Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
When Bubba was sent to Louisville, one of the first things I did was check the schedule, to see if I'd be able to get to any of the games. Three series were in reasonable driving distance: Syracuse, Scranton, and Pawtucket, each roughly three hours' drive away.
I didn't buy tickets or anything, because I thought that Bubba might be called up to the big club, or traded to a team that had more need for a lefty outfielder than the Reds did. As it turned out, if I wanted to see Bubba, I should have gone to spring training.
I didn't go to Syracuse, because Bubba was on the DL and I thought Pawtucket or Scranton would be a better bet. (I should have gone. He was at least still traveling with the team then.) But after they announced he was out for the season, I decided I still wanted to go see a game or three. I let Hotwire make my decision for me. They had a great deal for a cushy hotel in Providence, Rhode Island, only five minutes away from Pawtucket. And I was fan of H.P. Lovecraft as a kid, so that was another reason I wanted to visit Providence.
The drawback, of course, is that Pawtucket is the Triple-A club of the Boston Red Sox. I would be in enemy territory. (Kinda like when I tagged along with a school tour of Heinz Field, hoping no one would notice the Dallas Cowboys keychain hanging from the zipper of my backpack. ;-)
I got to Providence on Saturday, July 21. Ol' Bloody Sock was scheduled for a rehab start, so the game was sold out. But there were still tickets for Sunday, an afternoon game. Only the cheap seats were left, but it's not a very big stadium, so even the cheap seats are pretty good.
That game was played the night before Easter, and went until after 4am before it was suspended, after the 32nd (!) inning. The game was finished a couple of months later, and took only one more inning.
Check out the box score. (I wonder if the rest of the PawSox were annoyed at whoever scored that run in the bottom of the 21st?)
I got there over an hour early, and staked out a seat on the aisle. Which proved fortunate, since, as usual, a seven foot tall giant sat down in front of me. (It never fails. I'm kinda vertically challenged, and no matter where I go, the seven foot giants always sit in front of me. Movies, lectures, Broadway plays - the giants always sit in front of me.) But since I was on the aisle, I could kind of lean around him and see the game.
Going for the Bats was The Lizard, Elizardo Ramirez:
On the mound for the PawSox was their stud, Clay Buchholz:
Joey Votto, the Reds' best prospect not named Homer Bailey, went 3 for 3 with a walk and a double:
Jay Bruce, the Reds' best prospect not named Bailey or Votto, was 2 for 5.
Calvin Medlock came in to relieve Ramirez:
The final out of the game: Jay Bruce makes the catch.
And the Bats celebrate their victory: Louisville 11, Pawtucket 1. It snapped a five-game losing streak.
All in all, a very pleasant afternoon. Despite being surrounded by Red Sox fans. (Providence itself seems to be mixed: half Yankee fans, half Red Sox fans. But of course, it was all Red Sox fans at McCoy Stadium.) It's sort of bland, as ballparks go, but it's a comfortable place to watch a game. Tickets are cheap, parking is free, and it's in a residential neighborhood that's easy to drive to. I'd go back. (And in fact, I did. ;-)
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