This was our second Yale baseball game of the season and after going to check out the Harvard game and seeing what it was all about we decided to go to this one as well. This was a double header against Brown, for which we stayed through most of the second game as well (but not all of) and this was also the last game of the regular season as Yale and Brown had played the night before at Brown and there was no Sunday double header.
We actually got to the game pretty early on but I didn't mind because it's nice to just be out near the field and everything for some baseball. Quentin had decided he wanted to take a baseball to try and get the Yale team to sign and as it is our first season and Yale has a winning record I wasn't about to discourage him. Right away, the first player we saw was the starting pitcher and Quentin asked him as he was stretching to warm up.
From there, Quentin asked just about every player he could for an autograph before the game and in between the first and second game. We got one of the coaches and only missed four of the players- all pitchers- but we were satisfied with our team ball by the end of the day and it is just covered in signatures. Quentin also had fun yelling numbers at the players, such as "Number eleven! Number eleven sign my ball!!"
I've never really had an experience where someone signed something for us and was mean about it (Though I've come close), but there are those times when people will sign and then just kind of walk away like you wasted their time, you know. But the players at Yale here were all very nice and seemingly went above and beyond what they should have to sign the ball for Quentin, ask him his name, talk to him about the game, ask him if he liked the Mets (since we have a Mets pen) and even give him a high five. I am really not sure why more kids aren't out there doing this.
I also learned- from a player I won't name because I don't want to get him into any trouble- that there are official Ivy League baseballs. As the players were first coming onto the field for warmups I noticed they mostly had just generic balls that you'd buy at Walmart or a sporting goods store and so I thought they didn't have their own. Then, one of the players Quentin asked to sign his ball, asked if we had an official Ivy League ball and I told him not only did we not have one I didn't even know they existed!
He was nice enough to get one for us, which will be our first ever Ivy League ball and so as such will have a special place in our collection. In an unrelated note, it was somewhat funny being there before the game and having the players families kind of ask us what our relationship to the game was. Granted, my dad works at Yale, but it just seems like if you were within driving distance (Maybe a half hour at most) you could come out and enjoy some free baseball. Is it so wrong just to say that you love the game?
The first game had a lot of back and forth where Yale would take the lead and then lose it. The starting pitcher for Brown was apparently from Connecticut and so people came out to see him I imagine, but Yale's starting pitcher was also particularly good. They had a ceremony for the seniors in between the games and even though they are some key players to the team, Yale doesn't seem to be losing too many players in the off season so next year they could still have a decent team.
One of the things I found somewhat odd about the double header concept- and it's not just the toll it must take on the players- is that since the games are seven innings each you play a total of 14 innings, which some normal games could go to in extra innings. So if you're winning the first game you should seemingly be able to just ride that momentum into the second game. (And vice versa, the losing should be hard to shake) And yet, so many games in the Ivy League seem to be split in the double headers.
At one point in time, Quentin and I just walked around the outside of the stadium. A Yale employee asked us if we had seen where a foul ball landed but we hadn't. We saw buckets of balls near the Brown side and I had to tell Quentin not to touch them. We also saw some balls on the ground that looked as if they had been there for months (years?) and Quentin said that they were so dirty he didn't want them. We did, however, pick up a few decent looking balls that may or may not had been from that game but they still had the Ivy League logo on them somewhat visible.
I suppose the theory at the Ivy League games is if you catch a foul ball you can keep it, but if not then the balls will be retrieved by employees for future use. I met a Brown mother who said that they do it because the balls are expensive. How the Ivy League of baseball does not have a deal with someone to send them free baseballs simply baffles the mind. Though just knowing that they make official Ivy League baseballs does please me to some extent as well.
On our way out, before the second game reached its official end, we passed by the Yale bullpen because that's just on the way out and the Yale pitching coach rolled a ball over to an over-tired Quentin and so we began the day not knowing whether or not Ivy League balls were a thing and ended it sun burnt (at least *my* arms) and with our fair share of baseballs.
It's so hard not to want to go to Yale baseball now. When we go to the football games, my dad gets a free ticket as an employee of Yale and then we can sometimes find the radio people to give us free tickets, but still, it's a lot of having to pay to park and finding our seats or good seats in general admission. Yale baseball just seems to be the opposite as it is in a lot of ways just no worries. You know, you can change seats in between the double header and be fine. The biggest thing we try to do is get there early so we can get a program but we were there over an hour early this time and it didn't even feel like it-- the time just flew by. I'm just really hoping to go to all of the games (at least one of the two days of the weekend double headers) next season and I think more people should as well.