Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Rock Cats Blog // Rock Cats 5, Reading 4 [Game 15]
Box Score: http://www.milb.com/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2015_07_26_reaaax_nbraax_1&mode=gameday
The Rock Cats were doing a four game series with Reading and while they were swept by the B-Mets earlier in the week they had won their game against Reading on Thursday night, lost Friday night and then obviously (because of my previous review) they won Saturday night. So if the Rock Cats lost this game the series would be a draw but if they won it then they'd win the series which was apparently something they had not done for a while. I was excited to ride the momentum of the previous night into the day game today. The only promotion advertised for this game was that kids got to run the bases (and they get in free with the Kids Club, but my son is always free because of his age so that didn't bother me) but that didn't stop us because my son loves to run the bases.
When we got in there was a table set up and they were giving away pretty thick plastic cups with the Rock Cats logo on them (and the Department of Transportation, I believe was the sponsor for them) and we got a stack of four which was a nice touch. I'm not sure how that came about but I joked both about a) If they had put that on the website (or Twitter) as an announced giveaway we would have shown up for it and b) They probably were giving them away unannounced because they found them somewhere and were like "Oh crap! We have to get rid of these!". Either way, we certainly appreciate the cups and the lesson I take away from it- which all of you should as well- is that you never know what to expect when you go to a Rock Cats game so you should always go.
At the start of this game I was trying to find Austin House in the Rock Cats dugout but couldn't. I decided to go over to the Reading side because I had a card for one of their pitchers from the Top Prospects set. When I found him and asked him to sign he said "After the game" and, well, that meant I wasn't going to get his autograph, hahaha. (Not because it meant he was blowing me off but because I wasn't going to hang out on the Reading side when the game was over) So we decided to just watch the game and despite some heat it was a beautiful day for baseball and with Matt Flemer pitching the game went somewhat similar to the night before but, hey, if you're going to win with the same game plan it doesn't really matter so long as you win.
As luck would have it, Austin House actually came in as a reliever and then Carlos Estevez also came in to keep the Rock Cats from having to go into the bottom of the ninth. Estevez threw some balls early on and the crowd began giving him a hard time, but you know, I don't see it as much as how you get to the finish so much as the fact that you do finish. Basically, so long as you're not giving up the game then do what you want (Walk batters, give up runs, whatever) and Estevez closed out the night before so I had faith in him tonight despite the jeers from most of the fans as he threw ball after ball. I knew the kid was going to end the game and guess what? He caught the last batter swinging.
The decision then became whether or not to wait around for the players after the game just for Austin House to complete the signed card set (Well, complete it as best we can right now) and so we decided to do that just because it was a nice enough time out and the area we would wait in was shaded. My son had the program open, getting as many players as he could to sign it, and by the end of the day he had a total of 25 players sign it. This didn't include Shane Carle and Jose Ortega, though we saw them come out. Ortega we just missed somehow and Carle was on his phone so I just told him congratulations from the night before. (My wife and son were also in the car at the time, cooling down in the AC) But we did get Jordan Patterson to sign the page after the faces, Harrison Musgrave signed below Pat Valaika's picture and Joey Wong signed over the goat on the front cover. We also took a picture (Well, I took the picture) of my wife and son with Ryan Carpenter because it's still a toss up as to whether he or Shane Carle is my favorite Rock Cats pitcher. I like them both but for different reasons.
Most of the other people waiting for autographs (mostly kids) were gone now and I knew that we still hadn't seen Austin House come out so I was not leaving until we did. I also thought we had seen David Dahl come out but realized after he hadn't signed the book yet so he must not have actually come out. Austin House was the second to last player (by my count) to come out and I told him he was the last one we needed to complete our card set (Though I actually said "my card set" and my wife corrected me) and so he signed his card and the book and we had a pretty good time overall. Oh, and yes, David Dahl did end up coming out last and we ended up having him sign the book too just to see how complete the book could be. We might go back and try and get Ortega and Carle to sign the book but that still remains up in the air as our Rock Cats autographs for this season seem to be right about where we want them to be.