One good thing about the lack of people was that you could hear everything coming from the field. Gary Carter, new coach of the Flyers, is very vocal and you could hear him giving instructions to the base runners and pumping up the troops any chance he got. It was nice to see a hall of fame player and, still being a fan of the game, I made sure I headed down to the OC dugout to get his autograph on my program. He was a nice guy and that autograph will end up in one of my baseball scrapbooks.
I showed up to the park hoping to listen to the game on the radio but it seems the Sox are no longer on our local ESPN affiliate. Must explain why I haven't heard a single commerical for the team. That is unfortunate because that means no one at the stadium can listen to the play by play unless they bring some internet capable device. I will say the RGJ coverage by Colby Balkenbush is better than last year but that was due to the paper having a writer who later was reassigned with no backfill. Darrell Moody of the Carson Appeal still provides the best coverage of the team with interviews and notes for every game. I check him out after each home game and I'd recommend you do the same.
Opening night started with the announcement that fireworks for Saturday would be postponed due to weather. But the season looked to be starting off great all the same as the first hitter for the Sox, Steven Wright, slammed a triple off the right field wall to start things. The Sox, sporting a new cap feauring their "R" superimposed on a baseball, looked to do their best to put the 33-42 season of a year ago behind them.
Here was the starting line-up:
CF Steven Wright
2B Carlos Madrid
RF Juan Senreiso
3B John Hattig
1B Steven Alexander
LF Brett Flowers
DH Will Henderson
C D.J. Dixon
SS Andre Alvarado
P Mark Kaiser
Unfortunately, it was all Flyers from there. Their starter, Andre Simpson, pitched 7 innings giving up just three hits and one run. While waiting for Gary to sign, I made sure to tell him as much. He seemed generally appreciative for the compliment...one of the good things about indy ball I would say.
OC was running on all cylinders as they not only got the great pitching from Simpson, they also had three homeruns from Sean Lorentz, Fernando Pacheco, and Pat Breen. And actually, the final score of 7-3 could have been worse. Twice the OC had Mark Okano at third with no outs and couldn't bring him home. Once he was picked off and once the OC hitters just got rung up without moving him over.
So it wasn't a good start to the season but baseball is here and there are still 87 games to go so that is what is most important. Hopefully they work out some of the kinks too as we saw a throwing error by Alvarado that led to a run, miscommunication between Madrid and Alexander that let a foul ball fall to the ground between them, and a balk by Jesse Hall. Little things like that killed the Sox last year so hopefully this was just an off night.
I will watch tonight's game on internet TV partly to evaluate it for this blog but also because I have a sick son who probably wouldn't benefit from being out in the weather I see out my window as I write this.
As with last year, I am going to be busy for the month of June but then should be at the park for about 95% of the rest of the season. But we are going on vacation and I have an Army school to attend in San Antonio so expect to see some baseball action from San Jose, Modesto, Stockton, San Antonio and Round Rock. I still expect to do reports on the Sox during that period so please keep checking in. I hope to go to one of the Armada games in June between trips so maybe I'll see you there.