Friday, July 24, 2009

Orem Owlz 5, Idaho Falls Chukars 1 -- Friday, July 24, 2009

I used to be something of a snob about minor league baseball. The first two minor league teams I saw were the Binghamton and Pittsfield Mets, but they are/were affiliates of the major league franchise I root for. And if a team was geographically close, like the Newark Bears, then I wasn't so focused on the level of play. But in general, I have wanted to watch the best baseball I could, Triple- or Double-A. Melvin has been more ecumenical, even being a big fan of independent baseball, and he has made me less of a snob. However, after seeing three of the four teams in the Southern Division of the rookie-level Pioneer Leagues--Idaho Falls, Ogden and Orem--Mel is starting to jones for some better ball.

Tonight's game wasn't as sloppy as the Hawks-Volcanos game we saw, but it was sloppier than the four errors that will appear in the box score. Most of the scoring occurred in the bottom of the fourth when some Owl got the team on the board with a solid home run. (I would tell you who, but the team was wearing camouflage jerseys and I couldn't read the number. The Utah National Guard was being honored at the game and the camo' jerseys were to be auctioned off at the end of the game. This is a fairly common game promotion and when I attended a similar event in Auburn, New York, a Blackhawk helicopter landed in the outfield to considerable cheering.) Then, with two outs, Owlz (sic) hit a double, single, double and a triple and it was four-nothing. By the way, given the team name, fans cheer, "whoo, whoo," when something good happens.

The Owlz tacked on another run in the fifth when the Chukars pitcher picked up a softly hit ball on the field, rather than letting it roll foul. Based on his gestures, he evidently thought the ball had first hit in foul territory but instead of arguing the point with the umpire, he should have thrown the ball somewhere. By the time he turned to throw the ball to first, it was too late, and the Owl on second smartly ran all the way home during the argument, which was not covered because the catcher had joined in the discussion with the umpire. Argue the play after it is over, guys. This is the kind of stuff that has Mel ready for some higher level baseball. Jordan Parraz, on a rehab assignment from the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals, hit a double and scored in the top of the ninth to let the Chukars avoid a shut-out.

When the team "dragged" (smoothed out) the infield dirt, it had three of the traditional groundskeepers and one who rode a lawn tractor with one lucky child on his lap. That was a new and nice twist on the mid-game chore. The previous night, in Ogden, the groundskeepers dressed in bad wigs and frumpy women's clothing. "They're drag queens," Mr. I-need-three-seats explained to me, as if I couldn't figure out a pun on my own. "They're faggots," some wit behind us announced. I don't know a whole lot about transvestites, but my guess would be that most cross-dressers are heterosexual. Mel was right; I am ready for another state. I did enjoy the pancake breakfast and parade this morning.

After the Portland Beavers game I wrote, "Beer and baseball have always gone hand-in-hand." Not at Brent & Kim Brown Ballpark. That's a first for Melvin and me, although not altogether surprising since we are in Orem, Utah. We got a six at a Sinclair gas station after the game.

1 comment:

  1. New Yorker out west

    On a mustang (with four doors)

    Snatching a fly ball.

    Happy birthday, Rob!