Blistering Heat (Reds v. Indians)

GOODYEAR, AZ (MARCH 17, 2011) - Fans seemed a bit puzzled at this game.  They didn't recognize any players, and it wasn't because they were all wearing green hats. It was a day game after a night game.  With the starters all having played the night before, the lineup was heavy on Louisville Bats.

Mr. LeCure signs autographs before the game.


On the mound for the Reds: Mike Leake.


The Fay said this might be do or die for Leake, who hasn't pitched well this spring. If so, the kid rose to the occasion, pitching four innings, giving up three 3 hits, one walk, and no runs.


Fausto Carmona took the mound for Cleveland.


No green hats for the Indians.

I gave the box seats another try, this time further out.  It wasn't much better.  The game was less crowded, so the view was less obstructed.  However, there was a camera that blocked my view of the plate.

Here's what I could see of Austin Kearns.


Depending on which way the camera was pointed, the view of the plate was blocked partly to totally.  And it wasn't just me.  People all around me were complaining as well.  Everyone was looking to the scoreboard after each pitch, because we couldn't see the umpire.

It's really poorly designed.  Even crappy old minor league stadiums have better sight lines than Goodyear.

It was also brutally hot.  (Weather report lied about it being cooler.)  By the ninth inning, the sun was behind the stadium, but it was too late by then.  Higher up, there's a roof.  A lot of people were sneaking up there as the game went on.

I did have a good view into the dugout, however. 


Not surprisingly, the minor leaguers tend to hang out together.  Negron, Cozart, and Sappelt are often elbow to elbow at the rail. The pitchers tend to cluster together (when they're not in the pen).  Janish and Bruce appear to be good friends.  And Eric Davis was up to his usual tricks, splashing water on people.  (Not unwelcome, given the heat.)

Kris Negron:


(Yup, the green hats are still adjustables.)

Chris Valaika.


First blood was drawn by Todd Frazier.  He homered off Carmona.  Here he is, trotting home:


Fred Lewis doubled, beating the throw by a mile.  Fans thought he should have tried for 3B.


The crowd went wild when Dontrelle Willis entered the game. 


He gave the fans their money's worth, giving up just one hit in his inning.  They left him in to hit, and he tripled.



Then Kris Negon singled, driving the D-train into the station.


Chris Heisey congratulates Willis.


The guy sitting next to me didn't know much about the Reds, and kept asking me about the players. He didn't even know who Nick Masset was.  I said Masset was good, and he promptly made a liar of me by walking two.  Just "working on stuff," I'm sure.


Cozart and Negron.


Corky Miller at bat.


Mike Leake came back to the dugout after hitting the showers.


Juan Francisco heads to 3B on a Neftali Soto single.


Jordan Smith


With the starters getting the day off, some real unknowns came in late in the game.

Some guy named Brodie Greene loses the handle of his bat.


(A kid laid out onto the field to grab it, and got himself a scolding from Mark Berry.)

Some perv came wandering through my section.


Finally, the reason many stuck around in a one-sided game in the oppressive heat:  Aroldis Chapman.  He pitched the ninth.


Shelley Duncan, Dave Duncan's kid, hits one over Yonder.


Chapman gave up another single and a walk, allowing Duncan to score.  It was the Indians' only run of the game.

This one belongs to the Reds, 5-1.


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