Day two dawned cool and partly cloudy. After a 12 lb breakfast, which consisted of Hashbrowns (with fresh jalapeno), eggs, sausage, toast and ice cold 2% milk, some breffast was had.
Gin and OJ
Point of order, at no time is the driver intoxicated. That’s a rule we have and a rule we follow. The driver is allowed a beer at the game, but until the van is parked for the night, he’s sober.
After sufficient time had passed, to allow all of that food to settle, I loaded everyone into the van and set off in search of adventure. What an adventure we found! First, we headed to Falls Park in downtown Sioux Falls so they could see the majesty and splendor of the Falls of the Big Sioux River. And majestic they are.
photo taken from the tower at Falls Park
There were some harrowing moments for Ringo, Toad and Tever, as they cowered in fear from the rushing water.
Seriously, if you’re ever in Sioux Falls, or you actually live here, take some time to visit Falls Park. The city has done a tremendous job of making this a crown jewel and you’ll be amazed at just how much power there is in that water. It truly is gorgeous.
From there, we headed back across town to the U.S.S. South Dakota Battleship Memorial. Folks, I’ve lived here for 26 years and I’m ashamed to say that this was the first visit I’d ever made. Go. It’s fascinating and the stories and memorabilia paint a picture of something to truly be proud of. Also, kudos and thanks should go to all of those who have/are/will serve in the military. Our fathers all did and visiting here makes us more proud of them than we were before.
Then, we finally hit the meat and potatoes of the trip. Real baseball was about to happen. The forecast didn’t paint a pretty picture, but the big man upstairs must be a fan of the OBEM, because the 60-70-80% chance of rain continually went down as the day wore on. By the time we left to head to the ballpark, the chance of rain was down to 5%. We saw nary a drop.
The game itself was very good, with the hometown Canaries facing the Saltdogs of Lincoln. Lincoln scored in the top of the first off Canaries starter Matt Wickswat. Wickswat was in trouble all night long, but continually pitched out of trouble. He struck out 7 in six innings (with the 7 Ks, everyone in attendance received a coupon for a free game of bowling at a local alley). The Canaries tied it up in the 2nd and then went ahead 2-1 in the 4th on a homerun from Brandon Jones. Jones’ homerun also gave every fan in attendance a coupon for $10 off $50 at Dick’s Sporting Goods. The Saltdogs tied it in the 5th with another run off Wickswat that never should have happened. With a runner on 1st, Luis Nunez of the Saltdogs, hit a sharp one hopper to 3rd. Canary Carlos Mendez couldn’t backhand the ball and the ‘dogs had runners at the corner with nobody out. I thought it should have been called an error (I think I’d have made the play). Wickswat induced Lincoln’s next batter into hitting what should have been an easy double play. Sam Lind, Canaries 2B, fielded the ball and flipped it to SS Stephen Branca. Branca touched 2nd for the 1st out but bobbled the ball enough on the transfer to allow the batter to reach 1st safely and a run scored. Wickswat then had the Saltdogs runner, Matt Forgatch picked off 1st, but Mendez couldn’t handle the throw from 1st and he was safe with a stolen base. Wickwat then got the next two outs to stop any more bleeding. Lincoln scored again in the top of the 7th before the Canaries tied it once again with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. It appeared we might be headed for free baseball in extra innings until the Saltdogs cleanup hitter, Ian Gac, hit an absolute LASAR over the wall in RF. The Canaries tried to mount a two out comeback in the 9th but fell just short and ended up on the losing end of a 4-3 game.
Now, for some notes. The Canaries are obviously playing out the string. Their record is a horrific 31-64. There isn’t much fire on this team right now, and it seems there are some mental mistakes that are costing them. I’ve been attending Canary/Pheasant games since their (2nd) inception in 1993 and I’ve never seen them play with so little enthusiasm. The Saltdogs on the other hand, played with an almost desperation as they fight to make the American Association playoffs. You could hear them encouraging each other in the dugout.
That’s my 2nd note. Where the hell was everyone? Attendance figures have not been release yet, but if there were 700 actual living people in the ballpark last night I’d be surprised. I get it, they’re not very good, it was a school night and there was a threat of rain in the forecast. But this is a cheap entertainment option. While there might not be much to cheer for on the field, the product on the field is still good. It’s still baseball. There’s always the chance you might see something special or something you’ve never seen before. They’ve never drawn that well, however. When they won the championship, I was there. So were maybe 2,499 other people. For a deciding championship game. I was also at Game 7 in 1991 when the Twins beat the Braves for the World Series Championship and I can honestly say that I was just as, if not more, excited when the Canaries won. This is our team, our little corner of the world and it’s something we should be proud of and support or they could be gone. There isn’t a bad seat in the house, and you’re outside watching baseball. As James Earl Jones so resoundingly said in Field of Dreams, “Baseball has marked the times.” Get out to the Birdcage Sioux Fallsians.
Thirdly, Canaries, STOP playing noises after EVERY pitch. It defeats the purpose. There were some humorous things, but they were ruined by the complete and utter inanity of having noise after every pitch. Some made less than zero sense. For instance, why would an elephant trumpet before glass breaks on a pop foul into the stands? Pick your spots, use something relevant and people will talk about it. Annoy the ever-loving hell out of everyone, and people might leave thinking it’s amateurish. I was also a bit surprised that when Saltdogs batter Brian Joynt came to the plate, a song was played related to smoking pot. Mary Jane’s Last Dance, Rocky Mountain High…you get the idea. I get it, his last name is Joynt, it’s pronounced joint. But this is supposed to be a family friendly experience. Do you really want to make that connection for the kids? Granted, almost all of them will have the reference go right over their heads but let’s raise the level of humor shall we? okay, I’m off my soapbox now
Lastly, there was a fan in our section who clapped. Constantly. Loudly. This fan wasn’t loud and boisterous (like the four who showed up in the 8th inning – really?) but the clapping was incessant. And loud. We can’t fault them for supporting the team (see above), but with the small crowd, it really stood out. Also, with the Canaries constantly playing noises, there were also many cues to continue with the clapping. Always with the clapping.
All of that aside, it was still a thoroughly enjoyable night at the ballpark (Canaries loss notwithstanding). Today, we head to Sioux City to see the Gary Southshore Railcats take on the Sioux City Explorers. As of right now, it’s raining but using my many meteorological skills (I looked at the radar), I think we may have baseball tonight. If not, Tever and I will attempt to thrash our elders in a game of pfeffer.
Have I ever mentioned how much we enjoy baseball?