Iowa & Indy Play Cubbies & Indians
After 604 days without a ballgame here, Indianapolis came to town for the first time in almost a quarter century last Tuesday night. The first batter of the too long awaited season homered and baseball was finally back.
Two games in the I-Cubs looked like dead ringers for the C-Cubs. Zero runs to go with a bunch of strikeouts (cuatro by Maybin, the most experienced ex-MLBer on the roster-a dreaded golden sombrero) in the reopener; four homers, including a slam by the latest Cub AA to come through AAA, (Abiatal Avelino, successor to Arismendy Alcantara, Albert Almora and Albert Alzolay) the following night, the much preferred variety of GS.
Crowds quickly dwindled from about 3,500 on Opening Night to half as many on Wednesday and Thursday, but having baseball back is like a civic security blanket. It’s just good to know it’s there.
In G3, holdover manager Marty Pevey, now in his 8th season on this job, was ejected after two batters for daring to question a fair/foul call. He’d barely had time to register his disagreement before he was thumbed. Seriously, ump?
G4 highlights were Kohl Stewart’s line (5/1/1/1/9) and Maybin shaking off the effects of snake venom. Still hitless for the season and having hit into a pair of DPs previously that evening to go with G1’s cap of shame, he swatted a game-tying solo homer in the 8th to snap his 0-15 skein as the I-Cubs eventually prevailed in extras to knot the series at two apiece.
G5 was a washout on Saturday night.
G6 fell on Mother’s Day which dawned dank and raw here but came around nicely by game time. Only because of the Saturday night postponement was this last one of the weeklong series a rubber game. Reclamation project Shelby Miller got the start and set a fine example with three hitless innings marred only by a lone walk against five strikeouts. Tommy Nance did exactly likewise AND drove in the game’s first run with a sac fly. Then Brad Wieck took over and was dazzling, fanning five of the six batters he faced. So Ryan Meisinger entered in the 9th, protecting not only a 2-0 lead, but a no-hitter, too. He walked the leadoff man, then got two outs on hard contact. I figured I knew what was in store when Kevin Kramer stood in as the potential last out. After all, 31 of the previous 53 outs made by I-Injuns were whiffs so what else would you expect from a guy with the initials KK? But no, it took a sliding catch in right by Rafael Ortega to nail down the no-no, much to the relief of Meisinger and the delight of his teammates and the smallish but engaged crowd. It was the first one thrown by the I-Cubs at home since 1984 so I’m glad I got to see it. I hadn’t planned to go, but after our M-Day brunch, my wife wanted to go garden at her Mom’s so I was released on my own recognizance. I brought a gate promo rose home from the ballpark for her which was more appreciated than the no-hit news.
The rookie consortium known as Triple A East is a work in progress. MLB balls in BP, PCL ones in-game (strictly a cosmetic difference, I believe, since Triple A was using balls identical to the big leaguers last time they played in 2019) and a schedule that calls for nothing but six-game series all summer, Tuesdays through Sundays. The whole league gets Mondays off, like barbers.
Maybe they should call the circuit the Sal Magleague.