Even when I am not trying, I am setting records.
The other night, for example, I went to see a Southern Ohio Copperheads baseball game with my lovely wife and her equally lovely mother, and we had lovely (but not as lovely was my wife and mother-in-law), time at the ballpark.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the Copperheads, they are a summer baseball team based in Athens, Ohio. The team is made up of college all-stars from around the region, and they play in a wooden bat league against teams also filled with college all stars.
Over the last 17 years, a large number of Southern Ohio Copperheads have been drafted by Major League Baseball teams (the team website says “more than dozens” whatever that means), and some have made it to the majors.
I doubt any of them have ever helped to set a record like I did at the game on Saturday night, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
When my son was younger and he would get in free if he wore his youth baseball shirt or the shirt of some other team or organization he was involved with, we would go to the Copperheads games and always have a great time. As he got older and outgrew free tickets, though, life got busier and we stopped going to the games.
So when my wife got some free tickets last week, I was curious about seeing what the games are like now. I was also curious about if she was now part of some baseball team or how we were able to get free tickets, but I didn’t ask. I was focusing on the free.
So on Saturday night, I went with my wife and her mother and checked out the game.
Now this is not an ad for the Copperheads, but the whole atmosphere was tremendous. The stadium was packed with people, the field is beautiful, there were plenty of great seats, everyone was very nice, the organizers were super and the game was fun. Here are a few quick points about the game.
- Baseball games like this move so much more quickly than Major League games, which makes it much more enjoyable. I am still a baseball fan, but the pace of the game in the Major Leagues is too often like waiting on your food in a slow restaurant.
- The pause between pitches in the Majors is way too long, as the batter must always readjust his gloves, tilt his helmet, spit, kick his spikes, spit again, check the base coach, look at the bat, spit towards the base coach, adjust his hands on the bat, look at the bat again and then finally step into the batter’s box where he then waits for the pitcher to go through his whole separate routine that involves his cap, walking around the pitcher’s mound, looking at the ball and much more spitting. Baseball players must be the most OCD people ever, if they really think they need to adjust everything in between each pitch. You just stood there and took a pitch! You don’t need to tighten your gloves again!
- With the Copperheads game, though, the pace is fast and the game is fun to watch. The pitcher throws a pitch, the catcher throws it back and then the pitcher quickly throws another one. Ahhhh. So much better.
- We were amazed at how many batters got hit by pitches at the game we attended. I don’t think this is normal, but it was exciting to see. It also made me remember why I was never good at hitting against any fast pitcher.
- We had great seats where we were very close to the field, in the shade and able to see everything perfectly. With our close seats, my wife noticed how the home plate umpire would put his hand on the catcher’s back when he crouched down before every pitch. We guessed that this was to help keep the umpire steady, but we were not sure, so we pretty much just focused on this for a while. What if he accidentally pushed the catcher over? What if the catcher has a ticklish spot there? I would hate to have someone constantly touching me in the back.
- It’s great to be able to catch foul balls and then take them home, and at games like this you have a decent chance of catching a foul. I am usually hoping a foul ball gets hit near me because it would be cool to catch one, but at the same time I am also hoping none get hit near me because it would be embarrassing to miss one and it would hurt to get hit by one.
- We got to see a lefty sidearm pitcher close up, and it was really cool. The Copperheads got some hits off of him, which was even better. I would be scared to death to stand in against a lefty sidearm pitcher, because I think it would look like the ball would be coming right at me. Granted, I am also afraid of/excited by foul balls, so others may feel differently.
- One player broke a bat over his knee. The bat cracked on a foul ball (which was luckily/unluckily not hit toward us) and then he just snapped the bat in half by breaking it on his leg in frustration. It was awesome.
- I saw a player look like he was going to get from home to second on a walk. He got walked on a wild pitch, so he sprinted to first and considered going on to second. I didn’t even know he could do that. I am not sure if it would be a walk and a steal or a two-base wild pitch (if that’s even a thing), but it was pretty cool.
- My wife actually bought us some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. I didn’t care if I ever went back, but I did care that there were not many peanuts in the Cracker Jacks and that I spent a good half inning trying to free the popcorn pieces that were stuck in my teeth.
- The fireworks after the game were unbelievable.
- The game was a big win for the team, and the Copperheads play a playoff game on Tuesday, Aug. 1 in Athens. If you are in Athens on Aug. 1, it’s a great night to catch a playoff game either at the big Copperheads game or at the Avalanche Pizza coed rec softball game down at the city ball fields. We are also expecting a record crowd for our game.
- The crowd was a nice mix of people and most of the fans were into the game. With an announced attendance of 2,071, it was the largest crowd ever to see a Copperheads game in Athens, and I helped to set the record for the team. My guess is that they would have probably just tied the record if I had not attended, so I played a key role. They will probably want to put up a plaque or something in my honor eventually.
- Finally, going to the game was just a fun way to spend time with family, enjoy a nice summer evening and support a local team. I have no idea why I waited so long to get back to a game, but you can be sure I’ll be going to more games next season. I just hope my mother-in-law goes with us again so that she can protect me from any foul balls that get hit near us.