I got my first opportunity of the season to see an Independent game last night, with a couple of reminders very quickly.
One was the power of a bargain. It was an exceedingly pleasant evening for late April in Connecticut, but even then it was a Tuesday night. With school still in session, I thought I could arrive at the last minute, walk up to a ticket window, put down a few dollars and be in my seat at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport in a matter of minutes.
A promotion included many fans getting vouchers for a free loge seat, but they had to exchange it for an actual reserved seat before entering the stadium. Four lines were not enough, so those of us who did not plan properly missed the first inning before being rescued by an employee who came on the scene with a handful of tickets to speed up the exchange.
I must say, it was good to see that many people coming to enjoy the Atlantic League game between the Bluefish and visiting Camden, NJ, especially since Bridgeport attendance has been dropping off in recent seasons. One can hope the new Frank Boulton-led regime will be able to turn the trend around.
Once inside, the game moved at a good pace, even when Joe Ferguson's Riversharks took command of Tommy John's home team. I hope everyone in the crowd realized these are two very good baseball names.
My second reminder was how much fun it was to see the ball jumping off the bat. Val Majewski, who had a Houston Astros Triple-A roster spot as recently as this spring, blasted a long home run to right. The ball took off, and appeared to still have considerable life when it disappeared into the darkness. Not a typical home run by any stretch.
Former major league infielder Junior Spivey also had the ball jump off his right-handed bat. It stayed in the park, but rattled to the fence, in impressive fashion. Spivey had opened his season with a 4-for-5 game two days earlier. He also got an clever out from shortstop by charging a bouncer and throwing across his body to first. Why hadn't the New York Mets kept him in their system this spring, I wondered.
The designated hitters, Vito Chiaravolloti of Camden and Bridgeport's Jay Caligiuri, took their turns at making the ball jump.
I took these pleasant thoughts away from the lopsided game, keeping my interest. But then every baseball game interests me for one reason or another.