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SARASOTA, FL - MARCH 21, 2009: Not surprisingly, it was much less crowded at this game than it was the other day. There were several box seats still available, and I got one above the visitors' dugout. Which of course meant I was surrounded by Pirates fans. They even tried to start a "Let's go, Steelers" chant.
It was an excellent seat for photography. No net, and you got a good view of the whole field. The exception was right-handed batters: all you saw of them was their backs. But that wasn't much of an issue, since the lineups were lefty-heavy.
The view from my seat:
The large green fellow is Mr. Red's pal - a local mascot.
The seat itself was comfortable enough. However, there wasn't much leg room, and there wasn't much "rise." If someone tall sits in front of you, your view is blocked. But that wasn't too much of a problem, either. At first, hardly anyone was in my section. It started to fill up after the fourth inning or so, but one of the ushers offered to let me sit in the next section over, where there was still a block of empty seats. (The ushers were very kind - unlike last year, when one of them told me cameras weren't allowed in the ballpark.)
The broadcast booth, adorned with retired numbers.
EdE warming up before the game:
I guess there's always the Rockettes, if this baseball thing doesn't work out...
Former Red Anderson Machado was warming up in front of the Bucs dugout, playing catch. The fans were harassing him, saying things like, "You throw like my sister! Only she's prettier than you are!"
I thought he was going to flip them off, but instead, he flipped them a baseball. That shut them up.
Homer Bailey started for the Reds.
Facing Bailey was Paul Maholm, seen here making a rude hand gesture.
Maholm is the Pirates' ace now...and he looked it, breezing through six innings while giving up only three hits and no walks.
Encarnacion and Sea Bass chatting between innings.
Good view of Homer's arrow tattoo:
I noticed Homer paused to take a deep breath before each pitch.
Maybe it's just part of his routine, but it makes him look nervous. I think he should try for more intimidating body language.
Jay Bruce singles. He ended up going 3 for 4.
Jack Wilson doubles in the 5th.
The Ed Smith grounds crew is really bad at the "YMCA" dance:
EdE laughs at something going on in the Pirates dugout.
Hinske also doubled to Bruce in that inning:
Joey Votto at bat in the 7th. He ended up with a walk.
Home run, Jay Bruce!
Farewell, fly ball!
Rounding third and heading for home.
The stadium resounded with people yelling BRUUUUUUUUCE! (Mixed with some boos from Pirates fans.)
Havoc! Chris Dickerson steals 2B in the 7th.
Adam Rosales reaches. Steve Pearce reacts to an Anderson Machado error:
With runners on the corners, someone in the stands yelled, "He's going!" He wasn't, but Jesse Chavez spun around to check the runner. I'm surprised he didn't get a balk.
Garrett Jones fields a Joey Votto double:
Jeff Salazar reaches. Joey Votto reacts to an Edwin Encarnacion error.
Craig Hansen, whom I last saw as a Pawtucket Red Sock:
Since this game was on TV, I don't need to describe what happened. The Reds clawed their way back into the game in the 7th and 8th. In the 9th, Hansen totally lost the strike zone. He loaded the bases up. Votto should have had the game-tying walk. He was called out instead, ending the game. John Fay thinks the umpire just wanted to go home. Booo!