It’s been a long off-season, but the home Opening Day finally arrived! It was great to see the boys back in town to start the season after a week on the road. I headed over to the ballpark as soon as I got out of work and started soaking it all in.
The first thing I noticed, before I even got in the park is that they’ve turned the awesome free (if you get there early enough) lot across the street from the park to a $3 lot. Bummer. It’s where I parked for most of the games I went to last year, and it’s great. It wasn’t too big a deal tonight — there were still a couple of available metered spots nearby. They’re free after 6pm, so no biggie.
Once they opened the gates, I walked in and looked around a bit. I was in the park just last week for the Season Ticket Holder event, but it was nice to be in the park when baseball was getting ready to happen. It felt good. There were lots of smiles, lots of laughing, everyone was having a great time.
I walked around the park a little. Things are mostly the same. There’s a brick walkway around the edge of the hill by the playground now, I think that’s new. It’s a great idea — that area was always getting worn from people hanging out by it all the time. I was thrilled to see that Pat and his Taylor Made Kettle Corn was back for the season. He’s added a new size and had someone walking in the stands selling the kettle corn today. I hope he’ll be able to sell more to the folks on the third base side doing that — people who wouldn’t necessarily get up and walk over to his booth otherwise. I chatted with Pat a little bit, but not too much, since he was stirring up a fresh batch. Especially with the new size option, I still think Pat’s kettle corn is the best deal in the ballpark. I picked up a small bag and headed over to fan information to fill out the giveaway cards.
After filling out the cards, I ran into Robert, one of my K-Zone friends I made last year. I promptly messed up his name by forgetting it, but he forgave me. I’m looking forward to hanging out with the K-Zone guys some this season. We both headed over to the lineup board to write down the lineup in or scorebooks.
Before heading to my seat, I stopped by the concession stand to pick up some of the North Carolina Barbecue Company barbecue that’s new at the park this year. I got a couple of sliders for $5, which I think is a pretty decent deal. I took my delicious ‘que down to my seat and settled in at the new location. I like it, and think it’s going to be a great place to watch the games this year.
The game was pretty rough for Hoppers Fans. The Shorebirds got on the board early and kept a lead for the whole game. In one of the late innings, the Hoppers started a rally and scored two runs, but it was two little, too late. We ended up losing 6-2.
I broke out my Rally Cap in the 9th inning, so now it’s starting the season with an 0-1 losing record.
As always, the between-inning entertainment was great. There are a couple of new games, and a lot of the old favorites are back. Of course, my favorite has always been the Sausage Race, which was run between the first and second innings tonight. As has often been the case, Sage Sausage was looking good at the beginning, but didn’t manage to win. Country Sausage took home the prize tonight:
Season Stats For Games I’ve Seen:
Country Sausage: 1 win
Hot Sausage: 0 wins
Sage Sausage: 0 wins
They also did the “YMCA”:
Fun times all around.
Since it’s Friday, they ended the night with fireworks. It was a great display. I was out of the stadium by 10pm and on my way home. We’re expecting severe weather tomorrow, but it might end by the time the game’s supposed to start, so I don’t know what will happen for tomorrow’s game. I’ve got a conflict at church for Sunday’s game (when the weather’s supposed to be awesome), so I’ll miss that one.
Anyway, it was great to be back out at the ballpark. I’m looking forward to another fun season this year.