Note: this post is picture-intensive
This afternoon, I made the trip down to Columbus to watch the Clippers. The game began at 5, early enough to remain light, but late enough for the sun to set behind the park and shade the seating bowl. It was a beautiful, if hot, evening for baseball.
Upon parking a block away from the stadium, I was first greeted by the train derailment at Neil Ave.
The train created a convenient metaphor for the 2009 Indians season. Above, we see Mark Shapiro, after putting on a few pounds consoling himself with ice cream, mourning over the team's fate. Below, Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee's future years with the Tribe spill away into the abyss.
I hadn't looked up the Clippers probables before leaving, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Carlos Carrasco on the mound.
He was his projectable self, pitching well into the 8th. He allowed only seven baserunners and struck out six. According to the stadium radar gun, he hit 95 MPH in that final inning. Yes, we should be more excited about this guy.
Matt LaPorta had an off day, going 0-4, and looked magnificent doing so.
Josh Barfield played a mean left field and went 2-3 with two doubles and a run. Most importantly, he had a sac bunt.
After the second inning, I popped over to introduce myself to BuckeyeBrad. Happy birthday, dude, since I forgot to tell you in person. To the rest of you LGTers in attendence, I'm sorry I missed you.
Lou Marson went 2-3 with two runs and a BB. It was fantastic to watch him catch Carrasco and know that same battery will be in Cleveland next year.
One of the highlights of the game was minor-league journeyman Robert Tanois Taggert "Uncle Tagg" Bozied, seen here rounding third. His RBI single in the 4th inning, and subsequent run scored, were loudly cheered by his five-year old niece, sitting several rows behind me. Cheered just as loud were his three other, less fruitful, plate appearances.
I learned that there is a Sugerdale Hot Dog Derby in Columbus, too. These hot dogs are not nearly as anthopormophized, and sprint only down the right field foul line. None of them displayed the talent needed to make it to the bigs, but they were competitive nonetheless.
When it became apparent that Carrasco would not throw the complete game that I had been cheering for, I switched my desire to witnessing the magic that is R.J. Swindle. Instead, I was treated to Greg Aquino, which was actually rather enjoyable. He picked up his 13th save on the year for the Clippers.
The Clippers won the game, 4-2. I savored everything I saw - from the hero of the game, Stephen Head, of whom I took nary a picture, to Joe Charboneau*, whom I glimpsed for a few fleeting seconds leaving the Fantasy Camp game before the real game began. Huntington Park was a wonder to behold. Even if the team had no LaPortas or Carrascos or Rondons or Brantleys to offer, the stadium itself will make a trip worthwhile. I defer to the recent Fan Shots on the park for explanation - my own pictures of the stadium cannot hold a candle to them.
Returning to my car after the game, I saw a rare sight indeed - a flying hopper car. I leave it to you to determine the metaphorical significance of Cliff Lee (or Victor Martinez) being lifted away from the rails by crane.
All told, it was one of the most peaceful and enjoyable evenings I have had all summer. It was baseball, and it was beautiful.
* I sat on his lap during an autograph session at a mall when I was three. Now you feel old.