Last night I went to my first Utica Brewers game. The Brewers, who are not, to the best of my knowledge, affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers even though their primary logo uses one of Milwaukee’s script logos, play in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, a wood bat collegiate summer league.
I always enjoy going to games (usually minor league games) in small, intimate stadiums, but I often feel that I can’t really root for any of the teams because they are not affiliated with the Mets, and thus to root for one of them would be an act of disloyalty. Thus it was nice to feel that I could truly “root for the home team” last night.
Aside from the endearing cheapness of the ticket–only $5.00 for a grandstand seat!–one bonus of going to the game was that it was Cap Night. Now I can feel like a true Utican as I wear my Brewers cap around town.
The game itself was a wild one. I bought a program and kept score (see Paul Dickson’s excellent book The Joy of Keeping Score for an explanation of how doing so enhances the baseball-watching experience) even though the program itself inexplicably did not contain a scorecard, only team sheets (this is why I only kept batting statistics). I love how the scorecard (badly drawn on the fly as it may be) graphically illustrates the game’s zaniness.
The away team, Amsterdam, scored eight runs in the second inning, with eight of their first nine batters scoring. They batted around in the fourth inning as well, putting four more runs across the plate. They also had four batters get hit by a pitch, the last one right in the helmet, though thankfully he was uninjured. All of these were clearly as a result of wildness on the pitcher’s part, but nevertheless it showed great restraint that no Utica batters got plunked in retaliation.
Amsterdam’s early offensive explosions put the game out of reach, but the Utica nine were no slouches at the plate, either. They sent nine men to the plate in the fourth inning, and scored seven runs on seven hits, which most nights would be enough for victory. Alas, when the starting pitcher only goes 1.1 innings and allows eight runs it is difficult to win. It is also unusual to see a team score seven runs while also accumulating fifteen strikeouts. Amsterdam pitchers struck out the side in the eighth and ninth innings.