Friday, August 14, 2015
Rock Cats Blog // New Britain 1, Erie 7 [Game 18]
Box Score: http://www.milb.com/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2015_08_02_eswaax_nbraax_1&mode=gameday
This game came with a certain amount of fanfare because it was a rescheduled birthday party for Rocky, the Rock Cats mascot, and not only did it boast the possibility of a number of other mascots showing up there was also a planned kickball game with the mascots. I have to tell you that I've never seen a mascots kickball game before and I'm not sure how they picked the teams, but it did end in an 8-8 tie (And as Andy said, that made us all winners) and if they don't do anything else with New Britain Stadium when the Rock Cats become the Yard Goats, I'd be down for going to weekly Mascot Kickball League games. When we got to the game- around noon- the mascots also began to come in as we were there. It was great just seeing them all and interacting with them, though it might have been a bit overwhelming for Quentin. We did see the Yale Bulldog and he is pretty much the only other mascot Quentin knows as we go to the Yale football games. My wife was taking pictures of him with all of the different mascots which ranged from the Hartford Wolf Pack and Weslyan to Papa John's and Chuck E. Cheese.
Now before this game it is worth noting that the day before-- even before our "Game 17"-- we went to Michaels because they had a sale on what we needed for our baseball souvenier needs. We purchased a really sturdy and nice looking frame that holds 20 baseball cards in total as well as a case which holds 12 baseballs, though they do suggest you can put other objects in it of appropriate size. They were on sale for "Buy One Get One Free", so it worked out because when we were considering buy one ball holder for each ball I added up 9 different baseballs we had so the 12-ball case just made more sense. I put all of the various baseballs in and the baseball cards went in as well. Now here's the funny part: I put in all of our cards from the team set we got signed. This was a total of 17 different cards because we didn't try and get the coaches to sign (That took out three cards from the team set) and when we got most of them signed there were a total of five players who were no longer on the Rock Cats (Jason Gurka, Nelson Gonzalez, Abel Baker, Trevor Story and Tom Murphy) However, since we had Tom Murphy and Trevor Story autograph their "Top Prospects" cards I put those into the frame as well. I wasn't sure whether to put the David Dahl "Top Prospect" card, which he also signed, in there or not (Which would mean to David Dahl cards in total), but Quentin said he wanted the card we had of Rocky from last season in there to round out the 20. (Rocky also did sign it last season)
This had me bring cards for both Rookie and Blooper to what was Rocky's Birthday Party because I thought we'd see them both, but alas, there was no Blooper (Not sure what happened to him) but Rookie was more than willing and impressed to sign his card, something we were all excited about. This also left our frame of 20 cards full which meant the card Rookie signed wouldn't fit in there, sure, but since Abel Baker returned I realized that even if we did get him to sign his card it wouldn't fit in the frame anyway now. Not that it would stop me from trying though. So I never went to the Sea Wolves dug out during this game and instead was looking for Abel Baker. The umpires took the field and we got sent back up the steps. Moments later, Abel Baker came out of the dug out to go towards the bullpen and this was the first time I had knowingly seen him since he was back with the team. I was already in my seats so I ran back down several flights of steps and had just missed him as he was out of range by the time I got to him.
The game was certainly an interesting one and to say that the Rock Cats got dominated would be an understatement. Even with Ryan Carpenter pitching, the offense just wasn't there. David Dahl hit a lead off home run in the first inning (He bats first) and that was literally the only run the Rock Cats put on the board the entire game. When someone would actually get on base for the Rock Cats, they would be left there. With Wynton Bernard in the Sea Wolves line up as well as recently traded Jacoby Jones and power hitter Dean Green, the Rock Cats were in a bad way. Two different Sea Wolves players hit home runs off of the score board within the same inning. It was just a bad outing for the Rock Cats and it might not have been so much about the pitching because if you're a pitcher you're going to give up runs but it was just that the offense came up empty. Guys who would normally hit to get the runs moving in were going without hits in this game. Every run just seemed to add insult to injury for the Rock Cats because you knew they weren't going to be able to come back from it all.
Even though there wasn't any number of balks in this game, the way the Sea Wolves kept putting runs on the board reminded me of what the Rock Cats did on Thursday night. It was crazy for this series to come full circle in the way and, you know, each of these Erie games did have something that made it seem like not just another game. The two balks by pitcher Tommy Collier on Thursday night in Game 1, the ejection of Wynton Bernard in Game 2, the never-say-die attitude of the Rock Cats in Game 3 and this would just have to have been the story of the Sea Wolves turning this into a home run derby. It's not the best place to be for the Rock Cats to split this series when on paper prior to it there seemed to be an idea (by me at least) that they could have swept it, but within Saturday and Sunday new factors did come into play and one of them was in the form of Jacoby Jones.
Rocky's Birthday Party was a lot of fun even if the Rock Cats didn't win. We stuck it out to the end so Quentin could run the bases and as I was waiting to make the video I saw Abel Baker coming from the bullpen to the dug out and finally got him to sign his card so I think- as of right now as I type this at this moment- I'm good with Rock Cats autographs on cards. As we were leaving the game, an employee gave Quentin a game used ball so the players were seemingly leaving in a hurry as well. We saw some come out so Quentin asked a number of them to sign it and he got a total of seven signatures on it by different players and Andy. I have them all written down so we'll know forever who signed the ball where, when, etc. and it will be a memory of Rocky's Birthday Party we'll always cherish (Ten years from now we'll look back on it fondly, but we wonder whether the Rock Cats won or lost) It also is the tenth ball to go into the case so with only two more spots open and more games than that left I'm thinking we might need another 12-ball case soon.