Andy Phillips during the singing of the national anthem
I arrived in Sarasota way too late to go to the Twins game last night, so I was looking forward to the Reds-Pirates game today. I was a little unnerved when I checked Pirates.com and found the game listed as sold out. Sold out? The Pirates
(This is what they call bachi
in Hawai`i. It's from a Japanese word that means bad luck that you brought on yourself. Karma, if you will. I was making fun of the Pirates' low attendance, saying that the reason they don't have any parking is that they don't need it. So of course, the game I want to go is sold out!)
McKechnie Field is only 7 miles away from my hotel, so I decided to go anyway and see if it was a mistake, or if I could get a ticket from a scalper.
There really is no stadium parking at McKechnie Field. The spring training guides say that fans park on the street in the neighborhood. Maybe some do, but most seem to pay for parking at the various businesses in the area, who make good money by charging to park in their lots. (I have no idea what happens to their normal customers. I guess they're out of luck on game day.) Prices ranged from $5 to $15 or so. It pays to shop around. I parked in the lot of an auto body shop in the shadow of the stadium and paid $5.
I was grateful they gave me a spot where I wouldn't be blocked in, because I wasn't sure I would be able to get a ticket. I was also a little nervous at all the rules they had posted outside the stadium. Among them, that you were only allowed to bring in one bag, and it had to be soft-sided and 16" or smaller. I had a backpack much larger than the posted dimensions, with all my camera gear in it.
There was only one ticket window open, and it had a sign in the window that said the game was sold out. I was disappointed, and wondered where the scalpers were. But I noticed a lot of people seemingly buying tickets, and couldn't believe they were all buying tickets for future games. Especially since some of them were wearing Reds gear. So I got in line and asked if there were any tickets for today's game, feeling stupid since the sign right in front of my face said there weren't. But lo and behold, they had six $9 tickets left.
Some people bought tickets from the scalpers on the corner for $20 because they wanted seats for a group together. Waste of money. Though the game was sold out, a lot of people didn't show up. There were plenty of empty seats.
A lot of the people there were Reds fans. There were also a lot of Yankees fans. Not sure why the game was sold out, though. Maybe just because it's Good Friday, and lot of kids were out of school.
And they didn't give me any hassle about my bag or my camera gear. The security guy was supposed to search it, but took one look and said, "Good lord, girl!" and let me in.
My seat was in the assigned bleachers. In the hot sun (I think I'm a bit burnt, even though I was slathered with sunscreen), but pretty good otherwise. In the third row above the concourse, on the aisle, along the first base line. The Reds were warming up on the field when I got there. Andy Phillips was in the batting cage taking BP.
Andy spent a lot of time signing autographs. He stopped for the national anthem, and went back to signing as soon as it was over. He'd walk a few feet, and stop to sign again. I think everyone who asked him got a signature.
Quite a few familiar faces in today's game. Kevin Thompson was subbed in at left field. He got one plate appearance, and worked a walk.
Did someone order an eyechart? Oops, it's just Doug Mientkiewicz's jersey.
Mike Stanton gave up the only run the Pirates scored today.
Andy Phillips pinch-hit for Stanton, and grounded out to 2B. He did not play except for that one plate appearance. I was disappointed; I was hoping he'd play some first base, since I was sitting on the first base line.
Final score: Reds 5, Pirates 1
Labels: game photos, spring break