“Walk offs” are one of my favorite things. If I were to make a list of the things I like most about attending a baseball game, the possibility of a walk-off would easily be in the top 10–perhaps top 3. I guess I don’t like them so much when I’m watching an “away” game on TV…
Junior and I made our way to Reading last night to meet up with our new friend 1B/DH Brock Stassi. We said hello briefly and then the game was underway. The Fightins posted a couple runs in the first few innings, and before you knew it, they had staked lefty starter Hoby Milner to a 4-0 lead. I decided to take a walk. In the dozens of times that I’ve been to FirstEnergy in Reading, I’ve never explored much–just hang in the plaza and go to my seat, usually. I wandered out to the deck in left field. They have a highly-regarded buffet out there, and a nice bar. There are drink rails a-plenty and a picnic area. There are some nice little private tables and seats you can buy as well, I think, and a boardwalk that runs just above the left field wall. It’s really nicely done. There’s a group area or two out there, too, which were not in use last night.
Soon after I got out there, I noticed the bases were loaded. As I began a discussion with the bartender, I sensed everyone was looking up. Sure enough, Trenton DH Peter O’Brien had hit a grand slam over the entire deck and bar area, and out of the park. Right over our heads. At 4-4, I decided I’d better get back to my seat!
The Fightin’s inched ahead, and despite a Trenton solo homer clung to a 1-run lead after the bottom of the Eighth. It was getting a bit chilly, Junior was tired, and we faced a longer-than-normal drive home. We decided to catch the end of the game listening to Mikey V on the radio.
Trenton had tied it as we made our way to the car. By the time we returned to the Lehigh Valley, the game was still going on in extra innings. We were forced to switch to the internet-based radio feed once we exceeded the reach of Mikey’s signal. I was home, and following on my phone while letting the dogs out when I saw:
“In Play. Run(s).”
Cameron Perkins had hit the walk off. And it was the best kind! A walk-off home run! I was happy for Perkins and the Fightins. It’s been discussed on many-a blog and podcast, Perkins needs to develop power–especially in a launching pad like Reading–in order to move up to the next level. We even discussed it in the car on the way down: The doubles machine needs to show a little pop, then we’ll have him in Allentown.
Also in the win: Ogando (another 97-99 mph guy) and Knigge had pitched well. Almost everyone had a hit. Great game for the home team! I’m just sorry we missed seeing it!
Soon after, my phone alerted me to a similar result in Philadelphia courtesy of ex-Reading Phillie Ryan Howard! I really need to put down the phone and turn on my TV, you know? I was sad to have not witnessed both “live”–in person in the Reading case. But, just as happy that both teams got much-needed wins.
In Norfolk it was another story. Starter Brad Lincoln didn’t have the good stuff. He got through the first inning facing the minimum, but then batting practice began. He gave up 6ER on 7 hits against only one out in the second before giving way to returnee Hector Neris. Neris gave up three runs of his own over the next couple innings, as did Jeremy Horst after him. Ethan Martin pitched two scoreless to close it out, and Cameron Rupp and Tyson Gillies added late homers. But, it was too late as the Pigs dropped one, 12-4. Just a bad night, I hope, and not a sign of injury or problem.
The Pigs are ready to play again today as we go to “press.” Then, off to Durham for four. Here’s a rainbow from the last home stand. I hope that it cheers up the IronPigs Faithful after yesterday’s game.
See you at the park,