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SARASOTA, FL - MARCH 23, 2009: Yesterday was supposed to be warm and sunny, but instead, it was cold and rainy. (I've come to the conclusion that weather reports cannot be trusted in Florida. Even more so than usual, I mean. I left my rain gear at the hotel because the weather was supposed to be clear for the Phillies game, and got rained on. I nearly skipped the Rays game because the forecast called for rain; in reality, there was not a cloud in the sky.)
It was so quiet when I arrived at the ballpark, you wouldn't even know a game was going on. I'm glad this wasn't my first time at Ed Smith, or I wouldn't have known where to park. The people who are usually around to direct traffic didn't bother, because there wasn't any.
It rained off and on throughout the game, but there were more people in the stands than I'd have guessed looking at the parking lot. I guess they showed up later, when it was clear that the game would be played.
I ended up in a box seat again. What was I thinking? I could have gotten a reserve seat instead (and been out of the rain, for a lower price). Box seats really are horrible for photography. Too low, too crowded, too many people trying to get autographs. I just took the first seat they offered me. I should have asked for a different one. It was the Jays, not the Red Sox. There were probably plenty of other seats.
It was really crowded in the box seats at first, which limited my ability to get pictures. People left as the game went on, though, giving me more room to swing a lens.
My seat was in the second row, by first base, on the Reds side. Jay Bruce was standing on the field a few feet away when I got there.
He was joined by Chris Dickerson and Alex Gonzalez.
Dusty Baker signed some autographs before the game, and so did several other people, most of whom I didn't recognize. Such as this guy:
Fans begged Eric Davis to sign autographs; he said he would do it after the game.
Someone complained that people always say that, but never follow through. Davis said, "Do you know who I am? Then you know if I say I'll sign, I will."
Edinson Volquez started for the Reds.
One pair of candy lips and your bubblegum tongue...oh, wait, that actually is bubblegum.
Chris Dickerson fields a fly ball.
On the mound for the Jays was Ricky Romero. Romero was their first round pick in 2005 (and the first pitcher taken). He was considered a long shot to make the opening day roster this year, but injuries have opened up some spots in the rotation. He pitched well enough in this game to give him a legitimate shot.
Joey Votto at bat.
Bruce fields a ball in right, with Hopper backing up.
Alex Gonzalez hit a single, but was pulled early.
I figured he had to be injured to be pulled after only two innings, but he didn't look it. He left on his own two feet, walking across the field to the bullpen in right field, lugging his bags of gear. Fay later reported it was a hamstring tweak. They think it will keep him out a day or two. Which probably means a week.
Ryan Hanigan singled:
Voltron laid down a pretty good bunt.
It ended up being a force out, but hey, it's not easy to bunt with two men on.
Shades of yesterday: Jay Bruce steals 2B on the hit and run...
Bruce would later pull a Janish, trying to go first to third on a Cozart single. He was thrown out at 3B. I'd have taken a photo, but the first base coach was totally blocking my view of the play. (Someone remind me to never sit in the box seats again.)
Speaking of Janish, the pride of Rice University entered the game in the sixth.
Jared Burton pitched the sixth.
Jeff Keppinger sets up under a Vernon Wells popup in the sixth.
Danny Ray pitched the 7th.
CoCo pitched the 8th.
Paul Janish faces Jeremy Accardo in the 8th.
Janish triples to left-center.
Stand up triple! (He ended up scoring easily on a Jonny Gomes single.)
Pedro Viola closed it out.
Final score: Cincinnati 3, Toronto 0.
Volquez looked pretty good. He's now gone 14 innings without allowing an earned run. Burton gave up one hit (though it was a triple), Cordero a walk. Herrera and Viola were perfect.
Janish stayed to sign for the fans after the game. And Eric Davis was as good as his word. He came back to my section to sign autographs when the game was over.