“To the vast majority of people in the stands, the baseball game on the field is secondary. It’s about fun family affordable entertainment.” -Donald Moore
When I was in Charleston, covering the All Star Break festivities for all of you, I heard the above quote from President and GM Donald Moore at the Hall Of Fame Luncheon. It might be paraphrased a tad, since that was over two weeks ago. However, the meaning is the same. I would like to extend on that thought a second. What makes Greensboro Baseball so special, is that it’s A LOT about the fan experience. And as the HoppersFan corespondent, it is my duty and responsibility to report for you on that aspect of the game. Ask most people in the stands tomorrow who won, what the score was, or about the brand new pitcher sent down from Jupiter, and they probably couldn’t tell you any of that. Why? Because to reference Mr Moore here, baseball was secondary. Sitting in the stands tonight, I was reminded of this. There were kids and families all around me. The Hoppers lost, but no one booed or got upset, because win or lose the families still had a great time, thanks to an incredible staff that Greensboro has to entertain us, the fans. For those out there like me that are fans of the hoppers, though we don’t make it to every game, there is a baseball game going on. For us, we come do come out to see our first half champions win. We do go Woot Woo, after the national anthem, no matter where we are when we hear it. Tonights blog isn’t about the game tonight, it’s a tribute to the fans. The true fans, the men and women that treat their families to a fantastic evening at the ballpark. Which grow seeds for the future of Hoppers baseball. And it’s a tribute to the men and women who work the gates, sell popcorn, beer, and to Spaz and Jim who make every night memorable and never tire of doing so. Tonight, this is a tribute to you.
As you can tell by the picture above the seats tonight were packed. Every year, I always give my two seats away on the Fourth Of July game. This year was no different. I usually pick a family and just as a random act of kindness give them my two tickets to the game. Which by doing so, I had to buy a ticket last minute for my bride and I. Which I’m glad I did, it turned out to be an exciting game.
Starting pitcher on the mound tonight was Josh Hodges. He would throw 4.2 innings, allow six hits and six strikeouts. He would be relieved by “Big Daddy Shaf”, Chris Shafer. Shafer would throw 2.1 innings, and allow no hits on three strikeouts. Jupiter Hammerheads sent down a right hander pitcher Collin Cargill to the Hoppers yesterday. He would close out the night with 2 innings pitched, three hits and three strikeouts. For a combined twelve strikeouts! Thats a lot of K’s courtesy of the JETS PIZZA K ZONE.
Big hitters on the night were John Shultz and Ryan Rieger. Both had homers tonight and Shultz went 5-2 and Rieger went 3-1. Austin Barnes took the night off nursing his shoulder after he was upended and cleated in the 8th inning of Monday nights game. Rand Smith was place on the temporary inactive list today as well. Brent Keys continues to be on the 7 day disabled list due to a hamstring injury earlier this week.
The Hoppers loss to the Hickory Crawdads tonight dropped the Hoppers to five games back in the Northern Division. The Hoppers second half record is 5-8 and 51-32 overall.
So, from my family to yours, have a very safe and fun fourth of july. And thank you to the many people that make it A GREAT TIME TO BE A HOPPER!
(Note: also remember to check out GSOHOPPERS.com for all Official Scores, Recaps, and the Official Blog by veteran sports writer, Bill Hass)