06/23/2011 – GSO Grasshoppers v HAG Suns (Game 1)

So yesterday I said I’d write more about the first game of the second half. Here I am.

It was great to be back in the ballpark after the time away. I was still stinging a little bit from the Hoppers missing out on winning the first half of the season by such a thin margin. On the other hand, I was optimistic. In some respects, it’s like it was Opening Day all over again — all the teams get to start fresh and compete for the second half playoff spot. I think the team has it in them to capture the 2nd half, but it’s going to be a tough job: the SAL Northern Division is full of good teams, July and August are hot, and the second half of the season is full of all sorts of roster moves as the organization starts integrating their recent draftees and moving the better players on the team up the ladder. It’ll be hard, but I believe we have a team that’s capable of doing it, and coaching that’s capable of leading them there.

Having said all that, the first game of the Hagerstown series was not the way to start a quest for the second half playoff spot. The Hoppers lost, 6-3. Check out the official box score and game recap for the details.

I was particularly excited to have a chance to see Bryce Harper play. He’s biggest hype from last year’s draft, the number one pick for the Nationals. I missed seeing him play last time Hagerstown was in Greensboro, and I was afraid he’d get called up after the All-Star break. He didn’t get called up, so he was still on the roster.

Before the game, a group of folks gathered by the visitor’s dugout hoping for an autograph:

Hoping For A Harper Autograph

Hoping For A Harper Autograph

I think he signed autographs for everyone who had gathered there before the game. One of my friends dropped by during the game and let me know that he and his son got Harper to autograph the copy of Sports Illustrated that featured Harper on the cover.

I didn’t try to get an autograph during the Harper Hype. Instead, I visited the Grasshoppers autograph table and got autographs from James Wooster and Christian Yelich:

James Wooster and Christian Yelich Autographs

James Wooster and Christian Yelich Autographs

The most exciting part of the game was watching Harper bat. He was booed every time he came to the plate — probably a result of the kiss incident from the last series Greensboro played at Hagerstown. His five at bats resulted in only one hit. The hits he made that resulted in fly outs were very tall. I can definitely see how he’s got power to hit home runs. In yesterday’s blog entry, I linked to a YouTube video of Harper grounding out into a double play.

I left hoping that the Hoppers would be able to turn things around in game two. (Here’s a note from the future: they didn’t.) At least we struck out the Biscuitville Strike-Out Victim and we all got a coupon for a free biscuit.

No scorecard picture from this game. I don’t have my scanner, and any photos I take of it don’t turn out well at all.

Remember, you can click on any of the pictures in the post to embiggen them. Check out the photo album on Facebook for all the pictures.

See ya at the ballpark!
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