|PENMANSHIP NEVER WAS MY BEST SUBJECT; NOTE THE STAR|
ON ZOBRIST'S FLYOUT IN THE 8TH: STANTON ROBBED HIM OF EXTRA BASES.
|SHIELD'S WAS A SCOREKEEPER'S (AND RAYS FAN'S) DELIGHT |
FOR THE FIRST FIVE INNINGS; HUGE K OF STANTON IN 6TH
WITH 2 ON AND FULL COUNT TO END THE THREAT.
My wife and I went to the Rays-Marlins game at Marlins Park, and our Rays completed a Citrus Series three-game sweep. The only shit we got from Marlins fans came from their dogs: It was Bark at the Park Day, which added more than 400 canines to the announced crowd of 31,111. Actually, they were well-behaved. And so were their owners.
Our seats were to die for, about a 4-to-3 throw from first-base coach George Hendrick's spot on the field. The park truly is spectacular. The last game we saw was 11 years ago, an Orioles-Marlins tilt. Cal Ripken Jr. had announced he would retire at season's end and was honored beforehand. By that time, I had detached from the sport, but I wanted to see Junior one last time, even if it meant going to Baseball Purgatory Stadium, also known as Joe Robbie Stadium.
|BIG GAME JAMES IN MINI-CARD FORM.|
Keeping score keeps your head in the game. The new stadiums have plenty to distract you from the actual game, so fiddling with a scoresheet reaffirms you're there for action between the white lines. Besides, it's like digging up a time capsule if you find it 20 years later. One distraction I always love, besides barking dogs, is the ballpark multiple-choice trivia question, but Sunday's was a layup: Who was the only player to win the MVP Award in both leagues? (Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Robinson or Hank Aaron.) I could answer that while at the same time furrowing my brow and fretting over how to best mark "catcher's indifference'' on a steal attempt.
|JOYCE'S JACK BEGAN A 3-RUN 4TH INNING.|
I hated the modern game for more than a decade, feeling jilted by the labor strife, performance-enhancing drugs and stupid changes to an already-perfect game. But it's really still the same game at its core. And I'm glad I've made peace and it's back in my life.