I went to the Lowell Spinners game yesterday with my dad, his coworkers (it was a sort of office get together), and my brothers. The Spinners are the Class A affiliate of the Red Sox, located in Lowell, MA (famous for its mills).
Immediately upon arriving many gifts were showered upon us (I guess they do that for everyone who signs up with a large group). Since my dad was the main organizer, we got to keep a signed ball by the Spinners catcher, Chia-Chu Chen, courtesy of the box office. Then we went to “the gator pit,” a barbeque (sorry, did I spell that wrong?) area with a buffet, also courtesy of the box office. The Spinners mascot is strangely a gator (actually it’s 3 of them), despite their logo, which is a piece of thread wrapped around a bat. Apparently there was a swamp next to the stadium and that’s the namesake for their mascots, but all I saw was a little lake. We also ended up getting Spinners tote bags as another gift.
I went up to the stadium early. To my disappointment there was no BP going on, and only a few players were stretching or walking around. I guess Class A isn’t the prime place to get a ball (you would think these kids, many of which are right out of high school would be thrilled to get asked for an autograph or a ball, but they weren’t really making themselves available, so I guess not). Here’s a couple views of LeLacheur Park from the inside. Sorry, the photos aren’t great:
Finally some players from the Oneonta Tigers (the Spinners opponents and the Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers) came out and started playing catch. Here’s a view of the first real action out on the field:
Shortly after, the Spinners came out and had a little team meeting. Here they are stretching out before some warmups.
I also noticed a lot of similarities between LeLacheur Park and Fenway. For one, the Spinners have the Sox logo in the grass behind the batter’s box. They also have the same retired numbers as the Sox, out in right field:
That was the first batter of the game. He hit a line drive single on something like the 3rd pitch, so immediately the Spinners had to adjust to playing with a runner on. Here they are in “pickoff mode,” as I like to call it:
On the next play the Tigers’ batter grounded into a double play, so the Spinners were safe for the time being. Then the Spinners’ 3rd baseman, Michael Almanzar, made a great diving stop but only deflected the ball to his left. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up getting a picture of this one. The scorekeepers called an error on this play, but both my dad and I agreed it wasn’t really one.
The Spinners’ half of the 1st was uneventful. In the top of the 2nd inning, the Spinners were in a little bit of a jam. With 2 outs there was a man on 2nd. Then came one of those plays where just about everything went wrong. The batter hit a routine ground ball to 3rd, but Almanzar couldn’t come up with it and was given an error. The ball went back behind him and the man coming from 2nd rounded to score. Almanzar chucked it to home in hopes of getting the runner out, but he threw it over the catcher’s head. 2 errors on one play, and a run. Things were not looking good.
The game was again uneventful until the 5th inning, when our man Chia-Chu Chen singled a man home from 2nd. I guess we were lucky to get a signed ball from the only real hero of the game for Lowell.
Aside from the action on the field, we also saw a lot of entertaining between-inning promotions, which are standard in minor league ball. We got to see a sub eating contest, a classic sumo wrestling match, a race around the bases, and more.
It was also “Politically Correct” night at the ballpark. At first this seemed funny and innocent. I didn’t mind taking my hat off for the Curacao, Dominican Republic, Tawain, and USA national anthems. However, later in the game it started getting a bit annoying. The PA announcer told us that the words “ugly” and “old” would not be used and would instead be replaced by the words ? and “chronically different” (I don’t remember the replacement word for “ugly”). Is it really politically incorrect to say the word “ugly?” I think that one definitely depends on the context…
In the middle innings I got the camera back out. Here are two action shots I took:
I really like that second one…
Here’s the box score from the 6th inning. As you can see, it wasn’t the most exciting of games:
Then the 7th rolled around. It was raining more than it had been the entire game (you can see the very gray sky in the first couple pictures), my brothers were getting tired, it was more or less a very slow game, and almost everyone else from my dad’s office had left already. So I’ll admit it, we left. It was the first time I had left a baseball game early. It turns out we missed somewhat of an exciting game for a while, but it was blown wide open in the 12th inning and Lowell lost 4-1.
Class A ball is very fun to watch, the tickets are cheap, and there are no bad seats in most stadiums. Whenever you have a free weekend, try a game out, you might just enjoy yourself.
The final box score: