Thursday, June 4, 2015
Rock Cats Blog /// New Britain 0, Altoona 4 [Game 4]
Box Score: http://www.milb.com/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2015_05_27_altaax_nbraax_1&mode=gameday
Things you never realize until after the fact: the Altoona Curve is first place in their division. So while the Rock Cats are in what is known as the Eastern League of Double A, they are also in the Eas Eastern which is basically because they split the Eastern League in half. I knew that the Rock Cats were in first place not only in their division but overall in the entire Eastern League of Double A, but this means that the Altoona Curve, who are first place in the Eas Western, are essentially the second place team which means this could be such a good match up on paper that I didn't even realize until two days after the game.
This particular game was a free gray baseball cap giveaway and though the hats went quickly it was still difficult to spot a thousand people in the stands wearing them or, at times, in general. Shane Carle is becoming one of my favorite pitchers even though this is my first time seeing him pitch live. He's got a good pitching quality to him though that allowed him to control a lot of this game, even though the Rock Cats would eventually lose.
There had been thunderstorm warnings all day but it doesn't mean anything in Connecticut because you could be getting them in one part of the state but not the other. After a few lightning strikes, it began to rain ever so slightly and most of the bleachers began to clear out, which was hilarious to see because it was just a little light rain. After the rain began to fall pretty heavy though, everyone who was left ran into somewhere closed in and then they actually brought the tarp out.
So for my fourth Rock Cats game of the season I got to see a rain delay. It had been six innings and the score was 1-0, so I still question the decision to come back after the rain delay since it had been a little while and there was a 10:35am game the next day. At this point, if I was in charge, I would have cut my losses and regrouped for the next morning, but the Rock Cats came back to give up three more runs and secure their defeat. It's okay though, the next morning they would beat Altoona 9-5 and take the series 2-1 at least. But I can't help but feel badly because this was the first time I saw the Rock Cats lose this season and it was in what otherwise should have been a series sweep over the Curve.
Somehow though, I do believe that the rain played a part in this. If not for the rain delay breaking up the action, perhaps the Rock Cats could have held the Curve at only one run and then manage to mount their own offense. But a loss is a loss and it's just so much fun right now to watch the Rock Cats simply because being the minor league affiliate of the Colorado Rockies has seemed to pay off a lot more than being that of the Minnesota Twins (Sorry, Twins). I always wonder though why if- this early in the season- the actual Rockies are struggling they don't pull up some of these guys who are making this team so great, but who knows, by the end of the season we might not be seeing some of these same players still.
One of the funniest parts of this game- for me- was watching Curve pitcher Chad Kuhl stall his way through the bottom of the sixth inning. He had been in the entire game, so he seemed to know if he could just hold off the pitches until the storm came he could get the W by them calling it on account of rain. This left him in no hurry to pitch and to constantly check the runner at first. The sound guys were spot on though, playing the sounds of crickets and that pop song from the radio where she sings "What are you waiting for?" I believe at one point, Kuhl also called a timeout because of something in his eye. Do minor league players have to watch movies about baseball as part of their training? Because someone should have told him that there's no crying in baseball.
If the general admission seats weren't sold out in advance then we might have made the morning trip to see the rubbermatch, but alas, my son also slept in until 9:00am that day so it might not have been the best time anyway (He likes to have a certain amount of time to wake up before he goes out and does anything major). Still, from the photos you can find on Twitter it seemed to be packed and those day games always are since they shuttle the kids in from various schools. As a kid in school, I never got to go to a baseball game as a field trip, but whatever. I just wonder what they do once it becomes later in June and July and the kids can no longer field trip.
One of the biggest things everyone is talking about this season surrounding the Rock Cats is that next season the team is moving from New Britain to Hartford and they will become the Yard Goats. There aren't a lot of things that can convince the people I've talked with to want to drive through rush hour traffic to catch a game on a week night and the idea of people staying within Hartford to go to the games is kind of silly to me. I don't feel like any amount of promotions is going to get people out to the games either (I still like my idea of "Wear Your Rock Cats Gear to the Game" night, where if you wear either a Rock Cats hat, shirt, jersey or whatever you get in for free) But you know what might be the one convincing factor to get those fans to the games? A winning team. And it looks like the Rock Cats have found that.