Monday night in Bowie was a special night for several reasons. The main one being that J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty would simultaneously start their rehab assignments to get back with the big league club. On a more personal level, thanks to my great editor Zach Wilt, I was able to get a guest press pass for the first time in my writing/blogging “career”. I got to sit in the press box and observe the game from the best seat in the house. More on that a little later because more important stuff happened tonight.
The Bowie Baysox welcomed in the Akron Rubber Ducks (yeah, what a great name!) to open up a four game series, starting tonight. The big news obviously surrounding tonight’s game was the beginning of rehab assignments for the Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy and utility man Ryan Flaherty.
Hardy on the night went 2-4 with a single and a double with that double being a hard line drive to the outfield wall. Flaherty went 1-4 with a double that was also smoked to the outfield wall. Both made several plays in the infield including grounders and one popup each. Both had some nice plays; Flaherty when the ball came off of Branden Kline’s glove, fielded by the second baseman and still able to get the out at first. For Hardy, an awkward bouncing ball that took a spike up just as he went to field it, which is pretty routine for him.
Both players showed encouraging signs tonight with no errors made in the field and with both reaching base. Hardy saw 14 pitches, including his two outs and Flaherty saw 11, including his three outs which can also be encouraging with the Orioles new patience method under Scott Coolbaugh.
As for the rest of the Baysox, starter Branden Kline went 7 innings, allowing two hits, walking four but not recording a strikeout. He was relieved by lefty Ashur Tolliver who pitched two innings allowing three hits, 2 walks and striking out one. Brandon Snyder hit a home run in the 2nd inning off of the Rubber Ducks’ starter Ryan Merritt. In the 4th inning, Jason Esposito followed with his own homer off Merritt.
RBI hits from David Freitas and Mike Yastrzemski gave Bowie a 6-0 lead after 6 innings. In the following inning, a J.J. Hardy double would score Ryan Flaherty and then be followed by a Jason Esposito RBI single, scoring Hardy. The Baysox would win 8-0 which came with great timely hitting and a good pitching performance.
Quick note about tomorrow’s game between these two: Dylan Bundy will be starting for Bowie, if anybody is interested in seeing one of the MLB’s top pitching prospect.
And now, for what my night was like. I got to the ballpark around 4 p.m. to give myself enough time to get a seat in the press box for the game, since I had never sat in there before. After going into their offices to get my pass, I was off into the stadium to begin my night.
This was slowly becoming an introvert’s nightmare: being in an enclosed space with people you have never met before. I think I spoke maybe 5 words tonight, and that is stretching it. If you know anything about me personally, that is just how I function. When it comes to personal interaction, I am a very enclosed person who likes to keep to themselves. Maybe that is why I like to write so much and express my opinion in a public form online, who knows!
Anyway, while my ego is still big from the whole situation, I see guys like Steve Melewski and Peter Schmuck walk into the press box. I didn’t talk to either that night, which I am regretting now, but both were nice guys with Peter throwing me a smile every now and then, as if he could tell I was new to all of this. Nonetheless, both of those guys are great writers and even better people.
As the game went along, things seem to get down to just strictly business in the press box. Ahh, my seventh heaven, no talking. Yeah, I know, I’m weird. With a game that lasted under two hours and 30 minutes (two hours and 20 to be exact), it made time pass by even faster.
None of this was negative, though as much as it sounds in my writing, it was an amazing experience. This is something I have thought of doing for a career for a few years now and I notice the kind of dedication the people who do it everyday put into it and it makes me respect their work even more.
I sure hope I will be able to cover another Baysox game this season for Baltimore Sports Report, because this was a great experience. Hell, maybe I will hold a conversation with someone next time!