The Rock Cats' homestand is magical. First a walkoff 1-0 extra-inning win against Erie. Now beating the Akron Aeros with their gaudy record twice in two nights before over 16,000 people at the Emerald. Wow!
To show you how much the Eastern League has changed in my lifetime, the Cats surpassed the entire season's attendance for the Thetford Mines (Canada) club where the Pirates had their affiliate back in 1975 in just two nights. Let's examine why.
Teams have dressed up the product with lots of entertainment, something I didn't care for as an EL administrator (1981-88), but nonetheless a very attractive addition to the ballgames. For instance, the Rock Cats regaled fans on Saturday with a pregame polka band followed by Dancing Christopher doing a Michael Jackson tribute.
Then there's the economic factor. Who can afford going to New York or Boston more than once or twice a season? They'll avoid lots of hassles and spend lots less cash in New Britain. Plus, the Cats are playing terrific baseball under manager Tom Nieto, pitching coach Stu Cliburn and hitting coach Floyd Rayford. ...
Last night after game, I ran into the DUI checkpoint on Rte. 177 in Plainville for the second time. The policeman pokes his head in and asks if I'd been drinking. I rarely drink, and when I do, it's usually moderately and at home. I cruised through after waiting in line for less than 10 minutes.
I thought about the inconvenience but you know what? I think it's great what they're doing. Who knows how many lives they may be saving by pulling drunks off the road. I know that people under the influence are likely to think twice when they go through Plainville. I like it. ...
I've been "tweeting" lately and quite honestly, I don't see much value in it. Heck, they only give you 144 characters to speak your mind. My friends and readers know that isn't nearly enough for an opinionated yakker like me. ...
I'm working on a story about popular Connecticut broadcast journalist Joe D'Ambrosio.
Joe D has been doing the games with Jeff Dooley all season and he's discovered how enthralling Eastern League baseball can be. He's having a great time and does a great job, supporting Dooley's play-by-play with vignettes that he unearths with his meticulous preparation.
I've learned a lot listening to him and talking sports with him all season. I particularly enjoy the interview I do with him before every Sunday home game. I think it's a good "listen" because we're both opinionated and don't always agree. How could we? He's a Yankee fan.
But that doesn't mean I'm a Red Sox fan. No, no, no. I like rooting for the underdogs, teams that can't go out and grab an Alex Gonzalez from Cincinnati and a Victor Martinez from Cleveland with their unlimited bank account. Buying players to fill holes late in the season doesn't impress me. Teams that throw around that kind of money should win. Shame on 'em if they don't.
Come out and see the Cats!