Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Rock Cats Blog // New Britain 0, Binghamton 3 [Game 24]
Box Score: http://www.milb.com/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2015_08_16_binaax_nbraax_1&mode=gameday
In a lot of ways this was a sad game because it was the very last time that the B-Mets would play at New Britain Stadium against the Rock Cats. It was also the last official giveaway of the season, as there might be other giveaways advertised and created over the last seven games but this was the last time that we got to line up early for one. The Rocky as Elvis bobblehead was definitely worth it though and getting in line early also made it so that by the time we got in (This time it was just Quentin and I) the B-Mets were nearing the end of their batting practice. When Gavin Cecchini came in from batting practice he was signing for some people so at that point I had him sign the players sheet we printed out because I didn't expect such an event to occur and was taken off guard, so quickly in fact that I couldn't get the card out in time even if I had wanted to try. This began a most crazy autograph attempt that had three real stories going on within it.
First off, as I was unpacking things, getting situated and just in general not paying attention, Quentin was running around the stands nearby (essentially the first row on the third base side) and so at one point I turned around and saw him standing there with a baseball in his hand. It has grass stains on it so you could tell it had been used by someone on the field but when I asked him where he got it from he gave me two different answers (First he said he found it in the seats, then later he said a player gave it to him, both of which are plausible) and would later on give his mother an entirely different answer (He told her a Rock Cats pitcher gave it to him, which was not really possible since none of them were out at the time) But, since we had only needed six autographs to complete our sheets (And Cecchini had already brought that number down to five) I figured the players who had already signed the sheets could perhaps sign this baseball instead (Which turned out to be a good idea)
For the players we needed to sign it went a lot like last night only slightly better. Tyler Pill was pitching so that got us down to only needing one more pitcher, Seth Lugo, who I did not see in the dug out the entire time. The other three players we needed to sign who weren't pitchers were the tricky ones from the night before but Cecchini had given us some luck so I hoped they wouldn't be as tricky today. Jonathan Galvez came over and signed after he stretched, which surprised me since he seemed to be in his own little world, and then Joe Benson once again said he'd come over and sign after he stretched and you know what? This time he actually did it! That had us down to only needing Josh Rodriguez who sat down in the dug out where I could only see the top of his hat and, yeah, he didn't even so much as look at me so we went into the game needing one player to sign each sheet, one pitcher and one non-pitcher, and to that extent I was almost prepared to just leave after the game and not go for the completion.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the B-Mets dug out came in the form of Gilbert Gomez. As pleasant and friendly as he was the night before, he went above and beyond the call of duty to sign for everyone who wanted him to sign for them. When he went back into the dug out, disappeared, and came back without a hat on, someone thought he was Miller Diaz so I called him over as "Miller" but he must have thought I said "Gilbert" because he came back over and said it was still him. On first time over, he was nice enough to tell a kid that if he didn't know who he was it was okay and to simply ask him and I find that to be great advice which I, myself, am sometimes too stupid/scared to take. (It's like, "Why do you want my autograph if you don't even know who I am??" right?) Cracking jokes, Gilbert Gomez told us that he was Carlos Gomez and so I called him CarGo and then he said- jokingly- he wouldn't come back over because he had already signed and he'd still be Gilbert Gomez. So naturally I called him Rainy Lara and Juan Lagares, which he responded to with a thumbs up and laugh. I might not have met every baseball player to ever live (or is still alive) but Gilbert Gomez has to be among the most fan friendly.
The game itself was best summed up by the commentators before the game started. They were talking about how the Rock Cats had already won the first two games of the series, and so thus they won the series, and it was the first time in however long that they've won however many series at home in a row. Though it wasn't directly stated, something was said to the effect of this game not mattering since they already won the series and while a sweep would have been nice, it was also nice to see the B-Mets get a win and, well, Ryan Carpenter already had his revenge on Friday night so the revenge of Harrison Musgrave would have to wait for another day. And really, though, last time Harrison Musgrave started against the B-Mets he gave up an insane number of runs in a single inning. This time the B-Mets only won by a score of 3-0 and those three runs did not come easy as there was quite some time before either team scored and I thought we might be there for extra innings as it seemed to be a stalemate.
Quentin also made friends with another three year old who was sitting behind us during this game and so that kept him entertained as they both played together and such. It was one of that little boy's first games and one game of many for Quentin so I think they both appreciated it for different reasons and, well, in some ways isn't that also what baseball should be all about-- a bonding experience with the other fans there because not only do you win together and lose together, but you are brought together for the same essential reason, are we not? I think when we start going to Yard Goats games next season we're going to spend more time talking to the people around us because why not.
After the game, Quentin ran the bases and then we made our way over to the B-Mets side. We made good time too because the first player out was Seth Lugo. Luckily for me someone else had a book with the different players in it (It looked like a B-Mets program of sorts) and since he had signed next to his name I was like, "You're the one who completes my Pokemon!" and thus my pitchers sheet was complete. Josh Rodriguez came out and signed on his face as well as the ball, and then Gavin Cecchini also signed his Top Prospects card for me and the baseball as well. We ended up with sixteen different signatures on the baseball Quentin "found" and even though he was playing in the snow in the 90 degree weather (Don't ask me how he found snow, but he did) it was well worth it because it was the Mets. One of the players to come out really stumped me though because I didn't know who he was but had him sign anyway. I figured the autographs would match up with the player sheets and that would help me with the ball, right?
Wrong. This player was not on the sheet so I had no idea who he was, which was embarrassing and, yes, as Gilbert Gomez said I should have just asked him who he was. I spent a lot of time looking at the B-Mets roster, analyzing different signatures, and then finally determined that it was in fact Erik Goeddel, who was there on rehab assignment from the New York Mets. Yes, a major league baseball player signed our baseball and I didn't even know it until hours later. I'm not sure why I thought it might be him later on when I didn't at first, but I went to eBay to look up other items he had signed and sure enough, the signatures matched closely enough that I knew it was him (His face also kind of connected with me, but not at first either) So that was a fun little surprise and something extra added to the baseball of autographs, which turned out to be a good idea. We left before everyone came out though (I never did see Joe Benson, among others leave) because the baseball was getting full, we had all of the autographs we needed otherwise and, well, we had been there for quite some time since we showed up before noon.