Day Two at the Sun Belt Tournament – From the Bird’s Nest
Although I didn’t get to bed until 1:30 Wednesday night, I was still determined to make it to M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field in time for the start of Thursday’s action at nine am.
The opening game was an elimination game between WKU and Arkansas State. Now, in yesterday’s blog I mentioned Arkansas State was pretty painful to watch because of their lack of offense. So naturally, they went out and scored ten runs. WKU’s defense faltered early and ASU took a relatively easy win.
In the hospitallity area, Kollaches for breakfast.
Now, during game one, something happened that made me scratch my scalp a little.
The auxiliary media area is on ground level near the first base dugout. That’s where folks like me sit when our team isn’t playing. Now, it’s the first game of the day and neither WKU nor ASU has a great following. There might be about 150 in the stands. In the box seats to my left is a couple watching the game. The man looks to be in his 40’s. Not an out of shape guy. He’s sitting shirtless on this bright morning.
Here in South Louisiana it’s called “taking a tan.”
And, about three innings into the game, here comes a guy who’s kind of in charge in that area. Turns out the man also had a small ice chest which is a no-no. The guy tells the WKU fan ice chests aren’t allowed, and HE HAS TO PUT HIS SHIRT ON. Now, I don’t know which of the 150 people complained, if any, but “taking a tan” must be against the rules, either in the conference, or at UL.
The man said something and 20 seconds later, a police officer is suggesting he get rid of the ice chest right away…and while you’re at it buddy, put your shirt on. The man, of course, has no option but to comply. On with the shirt, out with the ice chest, back in the ballpark and back in his seat. At which time he pulled his shirt up to his chest and continued “taking a tan.”
Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. I can see if it was some whale (with apologies to overweight people) or a woman. But it wasn’t anyone people would walk by, point at and scream “Free Willy.” It was just a fan getting some sun at 9am in a nearly empty ball park.
Well, he’s getting to finish the tan at home. WKU was two and out, the first team eliminated in the tournament.
Just before game two between UALR and FIU, lunch arrived. Posados and Jason’s Deli. I sampled both.
I was doing “Bird’s Eye View” from the press box. The AT&T people arrived and got phone lines working so I’d be able to do the show on site. Travis Webb from KATC-TV 3 was my guest as he usually is on Thursday.
The game between UALR and FIU was a tight one. Hits were few and far between. Unfortunately, so were walks. And, with FIU playing the game went on a lot longer than it should have. FIU shortstop Edwin Rios hit a pair of two run homers and FIU took a 4-3 lead into the ninth.
And, UALR ran themselves right back to Little Rock.
The leadoff Trojan hitter got on base. The next hitter singled to left center and the runner at first rounded second. It looked like Coach Scott Norwood gave the stop sign and the player ran through it. And, got thrown out, breaking one of the unwritten rules of baseball: don’t make the first or third out of the inning at third base. The batter took second on the throw. The next batter singles to left field and the runner at second….you guessed it….got thrown out at the plate. Next batter flied out. Season over.
After that game we were all anticipating FAU vs. Troy in the winner’s bracket. I sat in the stands for the start of that one. It promised to be a great pitching matchup with Jeremy Strawn for FAU and Shane McCain for Troy. The two faced each other during the regular season with FAU winning 1-0, on an unearned run.
I watched the first three innings and, of course, had to get something to eat. The Cajun Tails tailgating folks outdid themselves, with fried catfish, shrimp creole, rice dressing, green beans and slaw. I ate too much. Way too much.
Then it was back to the park where the two pitchers continued to battle. I got lineups and got my scorebook together. Barring extra innings it looked like we’d start on time for the game against South Alabama. Well, it’s still 1-1 going into the ninth inning…and then there was a lightning strike.
NCAA rules state if lightning is detected in the area, the field must be cleared for at least 30 minutes. Doesn’t matter if it’s raining or not. And, every ensuing lightning strike results in a re-start of the 30 minutes.
And, that’s what kept happening. Although it was obvious the big rains were going to remain north, the lightning persisted and the decision was made to suspend play for the evening. Since we were going to pick up where we left off, I just left everything set up where it was and headed home.
There was lightning throughout the drive.