For the past few weeks, TBH has been planning an outing for youth and families at our church-a trip to the River Bandits v. Cedar Rapids Kernels baseball game.
We've been sweating the weather. It was supposed to rain a bitch today, with high winds and hail. Indeed, as I write this, Joplin, Missouri, looks a bit like someone popped a nuke on it-tornadoes hit them hard a few hours ago. Minneapolis got hit as well. Seems as I watch the incoming footage that the rest of this entry might be a bit incongruous. Going to be a long next few weeks around the Midwest getting cleaned up and repaired.
Well. At any rate, at least the first wave of storms went north and south of us. We had a surprisingly nice afternoon, weatherwise. Clouds and sun and a hefty breeze blowing across the field.
The children were to sing the national anthem before the game:
TBH is the one in the red T-shirt running the kids through their singing paces.
And here they are on the infield belting out the Banner.
Our church doesn't have a formal children's choir. These are mostly the sons and daughters of the members, but the young ladies and gentlemen did a good job with the tune and tempo. The Star-Spangled Banner is a tough song to sing well (would that the anthem were America The Beautiful, or Columbia, The Gem of the Ocean-much easier to perform) and ideally a singer should only take 1 minute 5 seconds to 1 minute 20 seconds to sing it. Anything longer is being a camera hog.
The kids did well. Each family got tickets for their party and some Bandit Bucks (tickets good for food and merchandise at the park). After the singing, most of the children made for the play area with all the jumpys and inflatables and the parents scattered around the park. TBH obtained tickets for the Family Section of the seats (where no alcohol is allowed) but once the ticket is in hand, no one cares if people move out to general admission or the berm to have a beer. Fair enough. I got us tickets in box because I like being away from everybody else. I suppose everybody else doesn't like being around me. Also fair enough.
As I said, we ended up with some pretty decent weather today, judging from this shot out to the left field berm:
Someday I have to pack the blanket and catch a game from out there. Looks like a pretty decent place to watch the action and maybe snag a home run ball. Here the Bandits had the bases loaded but couldn't push a run across in this inning. A couple of guys appeared to be running on contact and got caught in a double play. Gotta make sure those line drives go past the infielder, because the double play ends innings quick!
The Bandits did score earlier in the game, though, and pulled off a nice 4-1 win over the Kernels. Looks like the Anaheim Angels may not have a lot of good pitching coming up anytime soon if today's pitchers for Cedar Rapids are any indication. Too much standing around on the mound and lack of control on pitches.
The three guys in front of me are most likely players or assistants for the Kernels. One has a radar gun to check the velocity of his comrade on the mound, and the fellow with the computer is likely charting tendencies of the Bandit hitters and where they're hitting the ball. Come July, the section I was sitting in will be full of scouts for the Major League teams, as they try to pick out prospects to trade for, trade away, or possibly promote to the next level.
Some of our kids got to be in the between-inning games and those with birthdays got their name on the scoreboard screen.
I reckon in the end everyone that went had a good time. TBH spent a lot of time in organizing and planning the event, so it was great to have the weather cooperate here. Also, the River Bandits staff did their usual great job with making sure big groups are taken care of. It pains me to say anything good about any facet of the St. Louis Cardinals organization, but they do take care of their fans at all levels of the game. The Cards, much like the Cubs, know how to market their teams.
Again, it was an event paid for by our church, and I think promoting fellowship in a family atmosphere is a better use of resources compared to the bunch were going around gathering funds and prattling on about an end of the world that appears not to have happened on schedule. But that might just be me.