chamberlain switches from the pen to starting. Giese pitched well enough in his first outing (and ended up going longer than Joba, who only lasted two innings). Still, he was sent back down the next day - then was called up a couple of days later, when Chris Britton was put on the DL. (Phantom injury? I don't know, but I expected they would find a way to call up Giese before Joba's next start.)
Bruce singled off Giese:
He got to second when Jolbert Cabrera was hit by a pitch. Jerry Gil singled:
And Bruce tried to score, but was thrown out by left fielder Justin Christian.
Yup, that's Chad Moeller with the tag. Moeller would be called up when Jorge Posada injured his shoulder. The Yankees DFA'd Moeller when Posada came back...only to have Posada go on the DL before Moeller even cleared waivers. It was pretty funny to see how freaked out the $200 million Yankees were at the idea of losing Chad Moeller.
Moeller did clear waivers; he said it was the first time he ever wanted to clear waivers. He's played very well for the Yankees. Better glove than Molina, a good rapport with pitchers, especially the young ones, and he's even hit decently. He's no Posada, but the Yankees are happy with him. They've decided to carry three catchers, at least for awhile, so Moeller's still with the big club, even though Posada is back.
In this game, Moeller ended up 0 for 1 with two walks.
The bottom of the third included a wild pitch by Maloney and a fielding error by Andy Green, but the Bats escaped unscathed.
Bruce singled again in the 5th.
Bruce had been told to work on his baserunning, and he was.
He was a threat to steal every time he got on, and Scranton knew it. They tried to hold him close, but he eventually succeeded in stealing 2B anyway.
Alas, he was stranded. Dickerson brought him his hat and glove.
Maloney started to falter in the bottom of the fifth. He walked Chad Moeller on five pitches.
Then things really started to get out of hand. Tyler Pelland came in, but was unable to stop the bleeding.
Maloney and Pelland together gave up two singles, three stolen bases, a hit by pitch, a balk, and a double. They gave up four runs - and the lead.
It was Dave Duncan's son, David Shelley Duncan, with the double.
Shelley Duncan had just been sent down by the Yankees. He rakes in AAA, but has struggled in the big leagues this year. And his glove has been less than impressive, so he's been riding the Scranton shuttle.
The Bats threatened in the 7th, but came away empty-handed. Edwar Ramirez, of the bugs bunny changeup, took the mound.
Bruce singled and got to 2B on a wild pitch. He got to third on a Jolbert Cabrera single.
Cabrera stole 2B and Drew T. Anderson got a clutch HBP, but in the end, Bruce and Cabrera were stranded.
Pelland had made short work of Scranton in the sixth, but the 7th would be another big inning for the Baby Bombers. Gary Majewski took over.
And it was very much the bad Majewski we saw earlier this year. He pitched 2/3 of an inning, and gave up a walk, a single, two doubles, and a home run. In the end, another four runs crossed the plate, and Majewski had a big fat 18.90 ERA.
Around then, I decided to go downstairs. After the fifth inning, they stop checking tickets and let people sit wherever they want. I gathered up my gear and told the people behind me they could move downstairs if they wanted. There's a better view, and it's much warmer. (It was getting pretty cold by then.) Once again, they just looked at me like I had three heads.
There were plenty of empty seats downstairs. You could even sit in the first row if you wanted. I sat in the fourth or fifth row. I think you can get better photos if you're a little above the field.
I was above the visitors' dugout, by first base. Great location for stalking the first base coach.
There was also a nice view of players going into the dugout.
Paul Janish scored in the 8th.
He singled, then came home on a groundout and a forceout, but it was too little, too late. Especially after Ricky Stone gave up a double to Jason Lane and a homer to Shelley Duncan in the bottom of the frame.
Drew T. Anderson tripled in the top of the ninth, but was stranded.
Final score: ScrantonWB 11, Louisville 5. Can't win 'em all.