Today I attended my second Railcats game in as many days. I don’t know if I would have gone, but a free ticket said that I would. I had a seat behind the Railcats bench, but once again the kids were all over the place so I moved to the top of the section. By the middle of the second inning I had seen enough kids walk in front of me for an entire game so I walked out to the outfield terrace. I was going for one of the picnic benches, but the wind was howling out to left so I just hung out on the fence getting cooled off by the wind. The third batter that inning Tanner Townsend pounded a liner that I knew right away had a chance. It came off the screen, and I had my first home run ball! I have been to many games, but never caught a home run ball. Technically I did not catch this one on the fly, but a ball is a ball. This was also the first ball that I have gotten that was in play. I have gotten a couple foul balls this season, but never a fair ball.
Over the next two innings I had three more balls come my way, but I gave them to the kids. For some reason the left fielder Kevin House (pictured above) kept throwing balls up to me. He had kids all over to pick from, but must have liked making me chose who to give a ball to. I reluctantly gave the first ball away that I ran and caught, and Kevin must have seen that. Over the next two innings he tossed up two more balls that I gave away. One of them was to a little girl that was almost in tears that she did not get the first one. I placated her by telling her I would give her the next one I got. If she only knew that I never get baseballs she would have kept crying. Sure enough the next inning a foul ball bounced off the left field wall to Kevin. He grabbed the ball, turned and threw it to me. I gave it to the girl, and she ran away happy.
The game was going good for the Railcats until the 5th when Kevin House (yes the same guy) hit a two run triple. He really smoked the ball to the deepest crook in the park. Anywhere else it would have been a three run homer. After those two runs in the 5th I would not see another run scored for over nine innings. In the bottom of the 13th Jason James made a terrific throw from centerfield on a single to nail Christian Guerrero at the plate for the final out of the inning, and to save the game. The next inning the Railcats were threatening again when Mike Rohde (pictured at the top of the post) smoked a ball between Jason James and Rich Austin for a game ending double. As he was running off the field Austin tossed the game winning ball up to me. This was the longest regular season game in Railcats history, and I have the ball that won the game! My luck has really turned around this season. I went from never having a ball in play to having two in the same game. I also got to see a great Railcat win. This is only their second so far this season so they haven’t been coming easy for them.
So the tally so far this season is six Major League balls (all during bp), one Midwest League ball (foul ball), one Big Ten ball (another foul ball), and two Northern League balls. Not too bad considering that was about my total in the previous 25 years.