I grew up playing baseball and thought I knew just about all I needed to know about the game.
At least until last weekend, when I attended my first Myrtle Beach Pelicans game in about three years and felt, for most of the game, like I had just flown in from Mars.
I got off on the wrong foot when I ordered tickets online, without the benefit of a regular-season schedule.
The game for Saturday night, June 6, started at the odd hour of 5:05 p.m. I had expected a 7:30 p.m. start.
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Why such an odd hour? Ah, well, I’m not the guy in charge of schedules. Maybe it’s some kind of special game.
So I bought four tickets – me, wife, daughter and grandson – and we arranged to meet at the stadium at 4:45 p.m.
Once inside, I was struck by the number of empty seats in my section. When I purchased my tickets only a few seats were available. Hmmm.
So the game started and we realized the Pelicans were wearing some really strange jerseys. “Let’s Play,” they said on the front. Pretty strange, huh? Then we saw the word “Two.”
Oh, I get it. Let’s play two. The memorable Ernie Banks quote. Ernie Banks was Mr. Cub and the Pelicans are now affiliated with the Cubs. So it makes sense. I guess.
The game, for the most part was a snoozer. The Carolina Mudcats scored in the first inning on a solo homerun – and that was it for the rest of the game. Unfortunately, a pitchers’ duel was not what we came to see.
The highlight, for this Pelican fan, was a pickoff at first base by a Pelican pitcher. Other than that, nothing.
When the middle of the seventh inning came, my grandson Jacob got up to stretch. He looked around. Nobody else was getting up. I kidded him about doing a one-man wave; my daughter Lori wondered if maybe the stretch came at the end of the inning.
No, I assured her, it always come in the middle. Maybe the announcer should have reminded people.
A few minutes later, as the bottom of the seventh ended, a strange thing happened.
The entire Mudcats team raced onto the field to congratulate their pitcher for tossing a 1-0 shutout.
And like that, the game was over. Just seven innings?
We had just sat through the first game a double-header, a makeup game, obviously, because the regular season schedule still had the starting time at 7:30, not 5:05, as the updated online schedule had it.
And “Let’s Play Two” suddenly made a lot of sense. Very clever, Pelicans.
Unfortunately, we had dinner plans and could not stay for two. But as we got up to leave, I realized the stadium was filling up. Clearly, those hundreds knew a lot more about baseball than I.
Contact Bob Bestler at firstname.lastname@example.org.