To see all posts from my June 25 visit to the Greeneville Astros, click HERE. To see all my posts from my June/July 2016 Appalachian League Road Trip, click HERE. To see all my “On the Road” posts, click HERE. If interested in seeing posts covering a visit to a particular team, search for that team’s name in the blog search bar (it’s to your right).
Pregame wanderings complete, it was now time to take in a ballgame. (For me, taking in a ballgame simply translates to “more wandering.”)
David Lane, the longtime general manager of the Astros, introduced me to some of the team’s most dedicated fans throughout the game. First I met Arthur and Edith Ricker, who just so happened to be celebrating their 69th wedding anniversary. Arthur delighted in sharing his World War II memories, with Edith often jumping in to steer the conversation back on course. As that impish gleam in her eyes amply illustrates, she was quick with a smile and had a great sense of humor.
“Want me to stick out my tongue?” said Edith, just before this picture was taken.
Later on I met Steve Alexander, part of Greenville’s most celebrated baseball family. Most prominent among them was Steve’s father, Dale, who won the 1932 American League batting title as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Finally, there were sisters Norma, Betty and Joyce of nearby Mosheim, Tennessee. The sisters agree that the best player they ever saw play for Greeneville was Jose Altuve, whom Betty called “a little fireball.”
For more on the individuals mentioned above, read my MiLB.com story.
Anyhow, there was still a ballgame going on. There always is.
It was “Olympic Night” at the ballpark, which manifested itself primarily via the staff — and the mascot — wearing over-the-top patriotic t-shirts (I guess all t-shirts are “over-the-top,” come to think of it). Gizmo, the cousin of Houston mascot Orbit, loves America.
Hitting coach Cesar Cedeno, on the left, was honored this season with a bobblehead/leg featuring his preferred dugout pose. Two undulating appendages for the price of one!
As the game wore on, I spent a couple of innings in the grassy area down the third base line that serves as a promo crew staging area.
Nah, just kidding, all of the food is alive and well.
The Astros ended up losing the ballgame, 5-3, to the Johnson City Cardinals. My only note involving the game itself was that Greeneville shortstop Jonathan Arauz (who was born just before I entered my sophomore year of college) hit a home run over the right field fence and that a “retrieval effort ensued.” Fascinating stuff, as always.
After the game, I spent some time admiring Pioneer Park’s Greeneville baseball history exhibit.
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