Monday, June 9, 2008

Blowfish are Back

 

Downpours on May 28 ushered in the first night of a new season of
baseball at Capital City Stadium, and when Columbia Blowfish players rolled up
the tarp to at last unveil the infield, I thought them bold to make their move
during what seemed to me only a break in the rain. Oh me of little faith.


  


 

Blowfish Baseball Back at Capitol City Stadium

 

By Dan Lackey

 

Downpours on May 28 ushered in the first night of a new
season of baseball at Capital City Stadium, and when Columbia Blowfish players
rolled up the tarp to at last unveil the infield, I thought them bold to make
their move during what seemed to me only a break in the rain. Oh me of little
faith

As always, I took in the entertainment from
up by the press box, seated cross-legged on the wide concrete slab at the top
of the roof-covered bleachers, having marked my place with a blanket an hour
before the game, which was not long delayed.

            I find bliss in the
presence of the local pastime, where
crowds (I am sorry not to be sorry to say) are usually small and contemplative.
Baseball at the Cap is for me a certain kind of beholding, first of a
tranquilizing field of green, and then of each game as it unfolds, in both slow
and frantic motion. In my field of dreams it does not matter if our guys lose,
or even if they play well, so long as I am able to savor the moments when
everything hangs on one pitch.

 The pitch upon which everything finally hung
the first night of Blowfish baseball in the year 2008 was the fourth delivery
in the bottom of the tenth to infielder Oliver Santos, who swung and missed,
shutting down the show, leaving runners on second and third, with the game then
going 9 to 7 to the visiting Redwolves, from Florence.

 No joy in our Mudville over that, but nothing
need vanquish fond memory of our home-side happiness in the bottom of the ninth,
a taste of which had been given us at the top of the inning when the first
three Redwolf batters, respectively, popped out to second, flied out to deep
center, and struck out. Yet, Florence was still up by two, seven runs to five.

 Leading off then in what turned out to be the penultimate round of
Blowfish trips to the plate, Tyler McBride cajoled a base on balls and then got
forced out at second as Branfy Arias managed on a sharp grounder to the short
stop to sprint just fast enough to thwart the double play. One out, a man on
first, with the aforementioned Oliver Santos, coming to the plate. Santos, who
has, of all the Blowfish, the most pugnacious batting stance, was not then
aware of what fate held for him in the tenth. He clobbered a line drive to left
center, pushing Arias to second and taking first for himself.

 But catcher Chris Kay, striking out, kept us
sober, as Blair Carson, with two outs
and the same two men on first and second, took his time in the spot light,
looking on with interest as the first pitch split the plate, and then knocking
the next one foul, bringing us to the following moment of Zen: two outs, two strikes, two men on, two runs
down in the bottom of the ninth.

 And so we few Fish fans who had not yet heard
the terminal song of La Señora Gorda were able to shout a jubilation sure to be
heard up Assembly Street, all the way to the Sonic, when Carson, after toying
with our heart strings by knocking another foul, singled to left field, loading
the bases. And shout we did again, when infielder Sean Sullivan drove a
blessing deep enough into center field to bring Arias and Santos home, tying
the game at 7. 

 Philip Morgan then grounded out to second,
but the call at first base was close enough to make the play a chaser to the
deep draughts of delirium we had drunk when Sullivan singled to center. The
soundmeister in the press box played a bit of The Hollies hit “Stay” (Won’t you stay, just a little bit longer),
which reminded me of comedian George Carlin’s witty remark about baseball
offering “extra innings,” football “sudden death.”

 Speaking of the Reaper. When the score is
truly hopeless, I may bellow, Do not go
gentle into that good night, rage, rage, against the dying of the light!
 But win or lose, we fans sauntering out of
the Cap usually do go gentle into another good night, leaving the jingoes, who
may be secretly among even us, to do their jingo thing, come fall, when the
Confederacy essays to rise again, over there in the Cockpit.

 

 

 

 

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