I would rather being enjoying some dinner right now, but I was able to connect to the hotel wireless for the first time since we arrived on Thursday…Sooooo, it’s time to blog. This afternoon the Tribe was one out away from becoming the 10th team no hit by the Pawtucket Red Sox. Baseball is a crazy game. The Indians won the first three games of the series by outscoring the Paw Sox 24-15 and pounding out 41 hits. The Tribe was as dominating in those games then at any point this season. They always say you are only as good as today’s starting pitchers and this afternoon the crowd was treated to a show. Paw Sox starter Michael Bowden (5IP, 4BB, 5K) lived up to his #2 prospect label and Indians righty Eric Hacker (7IP, ER, 6H, 6K) pitched his best game since joining the team in mid-May.
Bowden was lifted after the 5th (pitch count) removing the normal suspense you have from a potential no-hitter. The crowd started to get behind the Paw Sox pitchers in the 7th inning when LHP Javy Lopez set down the Indians in order and the reality that the Tribe would suffer a no-hitter really hit home when he did the same in the 8th inning. After the Indians batted in the top of the 8th inning I made my way down to the field for the post game interview and made a point to watch the crowd. They were really buzzing while in the bullpen the Paw Sox All-Star closer was warming up. Lopez started the 9th inning and retired Brian Myrow…one out. Ron Johnson then summoned Fernando Cabrera from the ‘pen and he promptly got Steve Pearce to fly out to right field…two outs. So, it was up to Larry Broadway and 8,172 fans all wanting him to fail. Cabrera missed on the first pitch and on the next offering Broadway hit a groundball up the middle just past the Pawtucket SS for the Indians first hit. The crowd was bummed, but quickly put together a nice ovation, but the real celebration was in the Indians dugout. Every player jumped up and started to clap with a few exchanging high fives. Things got interesting when Tagg Bozied hit a two run home run, but that would be all the Indians would muster losing this afternoon 3-2. This was an exciting series and we’ll see if the Indians continue their hitting tomorrow night when they begin an 8 game homestand.
It was almost another historic game at McCoy Stadium. This is the oldest stadium in the IL and was renovated in 1998.
This is a picture from the walkway along the third base line. The unique feature of McCoy is the dugouts are embedded into the wall underneath the grandstands.
Over the decades the fans in the area have fished for autographs. The kids will put baseballs and Sharpie’s in a bucket and when the players walk by they will sign the ball and drop it in the bucket for the next guy. The Indians have a few buckets hanging into their dugout along with a few baseball card books and each player signed his card and they always signed the balls.
I have always enjoyed this park because of the crowds and all the history here. The most famous game in McCoy Stadium history started back on April 18, 1981 and 33 innings later was completed on June 23. For 20 innings the Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings played to a 1-1 tie until Rochester took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 21st. The Paw Sox tied it in the bottom of the 21st and they would play on until 4:07 am. The game was suspended after 32 innings. Nineteen fans remained in the stands when the game was called after 4 am and every one of them received lifetime passes to McCoy Stadium. When the game resumed in June it took all of 18 minutes to complete when the Sox scored in the bottom of the 33rd inning. The great note from the game is two future Hall of Fame players started the game. 3B Wade Boggs was playing for Pawtucket and Cal Ripken Jr. was playing for Rochester. It’s the longest game in professional baseball history.
Today Pawtucket was one out away from their 10th no-no and first since Bronson Arroyo tossed a perfect game vs. Buffalo back on August 10 of 2003. I’m glad it didn’t happen.
One final quick note, I spent a few minutes with former Pirates GM Dave Littlefield on Saturday night. He has been working the past two seasons with the Chicago Cubs and works the Northeast. RHP Brad Lincoln was starting for the Indians and back in 2006 he was selected by Littlefield with the Pirates first round pick. I asked him if he was responsible for Lincoln and he smiled telling me “not since I got fired.” He is doing fine and still lives in the Pittsburgh area.
The Indians are flying home tomorrow and if I don’t see you at Victory Field, tune in for first pitch at 7:00.