The Crawdads are good.
They took us to school tonight.
Tomorrow? Game two.
Tonight was the first game of a 12-game homestead for the Greensboro Grasshoppers. They’re playing the Hickory Crawdads right now, who are really good. The Hoppers fell to the Crawdads, 11-3. Regardless, it was great to be back in the ballpark after a week and a half of away games.
I got to the park a little bit early, before the gates were open, and the Crawdads were still taking batting practice. I took a few pictures through the gate. I could tell within a few seconds of watching that the Crawdads were good and I expected we’d have a tough time with them. It was neat watching a little bit of BP through the gate. I wish the Hoppers would open the stadium a little earlier (maybe just for season ticket holders?) so that we’d be able to watch some BP from within the park.
When they opened the gates, I headed on in and took care of my usual pre-game activities: I signed up for all the contests (I didn’t win anything tonight), I set the starting lineup in iScore so I’d be ready to score the game, I chatted with some of the regular people I see every game (both Hoppers staff and other fans), and I headed over to the autograph table to see who signing autographs today. Today’s player was Chad James (#33, Pitcher) and I hadn’t got his autograph yet, so I had him sign my team ball. Chad was a first round pick last year, so he should be exciting to watch when he plays. I saw him pitch against the Shorebirds on April 14, where he got the loss. The current roster lists him as on the DL, and I don’t know what’s up with that. My team ball is getting full — I might have to get a 2nd one soon.
After meeting Chad and getting his autograph, I stopped by the Taylor Made Kettle Corn booth to get a bag of corn before heading to my seat. It was great to chat with the guys there again. Here’s the picture they put on the scoreboard when they advertise the “can of corn” pop-up or fly play.
Susage Race (between 1st and 2nd): won by Hot Sausage. Sage gave up before even rounding first base.
Sumo (in middle of 2nd): won by Blue Sumo
Morrisette Home Run Derby: Someone won $500 when Kyle Skipworth hit a home run in the 4th inning. That’s the first time I’ve seen that happen, and it was pretty cool.
The taunting of opposing players was in full force tonight. Matt West took the brunt of it with 3 different images of Adam West making their way on the scoreboard. (I only managed to photograph 2 of them, missing the cartoon Adam West from The Simpsons.) Jared Prince was replaced with an image of Jared, the Subway spokesman. Leury Garcia was replaced with a parody pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. It’s hard to see the scoreboard with the small versions I’ve included in this blog entry, so you’ll need to click to embiggen the photo in order to get the full effect.
From a Hoppers Fan perspective, this was a tough game. In the top of the first inning, Erick Carrillo just got beat up, and the team never recovered. After the first inning, the Crawdads had 3 runs on 3 hits, with one Hopper error. Crawdads scored another run in the second. After a Hoppers pitcher change (Anillins Martinez took the mound) the Crawdads scored a monster seven runs in the sixth, with four of those runs coming off a grand slam. When the Hoppers took the plate in the sixth, they were down 11-1, and we knew it was more and more hopeless. The Hoppers managed to score a run in each of the sixth and seventh innings, but that wasn’t near enough to put a chip in the ten-point deficit.
At the end of the night, the Hoppers had 3 errors. They need to tighten that up. They’ll have 3 more games against Hickory. At this point, I’m just hoping that they break any sweep that the Crawdads might be trying to muster.
Here’s a four-photo series of Erick Carrillo warming up before the first inning. I especially like the third picture, where I managed to capture the ball shortly after it left his hand.
I used iScore to score the game. Here’s how I had it (click each picture of the scoresheet to embiggen):
All of my pictures from the game are on Facebook. I really missed my buddy’s telephoto lens today. I’m sensing a Christmas/birthday wishlist item….