Railcats Start the Season Off With a Bang

Fireworks over the Steel Yard after the game last night

Last night I attended Opening Night at the Steelyard. For some reason I was in no rush to get to the park. After seeing an exhibition game with around ten people earlier in the year I did not think I had to worry about a crowd. I arrived at the park about 20 minutes before the start of the game, and was shocked at the crowd. My normal parking lot was full as well as one of the first overflow lots. They were actually parking us down the street. A two block walk in most cities isn’t bad, but you could tell the fans did not like it in Gary. At the ticket window I was greeting with more long lines. I missed the pregame introductions as well as the first half inning. I found my seat on the first base line just as Gary was coming to bat.

Mike Massaro knocking in a run with a SAC fly last night

It really was a good game last night. Fargo scored first, but Gary came back to tie the game on a Brad Boyer home run. Mike Massaro drove in the second run for Gary which tied the game at two. Boyer struck again in the seventh when his single brought in the winning run. As the season started the Railcats traded away super utility man Louis Ott. Part of that deal for Gary was the fact that without getting a player back they could activate someone off of the inactive list. Boyer was the player that was brought onto the team. He responded right away at home by having a good game. His home run was first by a Railcat this season. Off the bat it looked gone, but the line drive just needed a little height. He had just enough as it landed about four rows deep in the right field seats.

After the game the Railcats had a special treat for the fans. Ted “the Burning Man” Batchelor was on hand to entertain the crowd before the fireworks started. He entertains in a special way. He lights himself on fire and runs the bases. I was actually pretty excited to see this. I thought that it would really be something. For some reason though reality did not meet my expectations. Maybe it was the ease of which he ran around that made it hard to really enjoy. I think if he ran around flailing theatrically it might have added to the tension. As it was he just ran with his hands in the air like a goon. I guess I should be happy I saw a man on fire that didn’t get hurt. It was pretty impressive. I tried to get a couple good pictures of the event, but I was not sure about camera settings. They shut the lights off just as he was lit so I had no time to prepare. I had to just guess, and luckily I was in the ballpark. Here are a couple pictures of “the Burning Man” at work.

"the Burning Man" running to first

A little more accelerant added at second base

Ted sliding into home. He had to be safe because who would stick around to tag him?

The fireworks show after the game was not bad either. I usually use the fireworks to get away from the stadium and beat the crowd. Last night I stuck around to try some things with my camera. Since I came late I did not keep score, and spent some time trying some things out with my camera. Not everything worked out, but I had to attempt a few things. For some reason the light seems lower at the Steelyard than a lot of parks I go to. My camera does not go above a 1600 ISO setting so I have to either take dark pictures or blurry ones. I tried to find a happy medium. Here are  few shots that did not make the body of this post:

Former Boilermaker Mike Coles hits a line drive that went just over my head

Former Cub prospect Nic Jackson hitting a SAC fly

Jackson again. This time hitting a ball foul although it appears he just swung way too early

Either Mike Valadez and Mike Massaro are pretending to be E.T. or they are celebrating the win

After feeling awkward last time at the Steelyard it was nice to enjoy a game with some fans. The only thing is that I need to beat them to the park. I don’t like parking so far away here. I am guessing that the nice day combined with opening night had something to do with the crowd. I saw a lot of vouchers at the ticket window as well. I assume that the crowds will thin out for a while until the weather really starts to improve. It was pretty cold at the end fo the night. If you like Star Wars tonight is the night for you at the Steelyard. It is Sci-Fi night. They have a bunch of people dressed up like Star Wars characters that will be patrolling the ballpark. It is also fleece blanket night so there is something for everyone. So head on out to the park, but leave a little early if you do.

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