Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Casper Ghosts 5, Ogden Raptors 8 -- Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday had a nice rhythm to it. We started by checking out the architecture in Denver's museum district. We ended with a quite enjoyable baseball game at Mike Lansing Field in Casper, Wyoming. In between, we covered some miles and had some adventures in Cheyenne.

When Melvin and I saw these teams match up in Ogden on the 23rd, the Raptors played the theme from Ghostbusters; "I ain't afraid of no ghosts." It is more than a taunt. Thirty-one games into the 66-game season, the Ghosts are finding their tenth win ephemeral, going into today's game with a 9 and 21 record, ten games behind the first place Raptors. Having seen them twice, it is not hard to see at least one reason why. At both the games we saw, the relief pitching has been awful.

The Ghosts scored first. With two outs in the second, Angelys Nina and Nick Valdez walked. David Hernandez reached first when Ogden pitcher Matthew Magill couldn't handle a throw from first baseman Kyle Orr. Nina scored, Valdez advanced to third and Hernandez went on to second on what should have been the third out. When Avery Barnes hit a line drive double to center field, both Valdez and Hernandez scored. The team tacked on an insurance run in the sixth, starting with Jared Clark's ground ball single into right field. Two batters later, Clark went to second on Ogden reliever Jordan Roberts's wild pitch. After Nolan Arenado grounded out to third base, Clark scored when Nina hit a grounder into left field.

However, the 4-0 lead could not survive the Ghostly relief pitching in the top of the eighth. Alejandro Barraza gave up three singles and a walk and made a wild pitch, letting the Raptors score twice without an out. Barraza was replaced by Leuris Gomez, who fared worse. After an error by the Casper third baseman, a double, an intentional walk, an error by the first baseman, a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly and one last single, the score was 8-4 in favor of the prehistoric ones.

The smart and speedy running of Barnes--whom Mel and I saw steal second, third, and home in one inning last Thursday--let the Ghosts score once more, but too little, too late. Barnes was hit by a pitch, took second and third on fielder's choice plays, and scored when Clark singled to third base.

MiLB Reports: Game Recap Box Score

The day didn't actually begin with our tour of various Denver cultural institutions downtown. It really began with me getting a parking ticket for violating the once a month street cleaning regulations. As an almost 30-year resident of New York City who went to school in Syracuse, which has alternate side of the street parking every single day of the year, I just had to laugh. Then we went downtown to check out the expansion of the Denver Art Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind. Melvin and I did not go inside, so we cannot say how the various wedge-shaped spaces can or will be used, but we had to wonder how from the outside. The skin is expansive faces of metal plates, some of which looked like they had been installed very poorly.

We both preferred a 1971 addition to the museum by GiĆ² Ponti, which a staffer told us was the Italian architect's only building in North America. Michael Graves's 1995 addition to the Denver Public Library seemed lame to me when it was built, and my opinion was unchanged by seeing it in person 14 years later.

Following our architectural tour, we made quick time to Cheyenne, where we decided to play a round at the "Wyoming Adventure Mini Golf." The course includes miniatures of such state icons as Devil's Tower, Teapot Dome, and the Sierra Trading Post outlet store. Mel beat me by two strokes. Does "par" even mean anything in putt-putt golf? Maybe with practice.

We then had an adventure of a completely different sort by having lunch at The Pie Lady (the restaurant). We both started with pulled pork sandwiches that were uniquely seasoned. I cannot tell you how, because The Pie Lady (the proprietress) expressed great concern that our blog would result in other restaurateurs stealing her recipes and other ideas. I think I can say that the sauce tasted too much like ketchsup and the meat had been cooked too long. Lunch comes with a bag of potato chips, an idea that I do not think is original to The Pie Lady, and a one-tenth slice of pie. Melvin had three "half slices" and I had a half and a whole. Can I even mention the flavors? I know that I am forbidden from describing how the available pie flavors are presented on the wall or how the restaurant is decorated. The pies were good; the paranoia was harder to swallow.

Eating the equivalent of 30 percent of a pie each meant we didn't have time to check out "Old Number 4004," the world's largest steam locomotive, or the ICBM museum on the F. E. Warren Air Force Base. We will have to save that for another trip, as my father used to say on trips to places we would probably only visit once. We did stop for some quick photos of the commercial signs on Lincolnway, a major commercial strip that, as Mel put it, "was the bomb in 1958."

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