Thursday, September 13, 2007

Durham Bulls Game

Last home game of the season last night at the DBAP. For some reason, not many people come to the "Governor's Cup" games, even though it is the World Series for the International League of AAA baseball.

So, we got excellent seats, fifth row behind the visitors on-deck circle.

Bulls won, 5-1, behind a dominant pitching performance by Jeff Neimann.

Some highlights, at least from my perspective:

1. In the "sumo" contest, where two people put on fat suits and wrestle, one guy falls down. The other grabs the downed guy's sumo diaper, yanks it up, and runs forward. This has the simultaneous effects of giving downed boy an excellent wedgie, and run his face through the grass for nearly three feet. Best sumo ever.
(YouTube video of a different, but also enjoyable, sumo contest)

2. A very fine brawl. Unusual in AAA. But Bulls pitcher Neimann (6'9", 260 lbs!) threw (uncorked, I think I have to say) a 94 mph sailer that went about six inches BEHIND Richmond batter Doug Clark's head. It was also at least 18" ABOVE Clark's head, to be fair, but Clark got (as KPC friend Jim Bouton put it) the "red ass." Clark started fussing at Neimann, waving his bat, fuming. Clark is 6'2", 210, not small, but I don't think anyone really wants to fight Neimann. He is monstrous. Two pitches later, Clark hits a single just past the first baseman, and pitcher Neimann moves toward first in case Bankston (1st baseman) made the play. Clark starts fussing again, pushes are exchanged, both benches clear, there is some vigorous debating and genealogy questions ("YOUR mama was so....) are raised.

Order is restored. But then Richmond coach, Brundage, gets into it with the third base ump. Brundage gives it the full Lou Pinella (Lou is the original red ass, of course). They are yelling and moving around each other. I say, "come on, let's play!" My son turns to me, aghast. "Are you kidding? This is great!" And, of course, it was.

3. A towering fly ball was hit. I mean, it was above the lights, you could barely see it. And then it starts coming down...pretty much right at our seats! We all stand, hoping (not really) to get a chance to catch this ball (it had to be smoking on atmospheric reentry). It lands about four seats to our left, down one row. As my eye followed it, I saw this little morality play:
a. young woman, bent over forward, in her seat, yelling, hiding her head.
b. young man, gamely standing over her, hands over her back, to protect her.
c. young man, seeing that ball is coming RIGHT AT THEM, ducks his own head, and runs across two other people to get to the aisle. Just bails, a total morale break.
d. ball lands about 8 inches to left of young woman.
e. young man returns to seat, laughing.
f. young woman stares at him, gives him a pretty solid straight right to the chest. "You wimp!"

Other fans start the "Aaaaaaahhhhh-lice" cheer. Young man no longer laughing. Young woman pretty much stared straight ahead, arms folded, for the next two innings.

4. Best part of the night for me: A confirmation that the younger generation is getting the information needed about the classics, the REAL classics. I notice (it's 9:30 pm) that my younger son is wearing sunglasses. I mention this. My sons, in unison, say: "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we are wearing sunglasses. HIT IT!" Brought tears to my eyes. Who says that today's youth aren't learning the canon?

(YouTube of Durham Bulls 2007 Fan Appreciation Video) What a guy....makes ya cry....UNT I did.