Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Four-Fifths of a Grand Junction

First pitch, through the net, at Grand Junction, 8/9/15
These trips are conditioned by luck in countless ways. The team schedules have to work right. Our schedules at work have to cooperate. The weather has to be nice, or at least nonfatal to playing baseball on the day we pass through. We have to make it to each stadium on time. And so on.

We're finally on the trip that I don't think we were ever sure we would take—seeing all the Montana teams—and stop number one is the team we have long said would be the hardest to get to: the Grand Junction Rockies. Astute geographers will note that Grand Junction is not one of the Montana teams. Indeed, it's a good (and it was good) 600 miles from Billings. Still, when in the West....

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Rain at Kane Falls Mainly on the Tarp

Someday, someway, baby, they'll play baseball here.
Watson and I always like to make it out to Kane County each year, and today was the anniversary of the last time we went. Decent food, a good array of beers, and pervious pavement, what more could you want?

Well, you could want for it not to rain, but it did, fiercely, in the middle of the fourth. Happily, the grounds crew was on the case, and they got the tarp on the field and the people out of the stands before the rain hit or anything tragic happened, which is more than you can say for a fair in an adjoining county

An hour after play was halted, they were back at it. Cougars starter Brad Keller—a huge kid (he just turned twenty) with a terrific fastball and dubious command—was supplanted by novelist and onetime newspaper preservationist Nicholson Baker, who... oh, no, that wasn't the author of The Mezzanine but a guy who wasn't even born when it was published. This Baker has a good record this year but less upside than Keller—when you're 23 and still at Low-A, you might want to at least keep a weather eye on the local educational offerings

We're dealing with a small sample size, of course, but Kane County seemed to be suffering from its dissociation over the off-season from the Chicago Cubs, who moved their Midwest League affiliation to South Bend. The SB Cubs set a local record for ticket sales in the spring, and big development plans around the stadium are now afoot. Meanwhile, the now-Arizona-affiliated Cougars had not even a half-full house on a mostly beautiful summer Sunday—you can't blame the rain for everything.