The dream is over, but fond memories remain. The Lancaster Barnstormers made it to the fifth and final game of the Atlantic League Freedom Division playoffs before succumbing to the Sugarland Skeeters. On the same day, the Long Island Ducks defeated the Somerset Patriots to win the Liberty Division playoffs. So, the Sugarland Skeeters will play the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League Championship series and the Barnstormer players will try to sign on with minor league teams in the Mexican or Latin American leagues that play during the winter. Anything is better than a 9-5 job for somebody who loves to play baseball.
The baseball season is over, but, fortunately, there are still plenty of things to do here in Lancaster. There will be movie nights at the stadium while the weather is still warm. The Disney movie Finding Dory will play on the big outfield screen this weekend. The Dutchland Rollers Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby team still has one home game left in their season. I’ll be there on October 13 when my favorite skaters go on the track. I can still listen to the Eagles games on 97.1 Sox radio. I’m also planning to go to a few college football games during baseball’s off season. Franklin & Marshall College is just a few blocks from my apartment. I will, of course, follow Harness Racing, but only on the Internet, as the nearest Harness track is an hour away in Philadelphia. There is still a buggy that goes right past my apartment around 1 a.m. every Sunday evening. I look forward to hearing that clip-clop every week.
I will be part of the hot stove circuit and sit around talking about the baseball season that just ended and eagerly await the new season to come. There are plenty of memories to get me through the winter. I’ll remember the annual pre-season game against the Lancaster Bible College. I loved shouting out “Thou shalt not steal” every time one of the Bible College kids reached first base.
I’ll remember opening day with my friends Crazy Debbie, Mike, and Denise. I’ll remember the games I went to with Brother X and my friend John. They still tease me about the time I threw out the first pitch and bounced the ball a few feet in front of home plate. I’ll remember the last game of the regular season when I caught a foul ball. I didn’t really catch it. I was sitting behind the netting behind home plate and a foul ball went straight back over the net and bounced off the 2nd deck. It bounced a few times and settled a few feet from where I was sitting. I got up and grabbed the ball. I heard a young kid screech to a halt and give out a big sigh of disappointment as I picked up the baseball before he could get there. I tossed the ball to him and the smile on his face was worth a dozen baseballs. He came over after the game to thank me, and I knew I had helped to make him a fan for life.
Last week, my Aunt Jane and Cousin Debbie came to town from Johnstown Pennsylvania and we went to a playoff game. I brought my “Skeeter Beater” and we watched the Stormers win as Nate Reed pitched a no hitter for 6 & 1/3 innings. Blake Galen hit two homeruns right where I told my relatives he liked to hit. I felt like when Babe Ruth called his homerun to centerfield.
All the action wasn’t just on the field, though. My favorite attraction was the all-you-can-eat chicken and ribs nights on Tuesday and the Wing Wednesdays. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. So, I’ll just let these fond memories roll around my head for a few months and be ready to do it all again next year.
In the meantime, thank you 2018 Stormers for all the memories. Now, Let’s go Ducks. They’re currently trailing two games to nothing in the Championship Series. Come on, Ducks. Beat them Skeeters.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,