(Manchester NH) The long ride didn’t seem to bother Binghamton.
The AA Rumble Ponies hosted Erie on Wednesday. A 5 ½ hour trip after the game to Manchester for a Thursday game would impact performance…….you would think.
Didn’t happen that way. The RP’s clobbered the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 11-1. The visitors were rude to every pitcher they faced.
Meanwhile, the heavy hitting home team didn’t even get a hit until the 6th inning off Nabil Crismatt. That hit was a surprise because it took Vladi Guerrero legging out a grounder to deep first to do it. It helped Vladi that Nabil was a little late getting over to cover.
The attraction for the Binghamton team is having Tim Tebow on their roster. I suspect that everywhere Tim goes the crowd reflects it. Tonight was no exception. The weather helped the crowd size, but I’m sure that Tim brought many of them in.
I was at the stadium shortly after 5 for a 6:30 start. There already were lines along the edge of the Binghamton dugout. Granted, they have other good players including #4 Mets prospect Peter Alonso, but the sheer volume suggests Tim’s appeal.
Tim did do a pre-game interview in the dugout with a select group. I saw Tim’s publicist nearby.
I wanted to get Tim warming up and did so from the left-field seats. I thought that I might get him in left field during the game, but he was DHing.
Tim was noticed every time he came to the plate by the crowd. That didn’t go so well because he struck out the first four times. Trust me, he wasn’t cheated, hacking frequently. He had the out-of-the-park swing going. He did hit a long foul to left (he’s a lefty) the first time up.
Tim’s worst at-bat was in Binghamton’s 4-run inning. There had been a string of hits and runs before his appearance with the bases loaded. He promptly K’d and the hitting resumed with the next batter!
Vladi and Bo (Bichette) are still with the Fisher Cats. Both are already showing the hitting/fielding skills to move at least to Buffalo (AAA). Vladi made a nice play to his left on a grounder with a strong throw.
The “non-prospect” Cavan Biggio still looks (to me) to be a next-level possibility. Very smooth in the field.
The defensive play-of-the-game was a leaping catch NH’s Harold Ramirez made in front of the right-field fence.
Peter Alonso was at first for Binghamton. He was selected in the 2nd round in 2016. He can hit and play the position.
Binghamton pitching coach Frank Viola was very interactive with NH fans before the game. I remember him as a Twin.
Weather was pleasant. No jacket required or rain clouds hovering.
Minor league baseball is a great take. Price is low and the closeness to the field is a reality.
I encountered two foul balls during this game. One went over the backstop screen and caromed nearby off the dugout edge. I was trying to take a picture at the time! The other one happened as I was in the NH dugout. This was a hard, low grounder that hit the board below the lower railing in front of me damaging it. My ability to get out of the way of any hit ball is suspect. Maybe I should consider a helmet and/or a mouth guard?
I activated my smallest, fast lens. From the backstop screen the players were within three feet of me. The lighting for the long-range pictures lessened as the night went on. Adjusting (successfully) to it is what separates me from a “real” photographer! I need to study and practice.
Getting to Manchester? Best way from north of Boston is NOT via 93 North. Did that during my first two visits and discovered that stop-and-go is a way of life there. Best way? North on 95 to the Hampton Tolls and then 101 West to 93 and then 293. Took less than an hour both coming and going. Slowest part? Getting over the Merrimack River and into the stadium parking lot.
Thanks again to Tyler Murray for arranging the visit.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)