As part of Mrs. G’s VIB Blogger Series, we were invited to see the Trenton Thunder play the Erie SeaWolves at Waterfront Park in Trenton, NJ on May 26, 2010. But here’s the best part; we were invited as Press. I’ve always had a love affair with the press, the press box and newspapers. I know, I know, newspapers are a dying business, but they’ve been saying that since the newspaper industry has had to compete with first radio, then television, and now the Internet.
Now don’t get me wrong, the newspaper business model needs to improve overall, but for one big night, I was the press. It took everything in me not to wear a suit and hat and have a cigar in my mouth and a notepad in my hand. I brought my typewriter of the day, my iBook, and headed to the ballpark early. I would have gotten there in the afternoon if they had let me.
When we arrived, I was reserved a front row seat in the press box! This was going to be a great night. Some of the regular beat writers were already there and not sure what to make of us VIBs, but they made us feel at home. I think because they got extra-special food that night. The catering stepped it up and put out a great spread for the press box. The food was what they usually put out in the private boxes. It included everything from your traditional ballpark fare to cheese steaks and ribs. Great eats for everyone, now it’s time for the game!
The SeaWolves got off to an early lead in the top of the first with a home run by left fielder Wilkin Ramirez. Ramirez went 3-4 with three home runs that night. Even with three home runs, he wasn’t the star of the game, as we will see later on. The Thunder struck back quickly in the bottom of the second with 4 runs.
After the crowd, and us VIBers, did our fifth-inning fist pumps; Brandon Laird, third baseman for the Thunder, hit a triple to start the bottom of the fifth. Laird scored after Daniel Brewer hit a sacrifice fly to right field, giving the Thunder a 5-1 lead. With a comfortable lead, most of the VIBs felt the night was over and started to head out, as well as some of the crowd. But as I learned as a child from one of the greats, It ain’t over till it’s over.
In the top of the eight, the SeaWolves tied it up and the Thunder couldn’t break ahead in the bottom of the inning. I was getting very excited, because what true baseball fan doesn’t like free baseball (extra innings). Especially since I was sitting in the Press Box. It was like the baseball gods wanted to keep me there. I told my wife, we are not leaving until the game is over. She said, “Well, when will it be over?” My response of course was, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
The ninth inning began and the SeaWolves turned a single by shortstop Cale Iorg into a run making it 6-5 Erie.
So here we are, bottom of the ninth, two out, runner on first, and Brandon Laird, at the plate. Everyone has been talking about this kid, that he is such a great prospect, he is young, and he has great talent. All Laird needs tonight is a home run to hit for the cycle. Brandon Laird hit a 3-1 fastball over the fence for a walk-off home run and to complete the cycle. Amazing end to an amazing night!
One thing that kinda got lost in the shuffle was Thunder pitcher DJ Mitchell’s quality outing; he struck out a career-high nine batters in six innings, throwing 99 pitches, 60 of them were for strikes.
The baseball gods were definitely smiling on me this evening as this game had everything you could possibly want in a game. It took everything for me to contain myself in the press box, because we have to have a professional attitude while in there, but man was it a blast to see the Thunder win from the best seat in the house.
**I would like to give a special thanks to Debbie Schaeffer, owner of Mrs. G’s and Trenton Thunder for putting together a wonderful event for the VIB Blogger Series! **