Back at the beginning of July- maybe even as far back as June- we had planned on going to this game but also going to a Schooners game the Saturday before. We ended up not going to the Schooners home game the Saturday before, obviously, but up until a few days before this game I was under the impression that it was being played in Danbury for some reason. I have different places where I make notes of what games are coming up and when so we can kind of plan out our Fridays and Saturdays on a weekly, monthly and overall basis and I always had this written down as if it was in Danbury. Had we gone to Mystic the week before I don't know if we'd want to make the trip back there so soon or not so it kind of worked out in that way for us-- that we did change our plans from the previous week at the last minute and saw Team Newington vs. Team Cuba.
Prior to the game we found ourselves hanging out near the Waterford Mall. He had hit a Cumberland Farms earlier in the day for food and after eating some hot dogs I was not nearly as hungry as I thought I was going to be so our notion of eating lunch in or around the mall was nixed. We went to some of the stores nearby- and there are some good ones- but I liked BAM! the most simply because while we were there I purchased some single issues of comic books (Mostly Gwenpool and Bill & Ted Go To Hell). Gina's plan was that we didn't need to get down there too early and so by the time we did get down there we realized we needed more time.
We got to The Shipyard (the baseball field at Fitch High School, which is technically in Groton) a little bit after 4:30 pm. I assumed that since we were so early we weren't asked to pay, as there is a path you go down to get to the baseball field from the school, but as the night went on I didn't see anyone set out to take tickets anywhere. In some ways, I wanted to pay to see if they gave us cool tickets like the Westerners did, but at the same time, ten dollars is ten dollars. One of the biggest things in baseball sometimes is waiting but for me I never mind it. I often feel like waiting is wasting time, but if I'm sitting in the stands at a baseball game and it's an hour before the game starts I never feel like that's a wasted hour. There's just a sense of calm and peace about it to me, so I don't ever mind showing up to games early and I feel like for this game we were among the first fans to show up.
As we tried to find seats in the shade (which made us go up rather high in the bleachers), a cool breeze came through between the advertisements and Richard Slenker came to stretch near us. I was wearing my Yale Athletics shirt and so he started talking to me and they seemed to instantly recognize Quentin and if you go back and read the Yale Baseball reviews I've written you'll see why. We also found another gentleman in the crowd who was talking with us about Yale and baseball in general as well.
I made my way to the lone set of tables the Schooners had out- one had snacks for sale on it and the other had merchandise, as from the stands we could pick out the baby blue of the t-shirts. They didn't have a price list up so I felt bad constantly asking how much something was, but the first time I went over I ended up buying both a shirt and a hat. I was told that the shirt was $8 and the hat was $10 so I handed them a twenty and got $5 back. It must have been some sort of combo deal. Well, we'd return a little while later as Quentin wanted some candy and we found they had these small bats with their logo on it. Since we didn't pay to get in and I knew they were a charity I was basically trying to give them money so I asked how much the bats were and they said one dollar. I asked how much the official NECBL baseballs were and they also said a dollar. I figured if Quentin got some candy, we got a bat and a ball or two we could pay them back the five they gave me back earlier, but then they said if you buy a bat and ball together it was only $1.
I was so confused, but in an effort to later on make them take my money, when Gina went to buy drinks I made her buy another baseball from them, this time without the bat. A lot of this came to a "doesn't matter" hold though because when they announced the 50/50 raffle we decided we'd put in $10 because we didn't pay to get in. Sure enough, we won the cash prize and I made Quentin take up the winning ticket, which then had him running away with the cash. No, really, I had to chase him and the cash down. Now, I've said and thought for the Brakettes and Westerners both that if I won the 50/50 raffle there I'd just buy a bunch of merchandise but the funny thing is that at this point in the night we had already bought at least one of everything they had for sale!
The game itself was fairly one-sided in favor of the Schooners. I try to stay on top of the NECBL standings and the Schooners have just been having a great summer. That isn't to say that the Westerners aren't doing well themselves, but the defense just seemed to shut down the Westerners here as they didn't get many hits it seemed like even. Richard Slenker proved to be the power and speed of this game though as a two run double first put Mystic on the board (Which was really less than an inch from going over the fence and being a three run homer) and later on after stealing second and then third base, Slenker would score the third run of the game. It's difficult to choose what team to cheer for when you want to cheer for both and, I mean, I just like to watch a good game of baseball regardless of who wins usually, but I also just tend to find it hard not to root root root for the home team-- at least in situations such as these. Going to see a favorite team play in the home of a team I didn't feel connected to wouldn't be a big deal, such as if we saw Yale on the road next Spring.
While this was our first time seeing the Mystic Schooners, the last time we had seen the Danbury Westerners prior to this we also saw Dylan Stock as their starting pitcher and Justin Snyder in as a reliever because they went from number 31 to 32. It was also just a lot of fun to see the Westerners in the away game uniforms (which have pinstripes on the pants) as well as recognizing the players as they came up. There were also a few players on the Schooners I liked though, as Aaron Hill had a good game (He's from UCONN, who we plan to see in the Spring, prices pending) and Nick Mascelli, who we were told before the game was really good and he played a heck of a game.
Next summer might be our summer to travel more- spending time at fields in leagues like the NECBL but outside of Connecticut- but I already feel like we should visit The Shipyard at least once in June and once in July next summer. The atmosphere of it is just so great, complete with a large area behind the stands for the kids to play (which Quentin and I were doing) and so it just provides a unique opportunity that other baseball fields don't. I also really like the look of their dugouts.