Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Game Delayed By...Fireworks?

Last night I went to my third Brooklyn Cyclones game of the 2007 season. The team is having a fabulous season, and they have the best record of any team in the New York-Penn League. The season is about at its midway point. The Cyclones are the Mets Rookie "A" team, and they play a 76-game schedule.

Last night they hosted the Vermont Lake Monsters, the Washington Nationals' affiliate. (They used to be called the Expos, but when the big club left Montreal, they changed the team name to "Lake Monsters." Who thought that one up?) It was a very good, well-played game. It was scoreless through nine innings.

Vermont loaded the bases in the tenth, and got the game's first run with two outs on a walk with a 3-2 count. The game stayed 1-0 when the Cyclones took their turn in the 10th. Then a really scary moment happened. I had a seat behind home plate, and could see and hear very clearly Cyclones second baseman J.R. Voyles get hit squarely in the head with a pitch that got away. He laid down on the ground for five minutes while medical personnel put him on a stretcher and took him to the hospital. I certainly wish him all the best and a speedy return to the Cyclones lineup.

While the medical people worked on the injured Voyles, fireworks began going off in the background, beyond centerfield. The PA announcer said that the Cyclones had no control over when the fireworks go off (on Friday nights during the summer, fireworks are shot off from one of the piers). Not only were the fireworks really loud, they created a smoke condition, and it totally covered the ballpark. I felt like I was at that Red Sox-Indians game from the late 1980s that eventually got called because of fog in Cleveland. (It was the one that Oil Can Boyd once famously said, "That's what happens when you build a stadium on the ocean.") The umpires had to halt the game, and it was delayed for 25 minutes.

Finally the fireworks subsided, and the game resumed. Vermont got the final three outs for a 1-0 victory. I've seen games delayed in my life for various reasons: rain, snow, hail, fog, lightning, power outages, things like that. It's the first time I've seen a baseball game delayed for fireworks. (And it was the only fireworks I saw all night, on or off the field.) I think the Cyclones should avoid that situation in the future. Either make a deal with those people running that show, or start their Friday night games earlier.

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