“[I can see] at last, [I can see] at last,
Thank God almighty [I can see] at last.”
-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., adapted with all due respect
I don’t know if any of you remember, but I did write about this once before. You can go back and read it if you want, as well as the heated debate in the comments section. It was a long time long ago and not-so-far away, just after Dan gave me the keys to the NoiseNation Ferrari, if I recall correctly.
A lot has changed since then, and a lot hasn’t. Dom Brown is still somewhat of an enigma. The fact that he got a hearty round of Boos back in late April when he made his return to Coca Cola Park wasn’t a surprise at all. I didn’t participate, but I thought it gave a nice, “Hey this is our house and you’re a visitor now” vibe to his return. I heard in an interview with Matt Provence, as well as in this LehighValleyLive piece, Dom didn’t mind it at all. He justified it with the quote from Mike Schmidt, “They don’t boo nobodies.” He even enjoyed it a little.
But the fact that he’s been boo’d every single plate appearance since, is a bit difficult to understand. He never really played poorly here (I remember the one really bad game, and a missed catch in a day-game following, but that’s really it.) or gave poor effort, that I could see. He was never difficult with the “traditional” media–nor was he with me or with Jason, who was our beat at the time. I’ve never heard of any real pattern of problem in dealing with the fans, either. So why the animosity? I started to think of the reasons:
- That one bad game was really bad. Look, we’ve lost a lot of games–before and since. And, we were probably on our way to losing that one. It wasn’t really a pattern or a problem, and I don’t really remember him having those tendencies in Philly either. I don’t think he ever thought he was “bigger than the game” or anything like that. Plus, most of the people booing probably weren’t even at that game. If he’s played poorly in the field at times, I think that’s down to ability and skill rather than effort.
- He didn’t do well in Philly. A lot of guys didn’t do well in Philly. We didn’t boo Cody Asche, and he wasn’t always the greatest (Cody is playing well now). Darin Ruf got sent down for poor performance this year, and we’ve loved having him. On this Bisons team, pitcher Chris Leroux was with us last year, and was only adequate. Should we boo him too? Every pitch? And, by the way, Dom Brown did make the All Star Team with the Phillies. Is this what Odubel Herrera has to look forward to, now, if things take a dip south with his stats? And one more thing: As far as I know, Dom has never bad-mouthed the organization or its fans–despite the fact that they yanked him around a bit roster-wise, screwed around with his swing and his stance, and maybe really didn’t put him in the best position to succeed. Maybe.
- But it didn’t work out in Philly, and he was a top prospect. Yeah, but baseball is littered with guys like that. What about Jesus Montero on this same team. He was at the top of the prospect lists as a catcher in the Yankees organization. He used to kill us with the SWB Yankees. He got traded to the Mariners in a high-profile deal, but it didn’t work out in Seattle amid much controversy. He got cut, and now hasn’t been able to make it back to The Show with Toronto as of yet. Should we boo him? Should Scranton? Should Tacoma? In every single at-bat? I don’t think anyone would bother…
- But I recognize his name, and it’s something to do. Now we’re getting warmer. Just as he says, they don’t boo nobodies. And, I know, it’s more fun to participate in the game. At least if you’re booing you’re paying attention to the game and not looking for Poke-Monkeys on your phone. Thursday night, the folks around me boo’d the guy following Dom in the order, too! Why do we hate Casey Kotchman? Because it didn’t work out with the Angels (I’m a bit of an Angels fan, and I remember when he came up. But I’m probably the only one, and I harbor no ill will.)? Because he’s really good defensively at first base? Nope. Because it was something to do, and after booing Dom, it was like, “Hey, we’re booing guys now! This is fun! They should put it on the big board!”
But I think it can stop. Really, who cares? The dude is hitting .232 and hitting 6th in an American League AAA batting order. He’s trying to grind his way back, and it’s not going great right now. Maybe he’ll get there and maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll go overseas. Who knows? I wish him well, as long as it’s not against my IronPigs.
The IronPigs are 16 games above .500 right now, the “highest-water” mark since they ended the 2011 season 16-games up. 2011 was the only year we made the playoffs.
Yesterday’s game was exactly the kind we usually lose. Coming off two big wins, with Adam Morgan trying to regain his delivery and his command, and with a late lineup scratch–just wouldn’t have been surprising if they came out flat. But Morgan battled, and the new-look bullpen came through with the holds and the save. It was a good win. It will be interesting to see if Ben Lively and the bats can carry them today versus an opposing pitcher with minimal AAA experience.
Yeah, I know, despite my unfortunate “incarceration.” But the 1:35PM starts have become de rigueur for the IronPigs in recent years. It’s kind of an MLB thing, and nice for kids and families and those who can’t drive at night to get out to a day game. It’s also nice for a post-game tailgate when we have the chance. Finally, they’ve got to “get away” to Indy following the game.
But it’s hot. The IronPigs have always tried to provide the team with a cooler uniform alternative for Sundays, be it the old vests, or the lighter Wilson pullovers, or now the Majestic Cool-Base in lighter color. The coaches, trainers and players will make sure everyone on the field is properly hydrated, I’m sure. For fans, here’s Dr. Kram’s recipe for beating the heat today:
- Spring for a Club Level Ticket: OK, not always practical, but it does provide some respite from the heat. It’s not perfect, though, I’ve seen fainters, folks trying to walk through the glass wall, and I almost killed our buddy Ed with pre-game Bloody Mary (err, tomato juice) the other year. You still need to use caution. I know one guy who never leaves the club bar regardless of weather–just to be safe.
- Light clothing: The powder blue is OK for today. Or a white T-Shirt. No need to layer up with the jersey on top for us fans today if you don’t want to.
- Sun screen and a hat: And, sunglasses. The rays are harmful four your skin and eyes and you’ll be somewhat trapped out there, so be careful and plan ahead.
- Stay hydrated: Drink some water before you go. Watch your alcohol intake, or limit to Coors Light (kidding, sort of). Keep drinking water during the game even if you’re not really thirsty. Sports drinks are sugary, but today might me one day to splurge on one if you’re up to it.
- Cool cloth: A “rally towel” soaked in cold water for the back of your neck is a neat coping device. You can even swing it around when Dom Brown strikes out, if you want!
- Umbrella? Hey, you just got a new one Friday night! If it doesn’t bother the person behind you, it may provide an extra modicum of shade.
Good luck, stay cool, don’t boo, and I’ll see you at the park…
….as long as I don’t get an 80-game suspension for the amount of steroid in my body right now.