So last night Beyond Fenway got their first taste of the press box, making us (semi)official now! It was a great experience all around and first and foremost our thanks go out to the Fisher Cats organization for their hospitality and to Mike Murphy for allowing us the privilege of covering opening day in Manchester. The box was filled with a great mix of characters who were baseball hardliners that seemed happy to see the familiar faces back once again. There was a friendly camaraderie that kept things upbeat all night, highlighted by Chick and Frank, the official scorers of the game. These two gentlemen were like a baseball version of Statler and Waldorf, only not grumpy and much more hilarious. From now on Mets outfielder Lucas Duda will always be "Zippity" to me because of those two.
Opening Day ceremonies featured more "first pitches" than I have ever seen before any baseball game. New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, Miss New Hampshire Nicole Houde, Citizen of the Year Dick Anagnost and at least five others. Thankfully I wasn't called on for duty because I haven't warmed up in a year. The crowd was scattered and probably a bit scarcer than the announced attendance of 6,145. However, those in attendance were lively and vocal and seemed to get louder as the game went on. I think New Hampshire blood needs to cool before the locals start to warm up, because it was 45 degrees near the end of the game.
Despite the tough loss, there were a lot of positive signs for the Fisher Cats on opening night. The bats were red hot and all of the 10 hits that they collected were sharply hit balls to the right places. They were also bold on the base paths, a change from previous year’s philosophies. It looks as if Manager Luis Rivera has things headed in the right direction, due in large part to the high number of returning players, who are just as happy to see the familiar faces around the ballpark.
Last thing; I just wanted to link up to a couple of the Fisher Cats writers for the Manchester Union Leader who were kind enough to allow me into their world last night. Click on their names for coverage of last night's events and continue to follow them throughout the season:
Here are some great photos from last night's opener by Union Leader photographer David Lane.