Taking the Can-Am League for granite: Part Deux
Ever have one of those baseball zen moments? You know... mild beer buzz, sharp green infield, and an exquisite sense of well-being and perfection?
I had my second such moment last night in Nashua, New Hampshire at a Pride / Rox game. Baseball in New Hampshire seems so incongruous and impossible. Kind of like Pawtucket, right? But anyway, the park there (Historic Holman Stadium) is teeny-tiny and stoney gray. One concession stand, one ladies' room, one mini-souvenir shop. But the best part is the long pines that circle the park... when the lights go up, they look so shadowy and patient. Gorgeous.
As I was driving up through Massachusetts, it was so wet and miserable that I very nearly turned around... I didn't see any way a ball game could be played. But right near the New Hampshire line, everything lightened up and it was good to go. Sweet double header action! (Two sevens.)
Believe me: nobody but NOBODY was at that game last night. No wonder they seemed so amused when I called ahead and bought my ticket over the phone. It was so quiet and intimate... I heard all the infield smack, the manager's encouraging words, the ball and strike calls, the bitching, the clatter and crash of a pissed off pitcher throwing shit in the dugout, all of it.
When the first game started, there were maybe 20 people in the stands. I was surprised to see that Butch Hobson was the manager of the Pride. Okay! He still looks athletic and handsome and like a swaggering asshole. His most frequent managerial tactic was yelling, "Fuck 'em!" from the third base box. The Pride won that one, but it was way taut... scoreless through the bottom of the seventh. One run batted in with two outs made it 1-0, Pride. Go, team, go.
Before game two started, the audience (such as it was) was treated to a LIVE! musical performance by the incomparable William Hung. Maybe the less said about that the better? I wonder how he felt about this gig? Neither the sparse crowd nor the soft rain seemed to dampen his limitless enthusiasm. He banged, baby.
The Brockton Rox took game 2 10-4. They led the game off with three batters, three perfect little bunts to load the bases. Nashua seemed kind of baffled by this. The Rox, who are adorable, were tickled by the effectiveness of their bunt-fest. Their manager, Chris Miyake, has a largish chin but is kind of hot and stuff. Shut up! He got kicked out for a ball/strike gripe. It was the first time I'd heard such a rant in crystal-clear Memorex. So dramatic.
At one point, Nashua threw this reliever out there... I swear, he was someone's dad they dragged out of a Bud bar somewhere. Worst pitcher I've ever seen.
Speaking of beer, Holman serves Stella and Red Hook. Very nice!
So today I'm pimping the Can-Am League. Unaffiliated and sincere... and wooden bats! Go Rox!