Box Score: http://www.milb.com/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2015_08_25_bowaax_nbraax_1&mode=gameday
So much for my idea that the Rock Cats could win this one and then go on to have the rubber match in their final home game with the Bowie Baysox. But I'm getting ahead of myself. My Dad was off from work for this week and wanted to go to a Rock Cats game with us so he decided to go to this one. I thought at one point he might want to go to the Friday or Saturday night game as well, but apparently this was his last Rock Cats game at New Britain Stadium and all that. This was an interesting game but not for the reasons which you might think. Shane Carle was on the mound, going for his 14th win this season and, well, he had a start on the road but didn't get the decision so this kind of felt like a big deal in that way. Since I had gotten all of my Bowie Baysox autographs in one night I wasn't at their dug out this time but rather on the Rock Cats side. While I was waiting for the Rock Cats players to come out and my Dad was looking over the roster print out sheet, Quentin was sitting on the steps going onto the field and playing in the dirt. He had so much dirt under his fingernails and even on his hat, but hey, if he's going to have dirt on his Rock Cats hat why not have it be official Rock Cats dirt.
I somehow managed to get all of the players who I wanted to sign our cards for the night except for Jeff Hoffman but he didn't come out into the dug out until the umpires were on the field so at that time I was leaving to go sit down anyway. There are still a few chances left for me to try and get the Jeff Hoffman card signed and if it doesn't happen then it doesn't happen. One guy came down- and I think he was looking for autographs as well- and looked over the almost empty stadium and said, "Another sell out crowd", to which I had to chuckle. More fans did eventually fill in the seats for a moderate amount full but it was a Tuesday night and kids are going back to school this week across the state.
How do you describe another Rock Cats loss that looks so much like their others? Shane Carle pitched well and the fact that he gave up runs wasn't so much an issue for me as the fact that the Rock Cats offense seems to have stalled. What you need to look at here is that the Rock Cats didn't score until the 7th inning and that was when they scored all three of their runs. Now the Baysox scored in the 4th and 6th, so imagine if the Rock Cats had put those three runs on the board in the bottom of the 4th or 5th. They would have been leading the Baysox 3-2 and it always seems easier to keep a lead or get it back than to try and dig yourself out of a hole which just keeps sinking. When the Rock Cats scored their three runs they were already down by five so it was a tougher wall to climb, in my opinion. Plus when you're down by five with only three innings left to make up those runs and win it really puts the pressure on. Five runs isn't a lot and the Rock Cats scored three themselves, so had they just scored earlier and a bit more than they would have won. In some ways, the Rock Cats seem lucky offensively that Shane Carle was able to hold the Baysox to only five runs.
By the 7th inning we were considering leaving because when you're down 5-0 you just might not come back. There was lightning in the distance almost all night and then the rain came down. It was in big drops and pretty heavy but it didn't last long. Quentin and I just stood in it and watched it fall in the lights because it was humid otherwise so it felt somewhat refreshing and the game never stopped for it either. We never went and took cover and then it just let up and eventually ceased within less than a half an inning. People came back, but some were already gone. We watched the Rock Cats rally and try to come back- and they almost did several times- but the offense just wasn't there. You could blame this on any number of things- the injury of David Dahl, who is usually the firestarter that gets the hits put together to score runs. The fact that this was Tyler Massey's second game back at home and was still without a hit. But the fact is that the Bowie Baysox have crafted this team of young upstarts that you can't really compare with. They're in first place for a reason and whatever the Double A version of the World Series is I expect them to win. Looking back at this years from now- and as Quentin gets older as well and has more of an understanding and appreciation for it- we'll mostly just think of it as the time we saw Mike Yastrzemski play baseball.
Following the rain a lot of chaos took place and we never really went back to our seats but just kind of stood behind the net. Many Rock Cats employees (not naming names) kept telling me that since it was the last week there were no rules and so I doubted someone was going to tell us not to do something so long as we were being safe. Quentin kept going up and down the stairs into the front row right behind home plate (which is heavily netted) and there were a group of people sitting there he kept talking to because, well, he's a friendly little dude. So one of the times he went down there he came back up with a foul ball one of the people had given him. Seriously, this kid is a ball magnet. Another one of Quentin's new friends took him over to see Rocky- who was on the third base side- and they got Rocky to sign that ball for him. That was kind of fun when we were at a point in the game where the Rock Cats were holding onto hope and trying to make their dramatic come back and win the game. I was anticipating a walk off home run situation and it was in place to happen but just... didn't. So if nothing else, this game was definitely intense and words like "nail-biter" and "nerve-wracking" come to mind as you were left on the edge of your seat (If you weren't standing) right up until the very last out. That's just good baseball.