As far as the game, the Sox lost 13-9 but before I get into the details, I wanted to talk about the atmosphere.
The crowd was the largest of the year at 2685. I read in an article that Fireworks are the number one draw of fans followed by bobbleheads. Unfortuately, with the latter, fans tend to leave the game early, but with fireworks the majority stay through the entire game. That was definitely the case and it was the best atmosphere at Peccole that I have ever experienced. Fans were into the game from start to finish, cheering loudly at times, and even starting the wave on multiple occasions. The lines for concessions took about 20 minutes to navigate due to the large crowd compared to the normal 2-3 minute wait in line so Sodexho (concessions company) clearly wasn't ready for crowd. This is obviously good and bad. My recommendation to soothe the crowd: Add more concessionaires if possible or put the radio broadcast on speakers for the crowd to listen to the game while they wait. If you actually could get CCTV that would be awesome but radio will also suffice.
Off the field, General Manager Dwight Dortch resigned and his assistant, Curt Jacey, was promoted to General Manager. And there were already changes during these last two games. There is now a second mascot named Slugger who you can check out below.
Then there are signs on the concourse listing the starting line-ups, current standings, and upcoming promotions. This is a great touch. The promotions are being changed slowly and thy now include a race of 3 Silver Sox behind the right field wall with the winner determining which section gets free otter pops. Add to this that that the Sox sent an e-mail to their fans saying the promotions schedule was going to be completely reworked, there would be a kid's club and a booster club established, and that there would be a greater focus on in stadium promotions, and it is easy to see the Sox are moving in the right direction. Curt said in an RGJ quote that he wants to get as many fans in the stands as possible. I think these moves will definitely help with that. Great job, Curt!
As for the game, the Sox strategy seems to be trying to outslug their errors and pitching problems. Some times it works, but eventually, you reap the whirlwind as we saw last night.
Monday vs. Chico, the Sox committed 7 errors and gave up nine runs. However, led by homeruns from Jose Rodriguez, Ryan Brown, and a pair from Kane Simmons, the Sox were able to score 10 and win the game.
Tuesday, they couldn;t repeat this feat. They cut their errors to the more standard 2 and added in a couple of longballs from Juan Sanreiso but then they gave up 19 hits and allowed Chico to score 13 runs. Add to this 5 walks and a Wild Pitch that scored a Chico run and it is easy to see that you can only tempt fate so long. Chico, on the other hand is is the best pitching team in the league with a team ERA of 4.54. Add to this that they also have the most dominant closer in Todd Galetka and you will see that if you give them the opportunity to score runs they will beat you. Kelly Johnston, a new pitcher just acquired yesterday, took the loss giving up six runs (all earned) in the last three innings of the game.
And, if you don't recognize many of those names, it is because there has been a lot of player movement. The Sox haven't put out a press release or e-mail on those moves and that is something I would like to see improved. I sent an e-mail to the team and posted my concerns on the Our Sports Central website that many league officials and staff read so hopefully it changes.
Anyway, here is a quick rundown since the start of the season of player movement:
PLAYERS LOST: P Brian Keating (retired), OF J.J. Sherrill(out for the year with a knee injury), OF J.J. Johnson (Out with a facial injury; return unknown), 3B Dustin Hahn (Retired), P Keaton Everitt (Out for season with shoulder injury), P Matt Scott (On inactive list, injury unknown), SS Jordan Devoir (On inactive list with shin injury, return unknown), OF Travis Tully (traded to Costal Bend Aviators of American Association), and P Marshall Plouffe (released)
PLAYERS SIGNED: P Mike Peck, P Chris Testa, OF Kane Simmons, C Joe Melton, OF Juan Senreiso, 1B Ryan Brown, P Kelly Johnston and OF Gary Snyder (he was later released)