“Baseball is the most perfect of games, solid, true, pure, and precious as diamonds. If only life were so simple. Within the baselines anything can happen. Tides can reverse; oceans can open. That’s why they say, ‘the game is never over until the last man is out.’ … Anything is possible in this gentle, flawless, loving game.” ― W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe
First, let’s get to the important things. The temperature during the last two games at Davenport Field, home of the University of Virginia Cavaliers (or, the NCAA National Champion UVA Cavaliers if you go for things like that) has been below 45.
And, you know what that means …
Free hot chocolate!
The NCAA champions are playing the Monmouth Hawks this weekend.
I vaguely know where Monmouth is (somewhere New Jersey-ish).
If you visit Monmouth’s Wikipedia page … which you can do here … it will kindly request that you fill in the blanks and tell it something – anything – about this team.
I can tell you only that they seem to have a good time when they play – they’re a joyful bunch – and that goes a long way with me.
UVA won on Friday night, 4-2, in unspectacular fashion. The highlight of the game was that it took my feet, which were double-socked, nearly one full hour to thaw out. They were completely numb.
It was brutally cold – it had snowed that morning – and my main take-away from the game is that I’m certain I wouldn’t last a week in a world without central heat.
Friday morning. Snow on the cat.
Let’s skip to Saturday. Still cold.
More hot chocolate!
Daniel Lynch, Saturday Starter.
Behind string-beany, first-year pitcher Daniel Lynch, the Hoos jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the 2nd in one of those they-batted-around innings – six singles, one double, two sacrifice bunts – that messes up your scorecard in a totally-worth-it sort of way.
They love to bunt, these fellas.
Matt Thaiss, Third Year, Catcher/1B/DH. 2-for-5 on Saturday, 1 Run, 1 RBI
“Our small ball is what makes us an offense,” Thaiss, who homered on Friday night, told The Daily Progress. “We always talk about not having a good hitting team, but having a great offense. That’s what we preach here. We practice bunting just as much as we do hitting.”
Justin Novak, Second Year, Saturday’s Starting Catcher. 1-for-4. 1 Run, 1 RBI
Daniel Pinero, Third Year Shortstop. 4-for-4 on Saturday. 3 Runs, 3 RBI, 1 Stolen Base. (Pinero’s safe.)
By the end of the 6th inning my hot chocolate was finished and the Hoos had rolled to 9-0.
This is the point in any afternoon game when I start wondering what’s for dinner.
And, if I were a hack sportswriter, this is where I write, “Then the wheels came off.”
I’m no hack.
But, Lynch was left out just a little bit too long and UVA’s suspect bullpen fell apart.
Tyler Shambora, Third Year.
Monmouth scored three in the 7th and then batted around, scoring seven more in the 8th.
(Batting around, not so fun when the other team does it.)
And, just like that – if “that” is about the longest inning you can imagine in blustery, toe-numbing 40-ish weather – it was 10-9 Monmouth.
Editor/Husband was getting a little testy at Monmouth’s rightfielder who was pretty fired up with the change in fortune. But, who can blame him? Rightfielder, I mean.
A Monmouth error with two outs in the bottom of the 9th allowed UVA to tie the game.
We’re tied! Free baseball!
In the bottom of the 11th, four hours and 13 minutes after the game began, this happened.
And, we had pizza for dinner.
Sunday forecast – high 53!
Photos: Monmouth University vs. University of Virginia, March 5, 2016. Davenport Field, Charlottesville, Virginia. © The Baseball Bloggess
The free hot chocolate was grand, but the fighting spirit of the Wahoos to never give up while battling was amazing.
Absolutely!! Although I’ll give props to Monmouth, too … they never gave up, even when they trailed 9-0. What a crazy game! :)
This is the kind of game that makes one forget about numb toes. Hoo’da thunk it!
Much nicer out today … nothing froze! The Hoo’s lost though … the bullpen clearly was still alittle chilly.
Love it that you’re so into the college game, Bloggess. Those stalwart, hardworking umpires deserve a little love too – while the players got to go sit down between half innings, get warm in the tunnels, sip hot drinks, and visit the bathroom, the umpires were out there on duty, giving every pitch, every play their full attention. Bravo to Frank Sylvester at home plate, and Michael Cerra, Craig Alden, and James ? on the bases. They don’t get paid extra just because it’s freezing cold or a game goes into extra innings – they do it for the love of the game, for the players and coaches, and for you and the 3398 other devoted fans who were there with you. http://www.virginiasports.com/sports/m-basebl/stats/2015-2016/va0305.html#GAME.NCA
Love your lead-off Kinsella quotation too, and long for the day when it would instead read: “That’s why they say, ‘the game is never over until the last player is out.’” Or, “That’s why they say, ‘the game is never over until the last out is made.’” Then anything really WILL be possible in this gentle, flawless, loving, non-gender-specific game.
Exactly! I always appreciate how the umpires just stay out there … no breaks, no sit-downs. It was mighty cold yesterday and they were an efficient and very good crew.
And, yes, good catch! Three cheers for someday having a gentle, flawless, loving, non-gender-specific game.
Were you wearing gloves or mittens as you tried to mark your scorecard? I recall doing color for a UND baseball game on KFJM and wishing I had some warm libation. BTW, hot chocolate at Tim Horton’s… let’s just say it turns me into the cartoon character Snuffles after a biscuit. Play ball!
A friend knitted me some very handy (tee-hee, “handy”) fingerless gloves that do pretty well in chilly weather. Much easier for scoring and camera-wrangling. No free hot-chocky today. A little more sunshine and nearly 50. (Nearly.) I was still mostly double layered. The Hoo’s lost … still dealing with that leaky bullpen.
Tim Horton’s coffee rocks, too!
You are a real trooper, Jackie.
Back in the day, the Giants used to hand out lapel pins for people who survived the long night games out at Candlestick. It was always fun to see the fans sport dozens of them on their Giants jackets.
Can we expect a “meet your 2016 Orioles” blog post? I think Mark Trumbo is going to hit some real bombs back there. It’s his type of yard.
Thanks, Bruce! Yes, I’m waiting for the mid-March surprise to come fill out the starting rotation or the miraculous appearance of a right fielder before I feel like it’s time to “meet” the 2016 Orioles. They’re just not quite a full team. Yet. :)
What a CRAZY, fun game!
… except for the freezing part. This baseball in February thing can seem like a good idea until you’re out sitting outside and trying to get warm. But, totally worth it.
Hot chocolate schmocolate. You shoulda had a flask of schnapps to chase away the chill.
Good idea! I learned about the warming power of peppermint schnapps when I lived in North Dakota … I wasn’t cut out for peppermint-schnapps cold weather. I can barely make it through a Virginia chill.
Rain, or shine (or snow), it’s great to see baseball in March! We had snow all the way through Indiana on our way south, and the Friday game in Louisville was pretty cool, also (no snow, at least). Extra innings makes for a long day, though, in that weather, even for true fans! Good that the Hoos pulled out the win.
It’s 70 degrees and sunny out today … where was this weather on Saturday?? :)
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I could use a cup of hot chocolate on this cold and dreary night which is supposed to be the first night of Spring!
Yup, hot chocolate can warm even the chilliest day, can’t it? :)
Deliciously so. :)