Baseball in Jersey
There is always a romantic feeling about going to a New Jersey Cardinals game. Maybe it’s the field of dreams setting in the foothills and the cornfeilds of northwestern New Jersey. Maybe it’s just being out of the way and not harried like I was last week driving Californial freeways trying to get to Stockton and Modesto. Or maybe it was the great meal and service I got at The Chatterbox across the street from the park. Who knows, but I really like it in Augusta having throroughly enjoyed my last two days here.
Let’s not kid ourselves about the baseball. It is low Class-A and last Tuesday night’s game was among the worst I’ve seen in a long time. But these guys are learning and that’s what this level is about. Plus, it’s just a fun time at the game.
Prior to the game, they made an announcement that no coolers, bottles ore weapons were allowed into the park. Guess I should’ve left my switchblade in teh car (just kidding). Anyway, the Cards put on an entertaining show in between innings with a giant eyeball race, similar to the sausage race in Milwaukee. I had the blue eyeball to place and he finished a distant third. So much for scouting reports.
The club also trots out a live cow in the middle of the sixth inning. Afater a grand introduction, the Rally Cow — a tradition up here — is brought onto the field to help spark the home team. Only problem, the cow was a bit temperamental Tuesday night and didn’t want to come out of its pen down in the left-field corner, so they cheered for it in absencia. It’s not the same, though, becuase the Cards, sans cow, couldn’t rally for the win.
Then in the seventh inning, I saw something I had never seen work before actually work. Lowell had runners on the corners with Mark Wagner on third and Dominic Ramos on first. Jeremy Zick was pitching. He faked a pickoff throw to third, then turned and fired to first to get the leaning Ramos. When does this annoying stunt ever work? Never until Tuesday night. This is what I mean about learning.
Finally, after the game, a horrifc thunder and lightning storm swept through the area. I was in the Cards office saying my goodbyes to the very helpful public relations staff and waiting out the rain when one of the employees burst in and uttered — get it, uttered — one of the best lines I’ve ever heard: "The cow is out in the open and is going to get hit by lightning. It itsn’t grounded."
Ah, we love the Cards.