Photos can be found as a slide show on the main page at first and then ultimately on the Baseball sub-site.
On Friday night we attempted to see the New Britain Bees but it was raining pretty heavily. When we got to the game it was about 6:30 and gates were open but we were in an indefinite delay. We left after a little bit because it didn't seem like the rain was ending any time soon, but the game did start at 9pm with the second game beginning around midnight. While that is too late for us, had we seen the Bees on Friday night this would have been a weekend of double headers. Our original plan was to actually see the Bees on Saturday night because of fireworks but when I found out about the Westerners double header I decided we should go to that instead because more baseball is always better.
With the first game scheduled to start at 5pm, we arrived at Rogers Park around 4:30. One of the new pieces of merchandise I saw for the Danbury Westerners since we had last seen them was an inflatable baseball with the Westerners logo on it and of course Quentin saw it as well so he wanted one. For only a dollar you really can't go wrong with it though. I then bought both a shirt and a hat because last time I wanted the shirt and looking over the hats I did find one that I liked (which is the one the players wear) Tonight was host family night and so they did a small ceremony before the first game for that, which is something that I'd obviously love to do if we ever had the space enough for another person to live with us.
The first game went rather well for the Westerners and they won 4-0 over the New Bedford Bay Sox. Shawn Blake was the player of the game as he had both a double and RBI which helped put the Westerners on the board. The second game was a bit different though, as the Westerners lost 7-0 and it's just one of those things I will never quite understand about double headers but one of the reasons why I enjoy them so much. In theory, if you win the first game of a double header you should be able to ride that momentum into the second game and continue winning. Yet, far too often I've seen teams split double headers as if perhaps the team who lost the first game have the winners figured out by the second game.
In between the first and second games we walked around the outside of Rogers Park. While near center field a man asked Quentin if he wanted a ball and he informed us that it was the home run ball from the first game. He told Quentin to go get some autographs so we definitely went, found Shawn Blake and asked him to sign the ball so we have this rather unique souvenir now simply because people tend to be good-natured at heart.
During the end of the first game a bus pulled up outside of Rogers Park and some people came off to check out the game, which I thought was kind of neat. They apparently came from New York City (Maybe Brooklyn? I'm not really sure) and just the idea of being brought in from a different state- no matter how close we are to New York- to see the Westerners is pretty cool to me. Granted, there are people who could live right over the New York border and get to Danbury in less time than we do from Meriden but that has never bothered me. I like going to places around Rogers Park like the Danbury Fair Mall before the games.
For most of the second game as well we were sitting next to the host family for several Danbury Westerners players. Listening to them talk to other people about what it means to host a player gave us such an insight into the process and everything it just feels like something which would be so fun to do. I actually told Gina on the drive home that it would be funny if one day in the future Quentin was playing little league and if he was a pitcher- for example- we were living in a house and hosted a player for the Westerners- or some team- and they were also a pitcher, so they could kind of trade tips and what not. Then we thought about when Quentin will become a teenager and likely not want to do anything with us anymore but, you know, life.
I think the best word to use to describe the Danbury Westerners- and the NECBL in general- which is one I told my dad on the Fourth of July when we were talking to him about the game is competitive. Even when the Bay Sox were up, you could still see the Westerners coming back and so there was almost always this bit of suspense which made you wonder who was going to win. In some ways it would have obviously been nice to see the Westerners win both games, but at the same time that feeling of them needing to come back made the second game feel so much different and so if it was just a matter of them winning both games, yeah, it'd take some of the fun out of it.
The most interesting aspect of this game however came during the break between the two games. Next to the place where you order food the Westerners had a table set up with hot dogs, hamburgers and watermelon for the players to eat. We saw them do this last game, as some of the players tended to spend more time eating there than others, but inbetween the two games both teams came over and ate the food. Obviously both teams want to win and on the field it's displayed in that way, but when they come off the field they're just both very respectful of each other and it's just that sense of sportsmanship that you don't always see any more, especially when you think of people getting to the majors and all of the money involved there.