Sunset at Alliance Bank Stadium
Syracuse, NY (June 7, 2012) - It was a gorgeous night for a baseball game. Clear, not too hot, not too cold, no rain forecast. But as you might guess from the above photo, there were plenty of good seats still available.
I've been going to Chiefs games for years now, and I have never seen the ballpark so empty. The Chiefs are suffering from the same problem the Bats are. The top level of their farm system has been gutted, by a combination of callups and the Gio Gonzalez trade. No Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper to get buns into the seats now.
I took advantage of the low turnout and wandered around the stadium a bit. They have a "Wall of Fame" by the elevators. This guy in a Reds hat caught my eye:
The plaque says:
Syracuse Chiefs pitcher in 1943 and from 1946-49.
He is the franchise's All-Time Win Leader with 55 winsand ranks second All-time with 913 innings pitches.
He played on two International League Governors' Cup Championship teams in 1943 and 1947 where he recorded 17 wins and led the league with 247 innings.
Was considered the greatest hitting pitcher in Chiefs history, hitting 12 home runs among his 128 base hits.
He pitched a no-hitter from Minneapolis (AA) on August 10, 1950.
Played in the major leagues with Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Chicago (AL).
Inducted into the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame
August 3, 2002.
Even the front row above the dugout was empty.
Mike Costanzo had 72 hours to report to the Louisville Bats after being optioned the day before, but he wasted no time in reporting. He was in uniform and in the lineup. Though he was wearing #2 instead of #4. Maybe they didn't bring his uniform on the road trip, and he was wearing a spare. It didn't fit him all that well, leading fans to heckle him with comments like, "Do you buy your clothes at K-Mart?"
On the mound for the Chiefs, Tanner Roark.
(The patch of blue in the upper left is a passing train. The stadium is built right next to the train tracks.)
Sean Gallagher started for the Bats.
Joey Gathright hit a leadoff single.
Willie Harris returns to the dugout after popping out.
Corky Miller on deck.
Corky gets harassed everywhere he goes. Between his name and his facial hair, fans can't resist heckling him.
And you can count on major league heckling at Alliance Bank Stadium. There's a group of people who are there fairly often, who spend the whole game yelling taunts at opposing players. They must have season tickets, they're there so often.
One guy was shouting, "Is your name Corky because you cork your bats?!" Corky's stats were flashed on the scoreboard. "Oh, I guess not."
Neftali Soto was the Taco Bell K-man of the night. He really took a lot of the fun out of that promotion when he struck out in the first inning. No one was even there to heckle him yet.
He did hit a nice single in the third.
Unfortunately, he ended up making the third out at third. Tried to go first to third on a sac fly. Bad idea. He was out by a mile.
Corky Miller hit a double in the 4th...
...scoring Felix Perez, who was on via a single.
Yes, that's where his bunt ended up. Right in front of the plate.
Corky was out at second. He was a few steps off second, and didn't even try to get back.
Costanzo singled again in the sixth. He got to second on a Cody Puckett walk and to third on a wild pitch:
Corky was intentionally walked.
He didn't. He struck out looking. Gathright promptly singled, scoring Costanzo and Pucket.
Miguel Rojas came to the plate with one on, two outs. Here he's brushed back from the plate. (It was called a ball.)
For some reason he didn't like the calls. I'm not sure what he was complaining about; the calls looked good to me. The umpire warned him.
He flew out on a 2-2 count, and immediately started complaining again.
I'm not sure if David Bell was ejected. The umpire was more than patient with him.
Finally, Bell went into the dugout and the game resumed. Only to stop again when Bell came back out to complain some more. The umpire removed his mask, and Bell quickly did an about-face and returned to the dugout. Which I guess suggests he wasn't ejected, since if he was, I'd expect him to "get his money's worth."
I really don't understand why they were so upset. The calls looked fine to me. And they were up 6-1 at the time.
There was another long delay when Gallagher was hit by a comebacker. It got him right in the ribs, and he seemed to be in a lot of pain.
Carlos Fisher pitched the 7th.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx pitched the 8th and 9th for the Chiefs.
Danny Dorn pinch-hit in the 8th.
Poor Dorn has been getting picked on a lot. In Lehigh Valley, they not only have a K-man of the game, they have a whole bunch of other "titles" they bestow on opposing players. (The advertising is just insane at Lehigh Valley.) Dorn was the "Pest of the Game." It was sponsored by a pest control company, and it meant that instead of displaying Dorn's photo on the scoreboard, they put up a picture of a cartoon bug (with Dorn's name and stats).
At Syracuse, they called him Roger Dorn, and put up a photo of Corbin Bernson.
Jordan Smith pitched the 8th and 9th for the Bats.
Now playing shortstop for the Louisville Bats...Willie Harris.
I was ready to yell, "Janish would have gotten that!" if he screwed up, but he actually did okay. Nothing particularly challenging, but he made the plays he should have made.
Speaking of Janish...he was not with the team in front of the dugout for the national anthem. I wondered if they'd sent him to Goodyear, too, but no, he's still traveling with the team. Brian Peacock was coaching first base, but when he had to go warm up the relief pitchers, Janish took over.
Looks like he's not wearing a brace on his hand any more. And his wrist is healed enough that he can put his weight on it.
Bill Rhinehart led off the 9th with a home run.
Neftali Soto congratulates him.
Soto hit a single.
As did Costanzo.
Jordan Smith managed to hold on, and the Bats were victorious.
Final score: Bats 8, Chiefs 2.