Sunny, slightly windy, and a steaming 84 degrees outside is a perfect day for baseball. Well, it is for most fans — for me, that is too hot. I normally like the temperature to be around 60 degrees, so heat killed me. Lucky for me, the press box at Huntington Field is air conditioned (the only area in the entire park that is). Unlucky for me, however, was the fact that I was sitting behind home plate instead of my usual spot, so I was out in the heat. I felt just like a real fan.
Speaking of fans, it was yet another sellout crowd, the 14th of the season, with only standing room tickets left. What the fans wanted, of course, was to see Columbus dominate Durham – it didn't happen. Instead, they witnessed a massacre of epic proportions, as the Bulls trampled Columbus into the ground, 12-5. Durham's Henry Mateo started it off when he nailed a home run on the second pitch of the game. This was his first of two for the night. After Mateo's home run, Reid Brignac, Matt Joyce, and Justin Ruggiano all scored. The Clippers were off to a bad start.
It didn't get any better for the next eight innings. Though Jack Cassel did his best to save the game, the Clippers were not able to gain any ground. Then, in the 6th, the Bulls ran rampant again. Mateo homered for the second time and managed to knock in an RBI. Ruggiano also scored again, as did three other Durham players. It seemed as though the Clippers were done, and the fans were fleeing in masses.
But, they were not done. In the 9th, losing 12-0, the Clippers tried to rally a little bit. The Bulls made a few errors, and it showed up on the scoreboard. Jordan Brown rounded the bases and managed to score. Andy Marte had a strong hit, and so did Stephen Head. Head was even able to score, as he was sent home when Damaso Espino was walked with the bases loaded. Shortstop Niuman Romero then doubled, sending both Marte and Andy Cannizaro home. However, it was too little, as Durham was able to stop the Clippers after five runs and seal the deal.
While the fans were disappointed in the actual game, they were somewhat engaged in the between-inning events.
Amongst the 10,100 cheering fans were over 500 Special Olympic athletes, which was a nice gesture. Free t-shirts, a cheering contest, and a special applause for the Special Olympics athletes kept their minds off of the game. There was the fan of the day, who just so happened to be former OSU linebacker AJ Hawk. His random appearances, as well as the fact that he was signing autographs, helped too.
Finally, there was a song competition, where the fans voted between three Michael Jackson songs. Thriller won out, and everybody danced to it at the end of the fourth inning. It seemed as though what was happening on the field was far less interesting than what was happening off of it.
The Great Race
Today's running of the Sugardale Hotdog Race was full of cheating. First, Relish checked Ketchup into the right field wall, as in seriously checked him, like they were playing hockey or something. Then, he tripped up Mustard near first base. LuSeal, one of the mascots of the Clippers, had enough of that, and promptly nailed Relish with a baseball bat – it did nothing. The cheating Relish won again, bringing his record to 3, while Ketchup has won 1 and Mustard is win-less.
During a Twitter conversation with my coworker, who was also at the game, he wrote, “they should have a hot clippers girls vs hot ticket takers v hot usher chicks race instead.” Frankly, I agree, and am planning on starting a petition.
W: James Houser (4-4), 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
L: Jack Cassel (5-7), 5.2 IP, 8 H,7 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO