Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Opening Night In Trenton

It was a "balmy" 51 degrees at the time of the first pitch, and the temperature plummeted to the upper 30's by the late innings. But "The Boys of Summer, Eastern League Edition" are back. At WATERFRONT PARK in Trenton, NJ, the two time defending league champions Trenton Thunder began 2009 hosting the Binghamton Mets. The pregame music included selections like KOKOMO by the Beach Boys, and Jimmy Buffet's MARGARITAVILLE, even though most fans wore heavy coats, and in my case, put on a pair of gloves by the 6th inning. The loneliest guy on the planet was the ITALIAN ICE vendor, the busiest, the cappuccino man. Its April 8th...and this was football weather!

Before the game there was a moment of silence to remember those thirteen individuals who were so tragically slain by a gunman last Friday in Binghamton. I thought about that alot last week when the news broke- a little bit of that grieving community would be visting ours. The rest of the world will turn the page and forget. The community of Binghamton won't.

The record will say that Binghamton won the game in the top of the ninth, rallying from a 3-0 deficit, first to tie, and later to take a 5-3 lead which was the final margin of victory. But the final score of one minor league game is not the story. The real significance is the rite of spring, and of renewal, and the connection to times long past, that baseball brings. The conversations and stories swapped with total strangers in the stands....the excitement of the little kids at their first game....the green of the grass after a frigid winter...and of hope that this summer will be better than the last, and we'll make it to the top this season. There will be ups, and downs. Baseball is the only game ever invented where a person who fails 70% of the time is considered a great player. And in that sense, it may mirror the real world more than any sport ever conceived.

I went to the game with my 82 year old father. The moments with him become even more precious as the years mount. Because like the game of baseball, it can all turn very unexpectedly, and then its "game over"

Tonight something ironic and funny happened. We were watching the game and a family with teenagers sat behind us. The kids would not shut up, for two seconds...the boy was alot like an unfunny young version of Rodney Dangerfield, the girl had a shrill voice that was splitting my eardrums...and because the PA was close by they shouted at each other to be heard....and after about an hour, it started to get to me.

My Dad and I decided to move a few rows back an avoid a confrontation with this Bleacher Creature in Training and his clueless parents. No problem; all was cool.

I've been to over 300 baseball games during my lifetime, majors and minors. I've never caught a foul ball in the stands.....ever.

In the 6th inning a ball was hit back towards us- it hit the metal overhang above are heads, and caromed straight down to the seats that we vacated about a half hour would have smacked dear old Dad in the head! The bad news was that the ball took another bounce and hit an elderly lady in the head down the same row. Fortunately, she wasn't hurt badly, and returned to her seat after being attended to.

In case your interested, here's the recap, courtesy of MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. I've got my partial season ticket, and will be back for another game against these same Binghamton Mets in the second week of May.

Its bound to be alot warmer.....I hope.

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