Other posts in this series:
Beautiful McKechnie Field:
BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 22, 2009: There were a lot of scalpers at this game, but they weren't making much money. One guy was asking $25 for two $10 tickets...which some people were willing to pay just to avoid standing in line.
Security was also more vigilant than at Ed Smith, and chased off the scalpers who tried to approach the box office. They were supposed to stand across the street, but in practice, most stood at the corner in front of the stadium.
I ended up getting a free ticket. Someone had one he wanted to give away. I offered to pay for it or buy him a beer, but he said he didn't want anything in exchange.
It was a great seat: in the box along the third base line, just three rows back. But the usher directed me to sit in the wrong seat at first, so I got to experience McKechnie Field from both the box and reserve seats.
McKechnie security searched my bag more thoroughly than at any stadium so far. They didn't give me any grief over the size of my bag, but they insisted on opening every single pocket to see what was inside. (Mostly nothing.) Dunno if it was just a new employee eager to do her job right, or if they are so desperate for concession income that they try to root out the smallest breath mint or stick of gum.
I must say, the staff at McKechnie are the nicest people. Maybe not the most efficient, but the nicest. They even stand at the exits and thank you for coming after the game.
The seat the usher originally directed me to sit in was a reserve seat. The location was good. It was under the overhang, so in the shade, and offered a good view of the entire field. But the seats were airline-narrow, and there was zero legroom. The seats didn't fold up, either, so if anyone wanted to get up, the entire row had to empty to let them pass (or you had to stand your seat to make way). On the bright side, it really discouraged people from getting up too often.
After two innings or so, someone showed up and claimed I was in their seat. The usher said he'd made a mistake...I was actually supposed to be in a box seat, not a reserve seat. The box seats are more expensive, but I didn't care for them. They're in the sun, because there's no overhang. Worse, the cant of the floor is very low, meaning that if someone tall sits in front of you, your view is completely blocked. I mean all you can see is the back of their head. Pity any kids in those seats. If a grownup sits in front of them, they can't see a thing.
And a giant was sitting in front of me. We're talking a huge man - horizontally and vertically. Harang would look like a shrimp beside him. I'm amazed he actually fit in the seat. He had his grandson with him, and the kid was standing up in his seat, which really blocked my view. I didn't really blame him, because I'm sure he couldn't see a thing if he was sitting.
However, the kid got cranky and they left very early. After that, it was a pretty good section to sit in. Though I still prefer to be up higher for photography. A professional sports photographer once told me that you'll get better baseball photos from the stands than you can from the photographer's box on the field, and I see what he means. Field level is just too low. The umpires, coaches, and players end up blocking your view.
Ian Snell started for the Bucs:
Hit and run FAIL: Darnell McDonald takes off while Danny Richar bats.
Richar did get wood on the ball... but it was a fly out. (Jack Wilson is pretending to throw a handful of air.)
McDonald had to hustle back to 1B.
The same thing happened with the next batter. They called the hit and run again, and Laynce Nix popped out to 3B, forcing McDonald to run back to 1B again.
McDonald did eventually steal 2B, but Gomes struck out to end the inning, making it all for nought.
Darnell McDonald's uniform looks rather the worse for wear after stealing 2B three times in one inning.
Aaron Harang was on the mound for the Reds.
The B-team was playing for the Reds. It's not a very long trip from Ed Smith to McKechnie, but it was Sunday. A lot of managers like to rest their stars on Sunday.
Laynce Nix maykes a caytch.
The pride of Rice University, Paul Janish, hit a two-RBI double...
...over Nate McLouth's head.
Adam Rosales (or is Adam Gonzalez? ;-)
Harang took a no-no through the sixth.
He greeted fans along the third base line as he left.
Jason Davis pitched the 7th and 8th for the Pirates.
Mike Lincoln took over for Harang. (Yes, that means it was Lincoln vs. Davis.)
He promptly gave up a hit to Nate McLouth, ending the no-hitter. He later said he hadn't realized there was one.
Someone told me that the birds move into McKechnie in the 8th inning. Sure enough, swarms of them arrived in the 8th. Mostly gulls and terns, I think. By the 8th inning, people are starting to leave en masse, and the birds feast on the leftover popcorn, peanuts, hotdogs, etc.
Wearing a hat is advisable if you plan to stay through the 8th inning. A washable one.
Josh Roenicke closes it out.
It ended up being a two-hitter, and a shutout. Final score: Reds 6, Bucs 0.
Dusty Baker signed autographs along the third base line after the game.