Monday, July 27, 2009

Colorado Springs Sky Sox 3, Sacramento River Cats 2 -- Monday, July 27, 2009

Following on Melvin's post on our enjoyable Sunday, I could title this, "Back to 6,000 Feet," as we went to Colorado Springs for the day. We started at 10:30 with a tour of the Castle Pines golf course, where my cousin (and wonderful host for two nights) Bob oversees the forestry and horticulture. Bob and I both have degrees from forestry schools, and it was enlightening and enjoyable for me to see the beautiful and ecological work he has done at the Jack Nicklaus-designed course (elev. 6,300). We finished our tour at the high point on the property, with views of Pikes Peak, Castle Rock--the town and the geologic feature it is named for--and the valley below.

Unbeknownst to us, the Sky Sox and River Cats were also beginning their days at 10:30. The teams had been scheduled to play a double-header yesterday, and when the second game was postponed, it was only until the following morning. Our tickets were for a 12:35 start, what I had been calling a "day camp special." And special it was, if you like to hear screaming at frequencies usually only audible to dogs. The stadium itself is not so special, but that's unfair. I am sure that people were pleased with it when it opened in 1988, but the ever-increasing features at newer ballparks make Security Service Field seem lacking. Perhaps when the park was constructed, it didn't have a suburban subdivision beyond the left-field fence, where Mel and I saw mountains at our four previous games.

"Sox" is a venerable baseball name represented in the major leagues by red and white varieties and, if you go back far enough, the Cincinnati Red Stockings. (The minor leagues seemed to be populated by an entire animal shelter of cats and dogs, including the opposing team.) I always wondered why the Rockies Triple-A affiliate were the Sky Sox and the answer is simple enough; when the local team was in the Class A Western League from 1950 through 1958, it was an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The current franchise started in the visiting team's hometown, Sacramento, where it played from 1903 to 1960 as the Solons, before moving to Honolulu to compete as the Islanders, 1961-1987.

I had planned to complain about how bush-league it was to close all the food concessions in the sixth inning, but that became more understandable when it was announced that the game would conclude at the end of the seventh inning because it was the second game of a double-header. News to us until then. The score was 2-1 in favor of the aquatic felines, and as the Sky Sox got their last licks, Mel and I started rooting for a tie. We'd get nine innings of baseball one way or another. With one out, Kenny Perez hit a fly ball single to center field and advanced to second on Eric Young Jr.'s walk. Christian Colonel was put in the game as a pinch-runner for Perez, and he scored on Mike McCoy's grounder to right. Young and McCoy advanced one base on the throw. Mel and I then started cheering for a double play, but no such luck. Henry Rodriguez threw a pitch behind Matt Miller--now that's a wild pitch--and Young scored from third.

MiLB Reports: Game Recap Box Score

Game over, I dragged Melvin to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Broadmoor hotel. I say "dragged" not because Mel doesn't like FLW, which he does, but because the architect designed the Biltmore Hotel outside of Phoenix. Oops, wrong desert. [Update, May 5, 2011: Wright did not design the Biltmore either.  The architect was Albert Chase McArthur, who studied with Wright for two years.]  The Broadmoor was designed by the Warren & Wetmore. It wasn't such a terrible mistake, since our next stop was relatively close. Magic Town is a 1:6 diorama of city life by sculptor Michael Garman, perhaps wearing Tom Waits's sunglasses. It seemed interesting enough from the examples in his showroom, where shoppers can buy individual figurines, but we balked at the $7.00 admission charge. We went to one last destination but, after a little soul-searching, used the bathroom and headed back to Denver.

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